Friday, August 12, 2011

Advice needed, classroom update, and back to school!

First things first I need some of my fabulous blogger advice on math books.

I really like using Envision math but this year our entire district order these books:

They are enormous, horizontal, and take up the whole desk! Not to mention you can't just flip through them and do the math problems. Do you see in the picture how you would do the front side then to do the back you would have to flip the book around because the problems are upside down if you don't? What you are supposed to do is have the kids rip the paper out and fold it. Hmm well the designers of this book have obviously never worked with Kindergartens or first graders. The book is not perforated so it does not easily tear out. I also feel like this would waste a lot of time teaching the kids how to do this. So most of our office staff suggested that we just tear each one out and fold it ourselves. You would have to tear our 18 and fold them and then sort them into each topic to keep organized...who has time for that when we are to start using them the 1st day. Then you have a bunch of lose paper too. So I'm stumped on what to do...I will probably give in and just tear them all out and sort them because that will be easiest in the long run for the kids. What are your thoughts? Have you used these Envision math books before?

Second thing I need advice on is my schedule chart. For some reason when I wrote on the wipe off pocket chart part of the white board marker stayed on the inside of the pocket. I need to change my schedule around this year but can't clean the inside of the pocket chart off. Here is a picture so you can see what I'm talking about.

Does anyone know a good way to get white board marker off the inside of this pocket? I thought about using a toothbrush and water to try to get it off but haven't tried it yet.

Here are some updated pictures of my room:

This is my literacy center chart. I am going to put the students pictures next to which center they are in. This way it can easily be changed when they check in. Next to it is my reader choice board that also needs my student's smiling faces.

                                                My writing strategies above my writing center.

This my math workshop board sorry you can't see that well because of the glare. I think I'm going to change the border on this though because it doesn't really match the rest of my room...I think I'll go with the  blue border that is in the rest of my class.
My specials rotation pockets. Each pocket has a day of the week and then the special we are attending that day.

Now here are some things I made yesterday.

Birthday bags:

Cute clipboards:

And I made a sign for my pirate wreath that says" Ms. Bullen's Buccaneers": 

I'm oh so excited about going back to school! We start pre-planning on Monday, Meet the Teacher is on Thursday, and then it's the start of a brand new school year! What I'm not excited about is going back to traffic school! :( :( After a wonderful college girls reunion last night I got pulled over by a robo cop. Yes he was robotic- he didn't give me time to cry, explain, or do anything besides give him my information. Blah-I was on the highway going 72 not bad right...oh expect for this part of the highway is 55. Don't know how or why I got pulled over when I was not in the fast lane and not going 80 like others but that's reality. So my last few days of summer will be going to icky traffic school. On the bright side (is there one really? of course!) my friend also just got a speeding ticket and needs to take traffic school as well. So we will be sitting with our laptops side by side drinking wine and taking traffic school on Saturday.

You are a awesome follower if you read through all that....look for a freebie come Monday! I have some lunch labels that I want to share but I want to take a picture of them in my classroom first.


  1. Jess,

    We use enVision Math. I told you we have the same resource shelves. :)

    I'm surprised because I thought Kindergarten was the only grade that had the big books. 1st and 2nd in our school receives the papers already folded and packaged by topic. Each lesson is stored in order behind the game for the topic/parent sheets.

    If it were me, I would have a parent pull all the sheets, fold them, and store by topic. I have a crate with a folder for each topic and each lesson within. I find it easier to pull the lesson and allow the helper to pass out the papers.

    I've used several things to help with marker on the inside of my pockets. You can use nail polish remover (works like a charm), use an expo marker to color over top of your old expo marker and erase with a tissue, and crazy enough...a pink eraser has worked.

    Polish remover is my favorite! It works on permanent and expo marks.

    Your pirate writing and birthday bags are cute! AND You make traffic school sound like fun!

    Primary Graffiti

  2. Thanks SO much for your advice ! We had the flyers last year and it was so much easier...I stored them in folders by topic too and then had the kids pass them out or take them to do independently during centers.It was easier that way but Orange County decided to order these for K-2 this year. I will try to see if a parent is willing to tear and sort all of these. It is a BIG job! I am definitely trying the polish remover on Monday!

  3. We use envisions also. I hate it! We would actually prefer the big flip books but our county opted against it. We get the big boxes of each topic and we have to each seperate enough for our's a big mess. Last year the boxes literally sat in one teacher's room until the end of the year.

    I saw your comment about donor's choose. My first one was funded largely by family via facebook. The second one just happened to be up at the end of 2010 and lots of people fund projects then because it is a tax write off. I will definitely have one up for the end of the year again. I also put the link to the website in my monthly newsletter to parents with a little blurb of what it is. I didn't have any parents donate last year, but it's worth a shot.


  4. Thank you for your advice about donor's choose. That is smart thinking to post one at the end of the year! My project ends in December so maybe I can get a lot of donors at the end. I will also include it in my newsletter!


  5. We use those gigantic enVision books too. Last year, I had a parent volunteer come in and tear out the whole book. She stacked all of the lessons together and it worked out perfectly!
    P.S. I totally *heart* your pirate wreath!! I have a pirate theme in my classroom also, and I pinned this as a project that I would like to do.


  6. We too have the big enVision books - last year was our first year using it. I taught second last year and I had a parent rip out the pages just like everyone else who commented. This year I had planned on just having the kids rip them out but I'm Kindergarten now so I was actually just wondering the same thing! :) I might have a parent rip them out this year too but I don't know. Most teachers did that or had a riping party with their family! haha. We all had hanging file folders in a crate and filed them that way but they are such a pain, what was the company thinking!?

  7. Pure acetone works like a charm!

  8. We have the same back to school schedule! :) Sorry about traffic school YUCK! Enjoy your last weekend!!!

  9. Oh yes, we have those big ole Envision math books! The first year of the adoption was the only year we had the papers that were folded and not in the book. I was thinking I will have to tear them out too and sort and group them. Sujch a pain! We figured our county went with the big book b/c of the price difference. Honestly, I would have paid extra out of my pocket to have the pages and not the book. If you think of something to share, please tell us! I feel your pain! LOL

  10. I saw a blog post a few days ago about using a paper cutter to separate workbooks more quickly... still not fun, but I guess it's less tedious then tearing all the pages out individually. Basically you just cut off the spine and watch out for staples... if it's really thick you have to loosen the glue and cut it apart little by little.

  11. @ Katie and Melissa Thanks for the advice! I will definitely try that!

    @ Lisa Thanks for pinning my pirate wreath! I'm so flattered! I think I will have to rip them out

    @Mrs. Mikos and Kelly I don't know what the Envision company was thinking...the pages not in the book were so much better. I will probably do a ripping party for the first topic and get a parent volunteer to do the rest.

    @ Collen Thanks for the advice I will definitely take off the spine of the book!

    To everyone: Thanks for all your kind words, advice, and for being followers! It makes me so happy to see your comments!

  12. I also love goof off. It takes out everything. A child even painted a computer with white out and it come off. I love it!

  13. The Magic Eraser is awesome! You have to try it :)
    Dual Kinder Teacher

  14. We just got enVision this year and I am notmso sure about it. I hope it gets more challenging because the first few lessons seem more preschool than kinder. We also have the big books and I am not a fan. Too much work for us overworked teachers. We also got the workbook which to me seems like too much pencil and paper for kinder. Whatndo you like best about the series? What are must do's and what can I not do.


  15. @ Jane
    I like the interactive videos for the kids. I do the big book front and back with them and let them do the inside part on their own. I don't know which workbook you have but I use one for homework and the other as a daily assessment. It is a lot to do! I do whole group with them and then do centers. One of my centers is doing the worksheet independently. When they come to me I quickly check them and then re-teach, expand, or challenge them accordingly. Hope this helps you!