Monday, August 25, 2014

Classroom Tour Post!

Hello! My sweeties and I started school on Wednesday and are finally starting to develop a daily routine. :)  It always feels so good when that starts to happen.  I really am blessed to have two sweet classes this year that are SO excited about reading.  It doesn't get much better than that!

Since I have a little bit of energy tonight, I wanted to share my completed classroom with you.  As I looked as these pictures, I realized I missed a few shots.  So hopefully I'll be editing this post soon to include pictures of my desk, the front of my room and my storage area for our clipboards and dry erase boards. 

Subway Art: Hope King
Lanterns and Tissue Paper Puffs: Hobby Lobby

This is the view from my desk.  I use a piece of felt cut into four pieces and rubber bands to keep the chairs from scrapping on the floor.  It works wonders.  I have to replace most of the felt throughout the year but it's SO worth it to not hear scrapping sounds :)

Here is a picture from the opposite corner on the room.  I need to take a close up picture of what is hanging up in the front of the room.   

Bookshelf: Mr. Fourth and Ten :) 
Library Tubs: Sterilite via Home Depot
Library Tub Labels: Lessons With Laughter 

Reorganizing my classroom library was a labor of love this summer. I purged a lot of books and organized them by genre, author, series or topic this summer. I can already tell that my students LOVE it!  It's made it book shopping so much easier.  

Word Work Tubs: Dollar Tree
Task Card Storage: Target
Fluency Tubs: Sterilite 
My library continues over to this large shelf as well. It also stores my word work centers, fluency tubs and reading task cards.  

Stools: Ikea
Here is where all the magic happens, my small group table!  I haven't always had the space for one at my current school, so I cherish every moment we spend over here. 

Border: United Arts and Education
Theme Team Letters: Cameo Creation
Theme Team Posters: Primary Punch

Even though I love my black and neon classroom, I couldn't pass up this Ohio State Bulletin Board Border!  :)  Theme is big in fourth grade, so I decided to put up a Theme Team wall for us to reference throughout the year. 

Baskets: Big Lots
Basket Labels: Hope King
This is a better shot of the open space above my guided reading table. I keep our book club choices and our writing/reading notebooks in the baskets.  

Voice Level Signs: A Cupcake for the Teacher
Hand Signal Signs: A Cupcake for the Teacher
Daily Five Rotation Signs: Teaching With Love and Laughter
Behavior Bingo: Dots and Spots
This is behavior management central in my room! My teaching partner and I both use the voice level and hand signal charts and it really makes a difference!  I use behavior bingo for my whole class behavior incentive and this year's kids LOVE it! My morning class just earned their first bingo! :) I use the rotation chart to schedule my small groups. 

Ribbon and Fans: Hobby Lobby

I've been working on redecorating my classroom for two years now.  Next summer, I'll finally get new curtains for my classroom.  Until then, I love this little display. :) 

Reading Strategies Letters: Cameo Creation
Reading Strategies Posters: Amy Groesbeck

I only have one bulletin board.  It's a little hard to get to, so I don't change it super often.  Right now, it has the reading strategies we use throughout the year hanging up.  

I hope you enjoyed a quick glance into my classroom. Like I said before, I still have a few pictures to add, but I just love this room.  It truly makes me smile when I walk in the door.  :)

I've linked this post to the following link ups! :)
Swimming into Second

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Open House Pictures and a Boost Sale

Hello! Tonight was open house and my partner teacher and I had a great turn out. I might be biassed but I'm pretty sure my new group of fourth graders are the most darling things ever.  :)  

Since I actually have some energy tonight, I thought I would share some pictures of open house!

Outside my door was my wish list wall.  I used this freebie  at the top of the wall and used my Cameo to cut out the little hands.  They say "Thank You!" on them.  I put my wish list outside my classroom this year because it usually gets lost in the shuffle during open house since my partner teacher and I switch classes during open house.  
We switch classes so we can meet all our students and their families.  Having the wish list outside was a success this year.  I was very blessed to have lots of parents pick up a handprint or two. :)

Outside our room I had our open house sign in sheet, a welcome sign and a copy a poem called "Unity". My cooperating teacher when I student taught shared it during open house and I just adore it.  You can find this super cute version here

Once my students entered the room, they were instructed to find their desk and visit the various stations I had around the room.  I only had a few since I was going to be talking a little bit as well. 

Most of the stations where dropping off supplies such as: notebook paper, tissues and plastic bags. We also instructed our students to put their school supplies in their desk and allowed parents and students to fill out our back to school paperwork if they wished.  We also had a transportation station so we could find out how our students would be getting home tomorrow.  Dismissal on the first day of school is always so nerve racking!

This was on each students' desk. Included was our grade levels information pamphlet, an email sign up list, Jen's Parent Survey and my student survey. We decided to have our students fill out the student survey at home this year since some of them just take a long time to fill them out and we are always missing a few.  I loved having the post it note with directions on the stack of paperwork because I didn't have to repeat them a hundred times.  :)

After about fifteen minutes, my teaching partner and I each did a little presentation with our homerooms.  We introduced ourselves and talked our behavior plan, communication and our organizational binders.  Then we talked about things pertaining to our subject matter.  For example, I talked about my homework packet and a what a day looks like in my reading classroom. 

After our short presentation, we switched classes.  I briefly introduced myself to my afternoon class, went over language arts information, and mingled with my afternoon class and their families for a little bit. 

We used this amazing template from Ladybug's Teacher Files to set up the formal presentation part of our open house.   You can find it {here}.

The mix of stations and an informal presentation was perfect for my teaching partner and I and we were both glad we set up our evening this way. 

I am going to give you guys a full classroom tour this weekend but here is the view from my door. :) 

I'm off to make my lunch and review my first day lessons one more time but I before I go, I wanted to let you know I am participating in TpT's BTS Boost sale tomorrow! 

Everything in my store will be 20% off and TpT will take an additional 10% off the sale price, for a total savings of 28%! :)  You can check out my store {here}.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bright Idea: Managing Transitions With Music

Good Morning! Today is one of my favorite Saturdays of the month, it's Bright Ideas Link Up time! 

While I've posted about my Bright Idea before {here}, it was really more a "check out what I did and love" mention at the end of a blog post.  I occasionally get questions about it, so I thought I'd share more about how I manage transitions such as lining up for specials and recess, coming to the carpet and getting notebooks out for writing, and going to Daily Five Rotations during this month's Bright Ideas Link Up. 

Before I begin, I want to thank Sandy and Mary for sharing how they use music time time transitions in their classrooms. It has really been a lifesaver! 

I keep a Powerpoint Slide that has all the transitions that my students usually do during the day on it up all day.  Imbedded in that Powerpoint are TV show theme songs.  I play the theme song while my students are transitioning to time them. 

This has been a huge lifesaver for me because bigger kids are so very social and see every little bit of downtime as a chance to talk.  :)  Since I only have each class for a limited amount of time, these songs really keep us on track.  My Powerpoint slide is below. :) 

I used clip art, text boxes, and sound files to make my slide.  Once I had the songs, this literally took minutes to put together. :) Below is a screenshot of how to insert sounds into Powerpoint if you've never done it before. 

While I used Powerpoint, you could use your Interactive Whiteboard software as well if you have one.  I create almost everything for my classroom in Powerpoint, so this was the easiest. :)

I use a mixture of songs my kids know and ones they don't. I love using TV show theme songs because they are short enough that I don't have to do any editing of their length.  I use shorter songs for simple transitions and longer songs for the transitions that take a little bit more time.   For example, I play "Be Ready" when I want my students to do something quick like put a paper in their take home folder.  My "Be Ready" song is the Rugrats theme song. I play "Pass Out Papers" when we are passing out tests/papers.  During this time privacy folders and tests are being passed out for each table, so that requires a little bit more time.  My "Pass Out Papers" song is the Saved by the Bell theme song. 

When creating my Transition Time slide, I also picked songs I don't mind hearing again and again and again since I used it with both of my classes. :)  My class' playlist is below. 

Sometimes I change up songs throughout the year. Sometimes we get bored, sometimes we aren't moving fast enough, or sometimes I just can't bear to hear a song anymore.  Currently, I'm looking for a song to replace SpongeBob because he's been my line up for specials song for three years.  I'm a little sick of him. :)

Using music to time transitions has been one of the best things I've done in my classroom.  It's a fun way to hold students accountable during what can often be an unstructured time.  If my students beat their transition song, I always reward them with a Bingo number, especially if it's been one they've struggled with.  My students love hearing these fun songs throughout the day and once they figure how long each song really is, the songs really do help them speed up what they are doing so that they can complete the transition in time.  

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider 
following me me on FacebookInstagram, or Teachers Pay Teachers for more great ideas. 

For even more great classroom ideas, please browse through the link-up below and click on a topic/grade level that interests you.  Thanks for visiting! :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Storing Extra Student Supplies

One year we did community supplies, a flop.  For many years they just kept the extras in their cubbies, desks, or backpacks, a mess.  Last year, they kept a few pencils, one highlighter, one glue stick, one Expo marker and their crayons in their supply pouch. Then the rest went in a large Ziploc bag with their name on it in the extra supply crate. 

When their supply pouch stash ran out, they went and got more from their Ziploc bag. Most of my kiddos were very respectful and didn't get in other students' bags. I only had to watch a few of them.

I hold onto my homeroom's extra supplies and my teaching partner holds on to her homeroom's extra supplies.  They can only ask to get in their extra supply bag when they are with their homeroom teacher.  

Here's my question for you: How do you organize your students' extra/surplus supplies? 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Made It: Dismissal Board Edition

Good Evening! I know I'm a little late to the party, but I still wanted to show off my Monday Made It. 

My project was made last summer but I forgot to blog about it.  Oops! Back to school is so exhausting sometimes. ;)

Being departmentalized means that somethings that worked in my self contained classroom needed to be tweaked in order to work.  One of those things was my transportation chart. I loved it but I knew it would be hard to manage since I would not be taking my homeroom class to the bus.  We switch classes in the middle of the day, so I take my afternoon class to the bus and once we switch we only have a few minutes to unpack and fill out our planners before some of my students leave for intervention.

So I used some dry erase poster board, fabric (purchased at Hobby Lobby), border and Modge Podge to create a new dismissal board that would a bit easier to manage with two classes. 

My teaching partner and I collected any changes in after school routine notes from our homeroom students each morning and then we passed them off to each other.  

I would review the notes and mark any changes on the posters. I also put my non bus rider student schedules on the board as well.  So for example, if Noah was a pick up MWF but a Latchkey student on T/R that would go on the board and stay up all year.  I attached the rosters for chorus and basketball directly to the board as well, so I knew which students participated in these weekly activities.  A little bit of extra organization made sure everyone was always where they needed to be when school ended.

You can download the home to school notes we pass out to our parents here.  All they have to do is fill in the blanks for absences, tardies, and for the days their child's end of the day transportation changes. 

Since the boards are dry erase, they erase easily.  
So if Michael was only being an after school pick up on 8/11, you can simply erase it the next day. 

Many of the subs who worked with my class last year remarked how easy it made dismissal for them. Plus if I have to leave right after school, our office staff can refer to it if there is any confusion at dismissal. Our dismissal board is certainly one of our most used classroom tools. 

If you would like to see more fabulous Monday Made It Projects, make sure you visit Tara's blog for this week's link up! :) You might even see a product of mine in one of her Monday Made It Projects! :) 

Have a great week, friends! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: August 6th

Helo! I wanted to link up with my sweet friend, Miss DeCarbo, last night but yesterday was our wedding anniversary!  :) So I'm linking up tonight, I don't think she'll mind. :)

Earlier this year, I went to a painting class with some of my friends.  While I had fun with the girls, it was a horrible experience for me.  The teacher moved too fast, stood in awkward positions that didn't allow me to see what she was doing, and played music a little too loud so I couldn't hear her directions clearly.  Additionally, there were "helpers" that walked around and rather than help me, they deflated me by saying things like "Just what are you trying to do here?"  I felt extremely frustrated the entire time.  The pace of the class was way too fast and I couldn't keep up. I was constantly several steps behind. I couldn't wait for it to be over. 

On the way home, it hit me.  The frustration I felt must be how some of my students, especially my strugglers, must feel on a daily basis.  Since my painting is what you would say beautiful, I was tempted to throw it away.  Instead, I hung it up in my classroom as a reminder.  As a reminder to slow down, to give clear directions, and to be patient with my students.  It reminds me daily just how frustrating learning/trying something can be. Daily it inspires me to be a better teacher.  

I know this isn't a very Wordless Wednesday, so sorry Christina, but I DO have a question for you.

Do you have anything in your classroom, a picture, quote, or a special memento, that inspires you to be a better teacher?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday Made It: Storage Edition

Hi guys! How are you?  I had a very busy and productive in my classroom today.  This is the first year in three years that I haven't had to move classrooms.  It has been glorious.  Essentially everything is unpacked and ready to go.  Well everything except for my library, but I did put all my books in their new bins and my new bookshelf is built. It just needs a good sanding and staining job.  Special shout out to my husband for building it for me! :)

This evening I'm linking up with the lovely Tara today to share some projects I did today in my classroom for Monday Made It!

I have been in love with Catherine's {The Brown Bag Teacher} Literacy Center Storage since she first posted it but I just never had the time to set it up myself.  Today, I got busy though! :)  

I used food storage containers from Target because they were a lot cheaper and I was really looking more for a way to store my task cards.  So I purchased these small containers.  They did, however, have larger ones that would fit large envelopes and recording sheets. 

 Labels are from this decor pack from Hope King.

I have two more containers that I need to make labels for and a could probably stand to use another package of containers as well.  I just know I'll love having my tasks cards and center activities so organized this year!

 I also got to work organizing my seasonal centers and fluency games.  I use these containers and LOVE them. :) I glued some labels on them and sorted my seasonal materials into the appropriate bin.  

Look how pretty they are all in a row! I just LOVE it! :) 

Finally, I organized some of my small group materials.  Time is so valuable when it comes to small groups and I found my kiddos wasted a lot of time last year because they came to my reading table unprepared. So I shopped my classroom and found an adorable basket and some of these cute cups that I previously used for a book raffle.  I already had some IG friends ask me about the cups. I got them at WalMart around Easter time. :) Inside each cup I put materials I commonly have my students use during small groups. 

Inside each cup is a piece of felt, I use these for dry erase marker erasers, a reading pointer, two different colored highlighters, a dry erase marker, and a pencil.  I branded these supplies as mine with some Washi tape.  I plan on storing these cups in a cute basket I found in my classroom, that was originally from Big Lots, and passing them out at the beginning of guided reading groups.  

Hopefully this will cut down on our transitions during our guided reading groups and will help us get started right away! I'll use Clorox wipes a couple times a week to clean off the supplies to prevent germs from spreading around.  :)

So apparently TpT has a sale today and tomorrow. :) You can visit my TpT store by clicking {here}

I'm about to go shopping myself, so I can tackle my next Monday Made library.  This isn't my new shelf, but my two current ones set up so I could get my library books off my student desks. :)

Thanks again, Tara for hosting us all! :) 
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