In my quest to become organized this year, to get to know my kids, to assess their needs, and to still be super-teacher....I have merely thought many times about blogging...rather than sitting in front of the computer and actually blogging. But! Here it is, as promised! A quick walk-about of my classroom (as it looks now, even with kids involved!) and all of its orange, polka-dotty goodness!
My wonderful friend picked me up an Ewok from Disneyland this summer, and it has a place of honor in my classroom...so he also got a place of honor in all of my pictures. We talk on the first day of school about ourselves and our procedures and all sorts of things, so I like to have a couple of pieces that represent "me" on my walls/desk/etc. Last year I printed a small photo-collage and put that with a picture of my family. This year I added a little Harry Potter and Firefly reference. I found frames at the dollar store and printed "posters" from my computer. I dug out my t-pins and used them to hang the frames on my wall. Worked well with bulletin board walls - questionable with hard walls, I'm sure.
Starting next week, we will finally begin classroom Boggle. The kiddos are super excited about it, which must mean that I am a great salesperson! It will be nice, as I have many high-achievers who are naturally very quick at certain activities. Boggle will not only give them something extra to think about when they're done, but it will also be a nice, "Hey, thanks for bearing with me while we slowly learn procedures" reward.
I had to laugh at Back to School Night this week! A few parents asked if I got my ideas on Pinterest :) Must be that obvious! But these little dollar store objective frames have already been a wonderful piece in my classroom design. I change the objectives each day, and write the vocabulary up next to the frames for reference.
Covering my storage cabinet with paper was one of the best decisions this summer. It not only covers the off-colored cabinet (since everything has to match), but it also provided a nice place to do a magnetic job chart. I found my chart pictures at Teaching in Flip Flops.
Ahhh, the 9-hour birthday wreath! It currently hangs in a place of non-honor as it waits for Tuesday and the first student birthday of the year!
Last year, when I got my job, my parents brought bunches of things that were taking up space in the garage to my classroom. (not everything's out yet, sorry Dad.) This year, I spruced up some of those things. To make my drawers look a little more cohesive, I put scrapbook paper on the inside of them facing out. This way, you can't see what's in the drawers, and they look much more "together." Pardon the post-its...since I can't see into the drawers, I label them....but I haven't changed my summer post-its to the nice labels yet.
My Twitter wall! The kiddos are LOVING tweeting so far! As we get into more stories, I have ideas floating around in my head...but for now, it has been pretty subdued. They had a blast leaving tweets for their parents to read at Back to School Night though.
It has been nice having the kids highlight their name as they turn in papers. While it hasn't cut back on unfinished work, it has cut down on nameless work. Since we did a lot of text highlighting in second grade, I didn't anticipate having any trouble with name highlighting in third grade...which means that I have now had to backtrack a smidge and teach the class that "highlight your name" does not mean "trace every letter with a highlighter."
Over at Clutter Free Classroom I found the idea of putting up student work with a scrapbook paper backing. Last year, I had to measure and level everything I put up. This year, I already have a place of honor for each student's writing, and will never have to level anything! Plus, it leaves a nice space for a name label and a picture.
As I mentioned before, I have the 4 C's of common core posted in my room. Collaborators, Communicators, Creators, and Critical Thinkers. These are the four things that we should be teaching our students to be by the time they are out of school. On top of that, I am in love with my orange polka-dot ribbon that I used to make the frames! So much fun! The only ribbon I bought this summer that was not from the dollar bin...and totally was worth it!
Finally, my wonderful and amazing new backpack racks! I am in love with these things! They have made my life easier on so many levels and I get a smile on my face every time I look at them! Last year, we kept backpacks on a bookshelf at the back of the room, and later on the backs of chairs. In the shelf, they were more often on the floor than put away; and on the chairs, I was more often tripping over them than anything. This year, I was given these beautiful racks and the organization factor is huge!
So that seems to be it for the classroom walk-about. Probably there is more...I know that I am always adding more...but for now, it still looks like it did before school started (a feat which I am proud of now that kiddos are in the picture). With luck, things will stay nice and organized all year...cross your fingers!