Classroom Redesign: #StraightOuttaCampos


One of my students recently used some word play on my name to start #StraightOuttaCampos as a running gag in my class. They know I’m a huge hip-hop fan and I’ve talked about growing up listening to NWA and how some of the themes (albeit graphic) are still relevant today.  I love that they feel comfortable joking around with me, their weird math teacher,  and they knew I’d find it hilarious. They also had to have known I would use the Straight Outta Somewhere generator to post a small poster on my classroom door.  A few students even asked if they could have a copy of it to “Rep Their Classroom” and put in their binder sleeve covers.  How cool is it that students want to rep their math classroom and their goofy math teacher? That’s an #EduWin for sure.


The movie, Straight Outta Compton, was a vividly told story of how NWA changed the game and pulled themselves out of an oppressive environment by street reporting their harsh reality through the artform of “reality rap” to bring us into the world that these ‘at risk’ youth lived in.

In our school system, the harsh reality is that, for far too long, classrooms have been pathetically poor environments for the cultivation of learning, creativity and self-expression.

My students and I are trying to change that by channelling our inner Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, and express ourselves through the art of classroom redesign.  Students are craving an innovative environment that breaks the mold of the wack and traditional classrooms that we’ve been accustomed to.

Forget the row seats! And I’ll say it with authority!


You are now about to witness the power of grant money

If you don’t follow me on instagram, you may not fully understand what’s exactly going on my classroom, so allow me to explain.  I work at Visalia Charter Independent Study High School in Visalia, CA. We were recently awarded a CDE Charter School Best Practices Grant.  A good portion of that grant was designated to creating an innovative learning space for the math classroom.  When I was asked to contribute to this grant and include what I wanted for my classroom, I had no idea that I’d actually get EVERYTHING I asked for.

A Classroom With Attitude


This classroom has so much attitude it’s borderline obnoxious.  Here’s a list of what we have going on in Room 303.

I know…I’s a lot of ‘stuff’…and I know it’s just ‘stuff’…it’s obscene…but don’t tell me that, if you are a teacher, that you’d object to having all of this in your classroom.

I know it’s a lot of money to invest in one single classroom, but where else(or when else) are we going to spend this money?

 #SchoolsNotPrisons #DoTheMath

Express yourself

I asked for all of this because I wanted to create a space where every type of student can show evidence of their learning and express themselves in any format that they choose.  The classroom should be a playground for their curious brains, their sandbox, their canvas, their rhyme book, their stage.  My students can use any of the technology in class to model the mathematics, show their reasoning and creations with the Chromebooks, Macbooks, or iPads. They can then share with, present to or even teach others by wirelessly transmitting to either AppleTV or Chromecast device.  They can brainstorm, collaborate, and learn with one another by writing on the whiteboard desks and/or walls.  They can create music or movies using the devices or even just draw on the walls…because sometimes it’s just fun to draw on the walls.






100 Miles and Runnin’

With a 3:1 device classroom, the options are overwhelming.  I’m ‘piloting’ the tech integration of all 3 devices, along with leading a Schoology Enterprise LMS implementation for Blended Learning, and helping to create quality Common Core aligned Integrated Math curriculum(that’s modified for an Independent Study setting) from a variety of amazing and mostly free resources on the web.  #DitchTheTextbook

Without a doubt, the Chromebooks have been my go-to 1:1 device because of the ease of use and management, given that we’re a Google Apps for Education district.  My students can explore and create with Desmos, Geogebra, Google Docs, Slides, Sheets,and Google Draw and stream them to either Chromecast.  I can use formative assessment tools like Peardeck, GoFormative, EdPuzzle, and DocentEDU to focus my reteaching and give students more individual attention.  The only thing I’d change, is that I’d have the school purchase class sets of Touch Screen chromebooks(I wasn’t aware of these at the time of writing the grant).

 iPads are ultra-powerful creation devices but the classroom management piece is just not there yet, so I haven’t utilized them as much.  I’m currently only using the Macbook Airs in my video production class because they have Final Cut Pro X on them and because as awesome as WeVideo is…it is not Final Cut Pro.

My #WonderWalls and 360 degree math


All of the tech devices and TVs in my classroom are awesome, but if I was forced to choose 1 thing, I’d choose to keep my Whiteboard Walls.  I created these #WonderWalls by painting 3 of my classroom walls, from top to bottom, with IdeaPaint Dry Erase Paint.  It’s THE game changer in my classroom and requires no learning curve and just a little bit of elbow grease to get it going.  IdeaPaint is the priciest of the whiteboard paint options, but you can achieve the same environment with a RustOleum brand dry-rease paint, WriteyBoard products, or by just throwing up some individual white boards all around the classroom.  Check out the Teach documentary and follow @MathPrincessC , @reubenhoffman, @jasonseliskar,  @tbed63@AlexOverwijk, and @jcorippo for more info on 360 degree math.  Follow the hashtag #360Math to learn and share more about this revolution.  It’s a no-brainer.

The most common thing I hear about visitors to my classroom is “Why aren’t all classrooms like this?” and they are specifically talking about the whiteboard walls.

Level up your #360Math


An easy and inexpensive way I stepped my #WonderWalls game up was by using Chromecast audio to turn my classroom speakers into wireless speakers, which allows me to play DJ with music cues to and get my students moving.  I’ve experimented with this recently, thanks to the phenomenal resources of my friend, Matt Vaudrey. It’s ridiculously easy to keep my students working, engaged, and having fun in the classroom….while doing math!!!


‘Always Into Something’ but Pedagogy 1st!

With all these resources at my fingertips, I’ve been able to experiment, fail, learn, and grow in the process of creating meaningful learning experiences for my students.  It’s a daunting task but I’ve been able to move along the SAMR spectrum, by having my students blog, create screencasts, collaborate in Iron Chef presentations,collaboratively gather and analyze data, and use formative assessment tools that would have otherwise been impossible.


I Ain’t Tha One

I’m beyond blessed to be swimming in an ocean of tools and resources but I’m smart enough to realize that I can’t do it by myself.  I’m making a concerted effort to blog more and put my trials, successes, and failures out there.  I need some major help, so I’m just going to crowdsource ideas from my network of connected educators.

Am I on the right track?

What would you do with the iPads? The Macbook Airs? The Whiteboard Walls?

What would you do the same or differently?

What could you do(or have you done) to transform your classroom with limited(or unlimited) resources?

I’ve never considered myself a creative person but I’ve realized that in itself is a fixed mindset ideology and I’m willing to accept feedback and criticism to help transform classrooms everywhere.

Feel free to share, retweet, comment, diss, give props, or advise me in any way.  I can take your feedback, try it, and give you feedback so we can all benefit.  We’re #bettertogether and we can improve learning spaces for our students everywhere.


#F#$% The Row Seats!




9 responses to “Classroom Redesign: #StraightOuttaCampos

  1. Your classroom looks fan-freaking-tastic. What a spectacular learning space for your students and educators alike! Everyone can take a page out of your growth mindset book. Sharing with everyone on my team.

  2. Awesome work man, I am just starting this journey in IEC. And I am constantly looking for ways to make my classroom a more engaging work space. Your pictures gave me alot of ideas to present to my school site administrators! Keep it up I would love to know more about the grants you were awarded to gain funding to do that stuff.

    • Raul, thanks! You’ll love the IEC. It’s career changing for sure. It looks like you’re nearby in Porterville so you’re more than welcome to come by and visit. Bring your site admin, too!

  3. I went to you Math 360 workshop at the Arcadia Summit this summer and was so excited about implementing it into my class this year.
    I use a lot of vocabulary posters in my room and refer to them often and I didn’t want to give that up, so I found vocabulary cards that are smaller and allowed me to free up some space. Being our school is literally 3 years old and everything is still brand new does not allow me to make any major changes like getting extra white boards or drilling panels or painting. I would like to send you a picture or video of what I did.

    • Anna-Marie,
      That is wonderful. Please send some pics my way. Did you end up buying those whiteboards sheets from Amazon? Those work like a champ? They erase beautifully and last forever. Put them up with blue tape.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s