Saturday, December 31, 2016

This Year's Classroom Tour

Well, here it is...the last day of the year.  I have been sitting with beginning classroom reveal pics on my phone for about five months.  This school year has been crazy busy.  (But really, aren't they all?)
Before school starts back from winter break.  I wanted to show you this year's classroom design and layout.

We'll start with view for the door as soon as you walk in.   My classroom is pretty small and there is not much wall space (curse you accordion curtain wall).  I have to be smart how I use every square inch of my class.
We have desks and chairs.  However, throughout the day students have the flexibility to work away from their desks.  They often choose to work in the floor with clip boards and cushions.

Also, as you enter my room I have some bookcases that serve as a big part of my storage.  My sweet mom (bless her heart) sewed all of these curtains to hide the supplies on the shelves.  (I found the fabric at Hobby Lobby and I bought the chalkboard from Pottery Barn Kids.)
 By the way, if you are interested in making custom pennant banners for your own classroom, click here.

My teacher desk was a new addition this year.  I was completely inspired by School Girl Style's design for a colorful classroom.  (You can click here to check out Melanie's post.)  My favorite part of the post was the teacher desk.
I scouted out this desk at a local antique shop.  I painted it white and added the tassel bunting.  I loved how it turned out.
Since the bunting is made out of tissue, I was afraid that it wound not be durable enough for my classroom.  But, I'm happy to say that half way through the year, it is still perfectly intact.

For some extra storage, I grabbed this metal cart at Target.  I used various sized jars to house some supplies.  I made a file out of this cute tote (that I also found at Target).

To make the tote into a file.  I added file rails, which can be found at any business supply store.  I also added some hanging files.  Since it's so easy to access, I keep my copies for the week in this file tote.

About eight months ago, I got an interactive whiteboard in my classroom.  So, our magnetic whiteboard is (sort of) serving a new purpose.  I still use it to write on.  But, I also use about a third of it to display our calendar (click here to learn how I made a custom calendar) and some anchor charts.

I made these magnetic clips to hold the anchor charts.  I bought these clips at Target's dollar spot.  I hot glued some magnet strips on the back.  It was a super easy project.

Another new addition to this year's class set up is a word wall.  I haven't had a word wall in several years.  I decided to give it another try.  But, unlike my old word wall, I wanted one customized to my classroom colors.
I made this simple watercolor word wall and coordinated it with my library labels.  

The classroom library was another newish addition this year.  Of course I've always had a class library.  However, this summer, I decided to reorganize my library and level it.
(To read more about my classroom library redo, just click here.)

If you would like a free set of my leveled library labels, click here.

I do a lot of instructing at our gathering area.  I have a easel on wheels (not pictured) that I use for teaching lessons at our gathering area.  I find, students listen better when they are physically closer to their teacher.
Some other tools in my gathering area are my Apple TV and my interactive whiteboard.

I found my polka dot rug and pompom pillow at Pottery Barn Teen.  The slipper chair and red cabinet are from Target.

Also, in my gathering area are two small magnetic whiteboards I use to display class jobs and our agenda for the day.

The final stop on my class tour is the main storage hub in my classroom.  I have these three huge wheeled cabinets.  Judging from their original color, they are probably from the mid-70's.  I painted them and arranged them to make a faux closet for extra storage.
I keep all sorts of things in (on and behind) these cabinets, including all of my monthly math and literacy centers.
I used the same clips that I magnetized for the whiteboard and hot glued them to the cabinets to display student work.  Like I said before, I am very limited on wall space.  Adding the clips turned these cabinets into great place to show off students' work.

Teachers and students spend so much time at school.  It's really important to create a space that is functional and organized.  The biggest tip I can give you as you think about your classroom design is, don't be afraid to get rid of things.  Often times, less is more.

There you have it, my classroom reveal.  Better late than never. ;)
Have a happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Make a Christmas Countdown Chain to Kick off the Holiday Season

Hi all.  
Before all the craziness of December gets started, I wanted to share a fun little project I've been doing with my class for several years, a countdown to Christmas paper chain.
Believe me, the kids love these.  Here's how they work:
-Students will get a bell topper and strips of paper to make the chain.
-They will make our chains on December 1, so each student should get 24 strips to make 24 links.  The last link should be on Christmas Eve.  (It's no problem if you don't make the countdown chains on December 1.  Just be sure to adjust the number of links students will make.)
-This year I'm sneaking in a little word work practice by having my young learners write a word from our word wall on each of the strips.  (This step is unnecessary, but a great way to get in a teeny bit more practice.)

-Since I do not have staplers for all students.  We use glue to put the links together.  I usually have to model a few for the class, so that they understand the process.

I tell the students to hold their link together and count to 30 before they add their next one  If a student is falling way behind, I usually swoop in with my stapler and parter with that student.

After all the links are together, I staple the bell topper to one end of the chain.  There is a poem on the topper.  You can check it out in the picture below.

When students finish, they have a chain that is (usually) taller than they are.  They get such a kick out of it.  They are also really excited to tear the links.  
Click here if you would like a free copy of the pattern I used to make our Christmas Countdown Chain.

A couple of other December resources you may want to check out are my, newly updated, literacy and math centers.
To Be Jolly {10 Literacy Centers for December} includes practice with contractions, vowel sounds, antonyms, rhyming words, syllables, parts of speech, types of sentences, and more.  You can click on the picture below for more details.

To Be Jolly {10 Math Centers for December} also has loads of seasonally themed skill work.  Centers focus on basic addition, basic subtraction, missing addends, time to the half hour, place value, skip counting, number comparisons, and more.
To find out more about my December math centers, click on the picture below.

That's it for now.
I hope you have a great rest of your week.
Happy teaching!

Friday, November 4, 2016

50th Day of School

Can I just say how absolutely thrilled I am to have survived a week that started with a Halloween Monday.  I know there is no need to explain.  I'm just going to say, hallelujah!

In other happy first graders have made it half way to the 100th day of school.  My team loves to mark this milestone with a 50th Day of School celebration.

Here's a run down of some of the days events...
We started out the day with a 50's themed count and graph activity.  Students counted the items on the picture sheet and graphed them.  Then they used their graphs to make a tally chart and answer some questions.

This activity was a great extension of some of the graphing work we've been doing during calendar math.  If you would like a FREE copy of my 50th Day Count and Graph activity, you can click on the picture below.

We also made our 50's Kids.  For the past few years I've wanted to put together a writing craftivity for the 50th day, but I've always ran out of time.  Finally this year, I spent a weekend creating this little project. 
Students put together their 50's inspired boy or girl.  Then they completed a simple math writing task to go along with their kid.  
I hung our 50's Kids and math writing in the hall to share with the rest of the school.  I love how the display turned out.

For more details about my 50s Kids {A Writing Craftivity for the 50th Day of School}, you can click on the picture below.

After we finished our 50th Day of School craftivity, it was time to get moving.  I set up my 50th Day 50 Second Challenge by placing the station cards and needed materials around the room.
After a quick lesson on how to do the twist, the hand jive, and how to hula hoop, my teeny boppers were ready for the challenge.

Students worked in pairs at all of the stations.  They had 50 seconds to do each station.
Students carried a clipboard with a recording sheet.  They wrote down the results of every challenge at the end of each 50 rotation.
Below you'll see a few pics from some of the stations.  Please excuse the blurriness of some of the pics.  I'm terrible at action shots.

The kids loved doing this challenge.  If you would like to try it out with your own students, you can click on the picture for a copy of my 50th Day 50 Second Challenge {A Free Activity for the 50th Day of School}.

Finally, we ended our 50th Day fun with a sock hop and root beer floats.  We went to our gym and played 50's dance music.  Some of the kids danced with each other, which was super cute.  They also tried out hula hooping again.  It was a really fun way to wrap up our festivities.
I am sure all of our firsties slept very well that night. ;)

Our 50th Day was a non-stop day full of excitement and learning.  It will definitely be on the calendar next year.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hello November {Resources & Ideas, Including Three Freebies}

Hello November.  I can't believe you are already here.  It feels like school just started a few weeks ago.
Since the season has come for all things turkey, I wanted to share some favorite resources for November.
First up are the completely updated math centers we'll be using this month, Thanks and Giving {10 Math Centers for November}.

Pictured below is a preview of the skills covered with this set of centers.  We will be working on balanced equations, time to the half hour, basic addition, basic subtraction, missing addends, place value, fact families, and more.
I love using these monthly centers to lay the ground work for upcoming instruction and to review skills we've coved so far this year.
You can click here for more details about these activities.

The (also completely updated) literacy center companion to our November math centers is Thanks and Giving {10 Literacy Centers for November}.

Again, pictured below is a preview of the skills covered with this set of centers.  We will be working on sight words, initial blends, ending blends, antonyms, sentences, parts of speech, and more.
We will be busy, busy, busy.
You can click here to learn more about these centers.

Besides our November literacy and math centers, a couple of other resources I'll use are my free Veterans Day and Thanksgiving math mini books.  I made these books a few years ago, but I like to pull them out each year so that my young learners can get a little extra practice with word problems.
Click on the pictures below if you would like a free copy of one (or both) of these math mini books.

Another freebie that is perfect for November is, my Perky Turkey Subtraction Scoot.   We spend most of October working on subtraction, so this scoot activity is a great review.
My kids last year loved scoot and write the room activities.  We haven't scooted this year, I think this activity will be a wonderful introduction.

Click on the picture below if you would like a FREE copy of Perky Turkey Subtraction Scoot.

In addition to all of this November inspired math and literacy, I also like to make a couple of seasonal craftivities.  One of my favorites is our Thanksgiving Writing Craftivity.  
Students put together their Pilgrims and then write about what they are thankful for.  These little Pilgrims make a really sweet display.

There you have it...some of my go-to resources for November.  I love this time of year and want to make the most of it.  I hope some of these ideas and activities will be a help in your classroom.
Thanks for stopping by.