Friday, August 16, 2013

Teacher Tips - Blog Hoppin' Linky

Here we are for the last day of Teacher Week '13!  Today is my first day back to school.  Well, it's our first teacher inservice.  The students come on Tuesday.  I do NOT feel ready this year!  :P  I don't know why.  I have everything organized and in place, but for some reason I am not nearly as stressed as I normally am.  Maybe I've been doing this too long.  ;)

So here are some Teacher Tips I must share with you.  I don't have a lot, but maybe these are new to you and you can use them in your own classroom!  :)

There are SO many cute little bins and tubs out there and as teachers, we could buy every one and put it to good use!  This is my Reading Toolbox.  I keep it right behind my guided reading table for easy and quick access.  I keep sight word cards, comprehension dice, nonfiction popsicle sticks, reading strategies (those cute little flower-looking things from Hope King!), reading highlight strips, and swizzle sticks to use as pointers when reading.  I just turn around, grab it, and plop it right in front of me for use with the kiddos when they come to the table.

My Teacher Binder is placed directly underneath my computer.  I keep EVERYTHING in it!  Lesson plans, student info, standards, notes, etc.  It's right within reach so I can easily grab it at any point.

I found these pink plastic boxes at Walmart a few years ago on clearance.  They stay on my writing table.  In one of them, I keep blank writing paper.

This next one is my favorite pink box.  I keep all sorts of photos in it to spark ideas for student writing.  If they're stuck on what to write about, they can thumb through the different pictures and choose one to base their writing off of.  Actually, I take all of my old calendars and tear them apart and put them in this box.  They love them!  And they're big and colorful enough to snag their attention and get them to notice little details that make their writing great.

Another tip is to have word cards stored somewhere, especially primary teachers.  I'm the type that would rather have everything at my finger tips than taking time each day, month, or year to do the same thing over and over.  I used index cards and put words on them with different spelling patterns.  For example, if we are studying r-controlled words with "ar", I have a stack of cards with "ar" in them.  I whip them out and we can practice reading them, play games with them, or quiz each other with them.  I actually typed the words on Avery labels.  Then I just peeled, stuck, and laminated all the cards!

I don't know about your kiddos, but mine go through erasers like candy!  I keep pencil top erasers in a jar behind my desk.  When they truly need one, they come up and ask.  Then I can monitor if they really need one or how often they're coming to get them.  I used to let them keep their erasers, but they would disappear within a week (just like everything else).  It's nice to be able to help teach them to be more responsible with their materials.

Another little thing I love is having our group meeting area so open and ready.  If you notice in the picture, I have my rocking chair and a little green stool.  Depending on what we're doing, I might sit in either one, or I may have a student join me for some joint teaching!  They love being able to sit up there with the teacher.  :)

Alright friends, I plan to check back in sometime next week to show you how our first week goes!  I also plan to take some pics from Open House and share them.  To all who are back, I hope your school year is off to an amazing start!  To those starting within the next week, GOOD LUCK!!!!  You'll be fabulous!  To those who still have 2 weeks or more...I'm jealous.  ;)

Classroom Management - Blog Hoppin' Linky

Classroom Management is always so tricky.  Here are a couple of things I help do to help TAME THE WILD!  ;)

In our school, we are becoming HUGE fans of the clip charts!  I just love how students can move up, not just down.  For me, here are the rewards/consequences of each portion of the chart:

Pink - 2 Spartan Bucks (see below) + Extra Classroom Coupon
Purple - Spartan Buck
Blue - Verbal Praise
Green - Nothing...this is where everyone starts out each day
Yellow - Verbal Warning
Orange - Miss 1/2 of recess
Red - Miss entire recess, plus phone call home, and visit with the principal

I got this idea last year from Amy Lemons.  I painted a canvas and have 3 "hallpasses" clipped to it.  When students want to use the restroom or if they run an errand, they simply clip one of these on their shirt.

Seriously, this solves all no-name papers!  I allow them to highlight their name before turning in their paper.  It's so fun for them that they NEVER forget it!  I haven't had a no-name paper since implementing this.

Our school does a building-wide positive behavior plan.  Students can earn Spartan Bucks from any teacher or staff member in the building.  They can earn them for pretty much anything positive.  Maybe they finally achieved a great score on an assessment after working so hard.  Maybe they helped a friend and were caught.  Maybe they used their manners.  Maybe they turned in some important paperwork on time.  Spartan Bucks are handed out to the students and they have the chance to redeem them at the Spartan Buck Store once every quarter.  The principal has bins of little goodies and toys.  After lunch, they are able to go and spend their Spartan Bucks.  If they happen to get 40 Spartan Bucks, they get a special Pizza with the Principal party!

Keeping those Spartan Bucks organized is another story.  I found these cute card pockets at Lakeshore Learning this year.  I tape/glue them to the inside top of their school supply boxes.  They simply stick them in there and have an easily accessible place to keep them.  When the Spartan Buck Store comes around, they transfer them to a baggie and haul them down.  :)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Organizing for Instruction - Blog Hoppin' Linky

Here are some snapshots of how I organize things in my classroom to access them quickly.  It makes instruction a lot smoother when I can find the things I need!  :)

I promise this is organized, even though it might not look like it.  I spent an entire day going through my files and pitching what I don't need/use and trying to make sense of what I wanted to keep.

The drawer right below it has all of my Reading Street files, organized by story.  I keep everything in there that I would need for the week.  Word Work, fluency checks, Decodable Readers, etc.

I place all of my materials in these drawers for each day during the week.  I made the labels my very first year of teaching, so I really need to go back through and relabel them!

The never-ending pencil battle starts here.  When students break a pencil it goes in the blue bucket.  They grab one from the purple bucket.  At the end of the day, my pencil sharpener sharpens all the "Not Sharp" pencils and places them all into the "Sharpened" bucket!

Each child has their own homework folder.  I check it every day when they put it in the "Folder" bucket.  Then my "Mailbox Helper" puts them in mailboxes.

Each child has their own mailbox.  This year I'm trying the binder clip idea!  I'm a huge fan so far!  I used my label maker to put their names on stickers and attach them to the clips.

During Daily 5, I have all sorts of options for the students to choose from.  I have copies of different types of writing paper in each drawer, a new journal entry each week in the flat, blue bin, and wordless picture books in the blue bin on the right for them to write their own words to the stories.

On the left side are all my Word Work activities for the week.  On the right are my Monthly Math Centers.  It's so helpful to keep them organized!

I have these huge drawers for organizing my math materials.  Each unit has a drawer and I keep homework, test copies, game templates, and other supplemental resources needed for each unit.  It makes it so easy to find what I need!

These three drawers house all of my little math materials, such as playing cards, rulers, clocks, tape measures, dice, and playing chips.

I have these bins that I got from Oriental Trading a few years ago.  I keep books that I use for specific lessons that are mine only.  I like to keep these separate from the student books so they're easier to find and stay in better condition.

I keep my anchor charts clipped together on the back of my easel for easy access.

For "Listen to Reading," I keep books in the red bin, iPads in the green bin, and their headphones in baggies in the blue basket.  It's all right there for them to be able to find and get started!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Classroom Digs - Blog Hoppin' Linky

Day 2 here for Teacher Week '13!  I'm so excited to reveal my classroom to you!  I'm so sorry I'm just now posting this.  I had mega problems getting my pictures onto my computer.  Ugh!  Somehow it magically decided to start working again...  Basically, this is going to be a huge photo dump.  A couple of the pictures are from my preview last week, but many of them are new.  It's very late and a friend and I are redoing our teacher's lounge!  Paint, lamps, fabric, Scentsy warmers, new tables and I'm off bright and early to help finish it up!  I'll be sure to post some pictures.  ;)

This year I went with a Chevron theme...surprise, surprise!  I mean, let's face it.  It's THE fad this year!  You might be sick of it already, or you might be totally pumped.  I like it because of the bright colors and because it's not a specific theme, per say.  You may have read a previous blog post of mine about some of the chevron touches that I've incorporated into my room this year.  So here it is...all finished and ready to go!

Could I POSSIBLY have any more supplies?

Aren't these knobs the cutest???  Hobby Lobby!  50% off!