Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Classroom Photos


I wanted to show you the latest photos from my room. I am feeling so good about things right now. My room is almost ready and our curriculum should be available to use tomorrow. Lesson planning begins soon!

Let's start with my large storage cabinet. I had to reorganize it and get all the subjects together.

How should I decorate this???

Click here to see the inspiring post behind these quotes! I think this is going to be a great way to keep things positive this year.

All my binders. I am ready to stay organized!

This area will probably change a little as we get closer to school.

This is my favorite wall. All ready for anchor charts.


These are my class job mini posters. I will just add student names once they have been hired for the job.

Hallway display for our western theme.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Caught You Being Good!

Don't you just L.O.V.E. labels? I know I do!!!

I have been thinking about what to do with my goodie drawer. You know. The drawer that is filled with Target Dollar Spot finds like activity books, crayons, candy (gasp!), and other fun goodies. I used it as the reward for getting to Outstanding! on our clip chart last year. Everyone on Outstanding! at the end of the day got to pick from the drawer. It was a great incentive.

This year I am going to be doing a classroom economy, so when I want to reward the kids, I will give them bonus money. If they improve on behavior or assignments/tests, they will get a star for their name on our Super Improver Wall. So...

What to do with my goodie drawer????

My goodie drawer is going to be more of a random act of kindness reward. It will be totally up to my discretion. I will give students a "sticker," really it is an address label I printed, with the reason they are receiving their reward. It could be for anything! I like to give positive feedback to my students all day long. This is just another fun way to do it!! 

I will tape the above clipart to my drawer.

So here is what I have to share with you today:

The labels all ready to be printed onto Avery 5160 labels.

Click to download

The clipart I created to use however you want.

Click to download

Have fun! The new school year is getting closer and closer. EEEK!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sunday, July 29, 2012

New School Year Resolutions ~ Linky Party

Resolution #1
Stay positive!!! I really got down on myself last year and I don't want to repeat all that this year. I am going to implement positive quotes into my classroom on a weekly basis. I will be posting more about this later, but you can visit the blog where I got my inspiration.

Resolution #2
Post and state our student expectation before every lesson. This is a big thing in my school district and I am not good at it. I still need to designate a spot and decide how I want to display them.

Resolution #3
Teach my students organizational skills. I really want my students to learn and practice taking care of their things and our class materials. I want to focus on clean desks and a clean room.

Resolution #4
Classroom Economy: You can read my post here. I think this will be a great learning experience for us all this year. I know that it could be a disaster, but I have high hopes!!!

Resolution #5
Whole Brain Teaching: I plan on implementing a lot of his resources.
  • Class, Yes
  • Hands and Eyes
  • Mirros
  • Teach, Ok
  • Whole Brain Writing Game
  • Super Improver Wall
  • Super Speed Math and Reading
  • Universal Homework Model
You should check out the website and learn more about it. His resources are free after you register!

Resolution #6
Project Binderize! I am going to live in binders this year. I will have content area binders, a teacher all-in-one binder, a CAFE binder, Data binder, student binders, etc. I am hoping this will really help keep things neat and orderly.

Resolution #7
CAFE and VOICES boards: These are really going to focus my lessons this year. Along with anchor charts, these are going to keep a record of all we have learned. I hope they will be a great reference.
Click to view my post.
Resolution #8 {Last one!}
Journaling: My distric really pushes interactive journals in all content areas. I love journals and I want to do them justice this year. 

Go link up!!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Anchor Charts

Let me start with the newest photos of my classroom. I spent about 3 hours working today. My sweet Mom came and helped me!

Back wall

Left corner ~ I added one curtain to cover those shelves

Love my CAFE board! The space to the right will be for anchor charts that we do as a class. I will elaborate below.
*** CAFE headers are a free download at Ladybugs Teaching Files, another outstanding teacher blog.

VOICES board for writing
*** VOICES headers are a free download at Ladybug's Teaching Files.

I have to say that I am loving my new room. I still have quite a bit to do, so keep checking back!


Now on to anchor charts. I will be using anchor charts more this year than I ever have before. There is a big push towards journaling in my disttict and I like that. We will use an anchor chart to work on reading, writing, math, science, and social studies concepts. I will record on the chart paper and my students will record in their journals. Then I will hang the charts in a designated area for future reference. When we create a new chart that covers the old one on the wall, the students will have their copy to reference as needed.

If you don't follow this amazing blog, you should!! She is so inspiring!

Clutter-Free Classroom

I will be following her advice on hanging anchor charts in the classroom. 

You can read about it here.

She makes an outline with ribbon for her anchor charts. Then hot glues a clothespin (decorated of course) to hang them quickly and easily. HOW COOL IS THAT???

This is on the agenda for next week since this week I have been busy organizing and adding paper to the walls. I think it will look awesome!!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Setting up my new classroom

Big changes for me this year:

  • I am moving from 2nd to 4th.
  • I moved out of my portable and into a classroom in the building with no windows.
  • I have less "junk" in my new room, so I can use the shelves for my things, not the materials that are leftover from old adoptions. (Yay!)
It is difficult to setup a room for a grade I haven't taught. I have been thinking about my classroom setup all summer. I am pretty sure I want the desks in groups. I want to have at least one table for small groups. Everyone needs to be able to see the Promethean board. Where is the best place to put the schedule, class guidelines, turn in boxes, anchor charts? There are too many things to think about.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear that I could get into my room this week! I worked for about 2 hours on Tuesday and about 3 on Wednesday. I have just been going through my stuff, finding places to store it, going through all the 4th grade materials, and doing basic setup of furniture. 

Here is what I have so far...

Day 1
Front of the room as viewed from the door.

Back of the room as viewed from the door.

End of Day 1

I will be adding my benches to the center of the groups. 

Day 2
Things are starting to look better. View from the door.

The only decorating so far. Bunting!!! I have another to string up tomorrow. 
You can see part of my classroom library. Things look so bare right now.

I like my desk area. I just have to figure out the computer situation. Plus I have to make it look pretty.
Day 3

View from the door. That took a while!!!

Small white board at the front of the room.

I haven't put out the chairs because I am not sure I will keep my desks arranged the way they are right now.

I think the yellow board is going to be for reading and writing anchor charts. I am still thinking about it. I am not sure what I will put on the blue board yet. The small black board is actually two filing cabinets put together. I am going to set my turn in boxes on top, plus it is magnetic! Maybe a reminder area?

This will be my CAFE board.

View from the back of the room.

Hallway ~ This is my student showcase. Our theme is western. Just started it today.

Sharing Thursday #5 ~ Turning in papers

So I shared that one of my teaching pet peeves is when a student says, "I don't know." I am making it my mission this coming year to give my students substitute words that mean more. You can read more about it by clicking the picture!
Another of my teaching pet peeves and struggles is trying to get ALL of my students to turn in their papers. Let me set the scene...
*wavy, blurry screen*
I have just finished my lesson. My student helper has passed out the assignment. We have discussed my expectations and they know to read the directions. I walk around the room as the students get to work, answer a few questions and encourage idle students to get to work.
I know the students need time to finish, so I turn on some work music.

~some time later~
The music cues everyone to finish up and turn in their papers. Most students are finished and walk to turn in their papers. Some rush to be the first. There are a few students who covertly stuff their unfinished paper into their desk, never to be found again.

*back to reality*

I have really been thinking about this problem. I really stayed on my 2nd graders to turn everything in when I asked for it, even if it wasn't finished. I think that might turn into a bigger problem with 4th graders. I know that students work at different paces, but we have limited time during the school day. (You all know this.) So I devised a plan.

I bought three pretty trays at Target's Dollar Spot a few weeks ago, so I decided they would work great for this project. I gathered some clothes pins, and my Xyron sticker maker.

(Side note: These are amazing! I only have the small one right now, but I will own the rest soon.)
Click to go to their website.

This is my new system for turning papers in and keeping track of students who do not turn their papers in on time. As you can see, there is a tray for Reading, Science & Social Studies, and Math. There are 22 clips on each tray and there is a recording sheet for each tray. 

  1. Music cues students to finish and turn in papers
  2. Student walk to the appropriate tray
  3. Lay their papers inside with the top to the left (so all papers are facing the same way)
  4. Grab their clip and place it in a jar beside the tray (I don't have those yet)
  5. Walk back to their desks
  6. After all students are back in their desks or later on in the day, my clerk will record the date, assignment, and any clips that remain on the recording paper
I will be able to see at a glance how many students still need to turn in their work. I usually let students turn in their work as they finish, so this will also be great in that scenario. I will be able to see if I should allow more time or if we should be finished based on how many clips are left.

At the end of the day, I will remind the students with their numbers on the recording papers that they have extra homework and those assignment are due the following day. I will train students to place their unfinished work in their STAR binder so it will find it's way home.

Here are my files if you want them.
Labels for the boxes and the clothes pins - Click here.
Recording Sheets:
          Reading - Click here.
          Math - Click here.
          Science & Social Studies - Click here.

I think this procedure will be quicker and easier than it sounds on paper. What do you think? Is there something I am missing? I am open to suggestions!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Crafty Wednesday #5 ~ Boggle Board

Last year, my 2nd graders loved to make words from our word board. They would beg for it every morning. I made a big deal out of the words they could come up with and they worked really hard. Some of them really impressed me with the words they found. Now they didn't always spell them correctly, but I applauded their efforts and it was a reall teachable moment for me to show them the correct spellings. I loved that!

I decided that I wanted to integrate a Boggle Board into my 4th grade class this coming year. It will be part of morning work sometimes and it will be an after work choice. I am thinking they can either read or work on their words from the Boggle board after they finish their work.

Here are the pins that inspired me:

My students are just going to write their words in a journal. I can't make special copies just for Boggle. So sorry I don't have a cute paper to share, but I am sure you can find you somewhere!

So I have been thinking about making my own letters for several weeks.


I got a little carried away...

Just click on the picture to download the files!

Happy Boggling! 
(Not sure that is a word. Oh well!)

Side note:

I was able to get into my classroom yesterday for about 2 hours. Here is what it looked like when I walked in.
View from the door

Standing at the door and looking left
I will have updates soon!