Thursday, March 31, 2011

What do I do with this stuff?

This is my third year of teaching, my first year in my district, and my first year in 2nd grade. So... I have a lot of work to do. There are still many things I need to work on, included organizing all the "stuff" I inherited in my room. Here are two examples:

I have a love/hate relationship with the new reading adoption. I LOVE the materials and all the resources available to us. They are great! I also HATE the materials and resources because there are so many and I don't know where to put them! I am hoping to find some shelving to make this area more accessible. 

This is just some random materials that I stuffed on top of one of the library shelves. I guess I could hang some butcher paper to cover the area... I need to spend quite a bit of time just going through everything. The good thing about this organization week is that it is inspiring me to look at all the places in my room where I keep materials and evaluate. I feel like I haven't looked up since August.  :) Now I know what I use, what I need close at hand, and what I can hide away. Soon I will be in label maker heaven!

Go check out Mrs. Patton's blog to see the other organizational posts!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Signs in the Room

I am in such an organizing mood! Thanks Mrs. Patton! I took down two bulletin boards ( I put them back up new and improved) and reorganized some of my displays. I am horrible about writing the date on my board every day, so I have made a sign that I am going to hang on the board in a more convenient spot. I will put it in a sheet protector so I can write on it with dry erase markers. (Which is by the way my newest favorite thing to do.)

The other thing I did this evening was remake my grade reference page. I have written this up on the board because I was talking about grades and handing back papers when I noticed something. A lot of blank looks coming back at me. Most of my kids didn't know what was good and what was bad, so I explained and wrote it on the board. I decided since I revamped the way I show the date, I should also do this. I will also be putting this in a sheet protector to hang on the board.

What do you think?

You Know You Are A Primary Teacher When...

This is an awesome thread started over at The Inspired Apple.

You Know You Are A Primary Teacher When...

  • You have perfected the "Look" that makes any kid freeze.
  • You can recognize all your students voices by one word utterances.
  • Every trip to Walmart/Target/Dollar General/Dollar Tree yields something for your classroom. Sometimes it is more than a few somethings.
  • You refer to your 20 odd students as your "kids."
  • You HATE pencils.
  • You spend hours on the computer looking up new ideas and creating new things.
  • You wish you could change your name just about every day.
  • You want to count how many times you say: "Stop talking." "Sit down." "Stay in line." "Make a good choice!" (We all know those number in the hundreds daily.
  • You can have an entire conversation with a student using only facial expressions and hand motions.
  • You love receiving nice notes and pictures from your "kids."
  • A hug can make a huge difference.
  • One-on-one time is a luxury, but the kids love spending that extra time with you. I love how it can completely change your relationship with a student.
  • You can see such growth in each child by the end of the year.

Home Communication Organization

I need to be better at organizing my communication with parents. The kids bring their folder to school every day and put it in their mailbox. I file their graded or checked work in their mailbox and it goes home daily. I also have a daily communication log stapled in their folders. Most of my students need the daily feedback and accountability of this. It is hard to do every day, but I think it is worth it.

Right now I am storing any notes sent from parents in their cumulative folders, but I think I am going to change that soon. I have a hanging file storage bin that I think would work great for stowing away those notes. I am also thinking of putting all my parent communication (notation about calls, conference notes, old communication logs, etc.) in the same folder. We will see!

I am looking forward to stealing some ideas from the Linky Party. Go check it out!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Math Materials Organization

Today's post is all about math materials. This is an area where I need help. I will probably be changing most of this next year because I want more of my materials out and available to the students. That way I will remember to utilize more materials.  :)

Thank you Mrs. Patton for starting this Linky Party! I am loving it! Go check it out. There are some great ideas posted!

So here it goes...

I have most of my materials in these labeled drawers. The drawers are semi-organized inside. I separated all the materials and put them in baggies. This has stayed looking pretty good, but other things have found their way into the drawers, if you know what I mean.

I love my math baskets. This is an idea I got from Aly Fox's website. The kids LOVE going to math baskets. I have filled them with hands on materials, paper activities, dry erase markers, etc.

I would really like to do math small groups and rotations every day, but that is not working out this year. I am thinking about trying that next year. It is just difficult because we spend such a large block of time for literacy every day. Right now I have the kids use the math baskets if we have a little extra time or if they have done a good job controlling themselves that day. They always choose to get a math basket on Fun Friday.

Here are the labels for my baskets. Go to Aly's website for more information! The link is above.

So, nothing spectacular from me. I just like sharing!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Literacy Centers Organization

Literacy stations are an every changing thing in my classroom. At the beginning of the year I didn't have my students doing stations. This semester I began to explore station choices with my students. They are loving it! They get to choose the station they visit and that might be their favorite part. I like giving them choices whenever I can because it seems like they do not get many during the day.

The students get to go to our classroom library once a week and choose 5 books for their book boxes. They read every day for about 20-25 minutes before they go to stations.

Here is a list of my literacy stations:

1. Promethean Board - 2 students (spelling and math practice and I am also going to be adding a reading for details game I bought from Lakeshore Learning.)
2. eReaders - 2 students
3. Computers/Laptops - 4 students (they can do Comic Life, Study Island, or Starfall)
4. Working with Words - 2 students (mostly fluency practice)
5. Journals - 2 students (writing and drawing)
6. Pocket Chart - 2 students (dry erase boards for practicing spelling and high frequency words as well as a pocket chart with 2nd grade vocabulary)
7. Gameboards - 2 students (simple word games that my district has available to us)
8. Big Books - 2 students (I have so many big books from previous adoptions that I wanted the kids to make good use of them)

I made a flipchart on my Promethean Board for them to choose a station every morning. They drag their picture to the station they want to go to that day. It is first come first serve, but they can only choose each station once a week.

The only materials that need individual storage are Working with Words and Gameboards. I keep them in folders in a great organizer by the door.

The white basket holds our lunch packets. The kids bring something to work on after they are finished eating.

You can also see my student's mailboxes. I try to grade and send papers home as much as possible. :)

Then there is my guided reading table and materials...

This is where I keep the books that go home in their book bags and materials like pencils, dry erase markers, pens, etc.

This is my newest addition to my guided reading materials. This sits on my guided reading table. Each of my groups has a file folder where I keep the book we are reading and other papers we might be working on. I love having this literally at my elbow.

This is the binder where I have all my guided reading logs. I write down what we do in each group every day. I also note the students strong and weak areas for future reference. This front cover is a tracking page of their reading and fluency levels through the year.

All in all, not a bad system. (For me at least...) I can't wait to look and see how other people organize their literacy materials!

Daily Materials Organization

Mrs. Patton is hosting a Linky Party for classroom organization and I couldn't resist. This is the first linky party I have participated in, so be patient! Go check out Mrs. Patton's blog because it is amazing!

My classroom organization is a work in progress. This is my first year in second grade and my third year of teaching, so I am learning as I go. This is what I have so far...

I try my best to make copies for an entire week at a time. (Doesn't always happen.) I store all these in files I made.

I have files where I keep extra things and important papers that I refer to often. I put our R-time activities and spelling activities here. This is also where I keep important papers that are put in my box by various people at my school.

On the top shelf of my computer I keep other reference books and things like Scholastic News.

So here is a picture of that whole area.

I also have file storage and materials on my desk. I am trying my best to keep it clutter free, but we all know what a battle that is every day. 

TA DA! That is my "organization." I am sure it will continue to evolve weekly if not daily...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Another giveaway!

Step 1. Go to this blog: Fabulous in First.

Step 2: View the greatness.

Step 3. Close your mouth and sign up for the giveaway!

I am in awe of all the creative teachers out there!

Fun Contest!

I have just entered my first contest!!

Click on the picture to visit Miss Snowden's blog. 

I would love to have a personalized sign and the Jelly Bean Math pages!

TEKS poster

I am very excited about my newest creation. We are required to state the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) for each lesson during the day. I admit that I am terrible about this. I have not been able to find a workable system for this all year. I think I have finally solved my problem. :o)

First, I bought a black poster board. Second,  I printed the different pages for each subject. I added the blue mattes because that is the color I am going to base my room on next year. Third, I inserted each page into a page protector. I LOVE page protectors. They are my new favorite teaching tool. I cut off the holes and cut down the ones I needed smaller. Finally, I glued it all to the poster board.

I am so excited about this. All I will have to do it write the TEKS with a dry erase marker and erase with a kleenex at the end of the day. Quick and easy! Just what I was looking for! I am going to hang this at the front of my classroom, right beside my Promethean Board. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Google Custom Search

At first, I was confused by the custom google search, but now I really like it. I made one that searches websites I like for resources. I hope it proves useful. I think it might. It could also be used to set up a safe search for my students. (I would have to try it a few times before I had them do it though.)

I had to watch a few short videos about the custom searches before I really understood. If you are ever unsure about something, just google it! :)

Give the kids a break

I can't wait to use this video! It will give us a minute to recharge and the kids love anything with music.

Great website!

If you have never been to you need to check it out! They have awesome resources and their songs are the best!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Stickers as a reward

Here are the stickers I give out after the Spelling Test on Friday. They love getting these. They put them on their nameplates, folders, or their shirts.

Google Search Story

This one was my favorite!

This is my favorite! It ties in with the latest movie where Andy is going to college and the toys are fearful of what is going to happen. Too cute!

Google Demo Slam

I found this one and it is pretty cool. It is showing Google Street View. We might be able to use this to show cool places in America to our students.

Let me know what you think!

Podcasting in Aviary - Flashlight Fridays

Here is something I am going to share with my kids soon. I got this idea off the Second Grade Teacher's Club ning. I love that website! I am going to let the kids bring a flashlight on Friday's to enhance our individual reading time. I will turn out the lights and let them read by a flashlight. I think they are going to love it!

Blog for other teachers

I am new to blogging, so after my class on setting up a blog I went home and began to work on mine. Now I have a blog for my students to post on called Simply 2nd. I love it, but I wanted something a little different. I want to be able to share my teaching ideas and things I make with other teachers. I like seeing what other teachers are doing and adapting their ideas to fit my classroom, so that is what I want this blog to be.

I am going to be posting ideas and things on here for anyone to use. I would love to have feedback on anything and everything.