Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Classroom Day 2


I know you all get it but the fiancé simply does not get why I continue to go into my classroom everyday even though it is still my summer! Umm hello?! My classroom is clean and open of course I'm going in! There is just soooo much to do and the list just seems to be getting longer.

Print stuff out and laminate it! (This could take a whole day!
Penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar poster show both sides the name and the amount of change in all different colors
Zip tie desks together
Ribbons for journal markers
Writing rubric and keeping track chart
Mall wall and math workshop
Highlighters for names on paper
Border around cabinets
Enrichment ideas
Donate to our class items of notes for parents
Brain break sticks
AR chart for taking a test and for points
Paint stool
Calendar board and calendar/math notebooks
Ribbon on curtain rod
CAFÉ board
D5 board
Pom poms on the back of dry eraser markers
Command hooks for headphones and computer logins passwords
Transportation chart
Anchor chart area
Table signs
Make curtains
Common board
Job chart
Laminate business cards and put magnets on the for the fridge for meet the teacher 
Meet the teacher bags
Meet the teacher paperwork
First week of school things ready to go!

As you can see I only actually crossed two of those items off my list! I fully intended to go into my room today and make it super cute!  I wanted to start really decorating and putting up bulletin boards but this was not in the cards for me today. First grade got a new teacher (yeah! she's sweet...this makes 11 on our team) but I felt like I needed to talk to her for awhile and help her out. I also had to move curriculum over to her class that was in mine. I moved out of a class that became a Kindergarten class and moved into a first grade class so I had double curriculum and it needed to go! So I had the privilege
of moving all the books, teacher editions, science kits, math materials....you name it curriculum wise over to the new teachers room. That took up a good amount of time in my day and then I had to sort through my own stuff! 

Good news is I got everything taken out of boxes. I also got the 2nd teacher desk taken out of my room! Yeah no teacher's desk for me! Today I also got all of my workbooks for the year and more science levels readers. I organized more and put stuff away so the room might not look too different from yesterday but I'll show you all four walls today. 

Back wall. When you first walk in. Not much different.

Entrance. The bathroom is the other door you see. The stuff to the left of the door is all stuff the last teacher left in the room. :( She did not clean very well or take any staples out of the wall. 

This is the wall to the right. I couldn't take a picture of the whole wall so I broke it up into two pictures.

This is the wall to the left or some might call it the front of the classroom because of the whiteboard. I'm thinking of putting my word wall on that bulletin board or underneath the whiteboard. Has anyone ever put their word wall under the board? Seems like a good idea since they can reach that height and there is space...I just worry they might not be able to see it well all the time. 
This is the other side of the same wall. This will be where my meeting area is once my rug comes! I'm also thinking that my alphabet looks crooked now. Well that will have to be changed tomorrow! Anyone else have problems hanging things straight?

This is actually a pillow that I covered with an old sorority blanket of mine. I just wrapped up the pillow and tied the sides.

I also covered this pillow using bandanas, rubber bands, and ribbon. I just saw this idea this morning from Primary Inspiration: No-Sew Classroom Pillow DIY Project. It is super easy and super cute!

I also finally finished my class quilt today because I had to get more polka dot tape. This took a long time for me to make but I'm happy with it and how it will be used in the class.


New leveled readers and a big book! I love non-fiction books and these are awesome! They have beautiful pictures and are in above, on, and below first grade level to meet all my students needs.

Look at all of those new workbooks! Reading, science, math, and social studies all the makings of first grade! Oh and to the right you can see where I am keeping my book boxes! I'm excited about putting them in these cubbies this year it was a co-workers idea!

This is where I'm going to have students turn in homework and other work. These are also my Lakeshore frames that will be hung up tomorrow on this wall! 

This is my writing table! I put some fabric over two desks to create "table." I have to set up my writing board which is all the stuff on the table. I'm really excited about this area! I know it's going to be great!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Back to School (Day 1 in my classroom)

When I hear back to school I think of Billy Madison singing before he gets on the bus, all the school supply commercials, and of course getting back into my classroom. I have 2 weeks of summer left before pre-planning starts but what that really means is I have 2 weeks to make the cutest darn classroom I can before tons of meetings, paperwork, and meet the teacher!

Today was my first day back in my classroom and I think it was a super successfully day. I feel like I made a lot of headway in my room! Check it out through these pictures.


When I walked in the room this is what it looked like from my door. A big mess! Cabinets in the middle of the floor desks, boxes, and stuff everywhere! 

I moved the desks around included my own which is on it's way out the door! I made my desk area and library area on this side of the room today. I also put the cabinet against the wall and put tons of things away and organized them. 

I organized some of my word work games monthly.

Then I stacked them in this awkward area in my room. But....then I put one panel of a curtain on a tension rod and voila just like that I have a cute storage area. The desk you see there is not mine. It is my para-professionals. She comes with a desk so I'm removing mine because it just takes up too much space.

This is now my "desk" area. I just moved my computer over to the presentation area and put a cabinet next to it so I have a place to put some supplies. I love it because it's small and open so I have to keep it clean. Everything is organized in bins and folders so I will be forced to put everything away. I also have my guided reading books on the shelf because this will be super close to where my guided reading table will eventually be. 

This is my library area! The books in blue bins are all fiction. The books in the red and green bins are non-fiction. The books on the top shelf are chapter books that I will eventually take down and change out for the easier books once I know my kids reading levels. I know this area will change some but this is it for right now!

So that's my room right now! I'm going back tomorrow for Day 2 and will show you more pictures as the room comes together!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Last Chapter of Daily 5

Putting it all Together:

Now that we have read the whole book so how do you put it all together?  This is how I put it all together. First take it slow you don’t have to try everything the first day and you certainly shouldn’t. If your kids are building their stamina in read to self and then the next day they fall behind take a step back evaluate what went wrong, practice, and model again with the kids (can not stress this enough it is probably the most important thing that will set the tone for the whole year!) and try again. The kids will get there you just have to be patience and take your time teaching all the correct steps to Daily 5. Look back and read those first few chapters on how to get things started and know that this will work with time.
Once you get all 5 of your rotations down and everything is going smoothly let the kids pick their Daily 5. I know it sounds scary but I promise the kids will be so much more engaged and ready for the activity if they get to choose. Make it clear they have to pick different centers and they can’t go to the same one twice. My kids are accountable for the centers they have gone to and keep others accountable as well. In the pass I have written down who goes to what center but I really think it’s a waste of valuable time.

I love checking in with my students. During clean up time. Once I ring my chimes the kids know it’s time to clean up. I might have to remind certain kids or tap students who are listening that the chimes have rung but everyone knows it is a quiet clean up time to meet on the floor. I softly talk with my students about the books they read, what game they played, or what they were writing about. They love the individual attention. I also ask my class whole group how they did thumps up or down. They are very honest and we briefly talk about what we could do next rotation to make it even better. I like to focus on the positives! I’m going to be using Mel D’s Daily 5 necklaces this year to motivate my students to work hard during each rotation.

Check in chart. The Daily 5 cards are on the left and each kid chooses which rotation to go to and their picture gets moved. This is a great visual for the kids and I to see who is in which Daily 5 and if anyone leaves a mess we know who needs to clean it up.

When everyone is on the carpet I have students start choosing their Daily 5. Each student makes their choice and leaves to start quickly expect for the read to someone kids who wait to choose a partner and then go. I’m the last person to leave our check in. If kids are working with me they know to take out their book boxes and start reading until I get to the table. Some days when I need to do assessments I just ask one student at a time to come to my table. I pick students who are in read to self and eventually will get everyone checked off the list. Students know if I am sitting down at the table to not come and interrupt but this is a hard lesson learned at the beginning of the year. I am thinking that I need a special hat like I saw in Funky First Grade Fun.

I know it can be hard to fit it all in so make it work for your schedule and your kids. I have a 90-minute reading block each morning from 9:30-11:00.
Whole group reading 9:30-10:00
Daily 5/guided reading 10:00-11:00
This is what has worked for me in the past but every class is different and it may take longer in the beginning. If we ever didn’t finish during this time we would come back to it after lunch. The kids were very understanding or this and knew what was expected.

Thanks so much for reading about the Daily 5! This has helped me to think about the upcoming year and what I need to get ready for my students. I hope this information has helped you. Please feel free to ask any questions about the Daily 5 and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Our wonderful hosts for these chapters are Funky First Grade Fun and Surfin' Through Second. Check out their great ideas! 

Surfin' Through Second
A special thanks Mel from Seusstastic Classroom Inspirationsand Nicole from Teaching With Style for organizing this book study for everyone!  Please stop by to visit them as well.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Daily 5 Book Study Chapter 6

Work on Writing:

Writing is one of my favorite parts of Daily 5 because it is so important for kids to have a time to free write during the day. I find that it can also be a difficult time to get first graders to stay on task and not just work on their pictures after 2 sentences in the beginning of the year. Over time though my students get the hang out it and produce some wonderful work. One way to help them with ideas is to get them to get a heart map and to write class books. 

On Friday after Daily 5 I give my students the chance to share any of their writing from that week. They get to sit in the rocking chair and read their work to the class. As a class we always give one compliment, one thing they could work on (I didn’t understand that part or you could have told me more about the character-nothing mean!) and then another compliment to finish out. If I know a student who is very shy wants to share we won’t critique at the end. Some students don’t want to share, which is okay, but I let them know they have to be an active participant in this time.

For work on writing or writing as I call it in my class students need to:
Get materials out quickly and quietly.
Get started right away.
Stay in one spot.
Write the WHOLE time.
Use finger spaces and punctuation.

My students mostly like to write at the writing table or at their seat so staying in one spot is easy for writing the most difficult part is writing the whole time.  In my writing area I have my word wall to help them spell sight words correctly and use them in their writing. I also have a writing board that helps them get ideas for writing and see different types of writing.  In the writing center I have reference books they can use, fun paper to write on, extra paper other than their journals, crayons, markers, erasers, pencils, and writing idea cards.

Word Work:

Word work without a doubt is always my kid’s favorite activity because there is just so much for them to do! I give them so many options so they feel empowered to do what works best for them. This is the area where I keep my games, themed center activities, spelling, vocabulary, and sight word work. I use Fry words in my current school and have used Dolch words in the past. I personally like the Fry words because of the Fry word phrases and can find so many activities online for Fry words. 

Get materials out quickly and quietly.
Get started right away.
Stay in one spot. (away from guided reading table/library where kids read because this is the noisiest center since kids will be interacting)
Work the whole time.
Clean up quickly and quietly.  (This is major because sometimes there are a lot of pieces and if they don’t start cleaning up right away we end up waiting on them.)

This is where I store a lot of the word work materials. Other materials get stored in folders which I change out weekly accord to skill, theme, and what my kids need practice on.

Word work options:

Spelling or sight words work:
-use magnetic letters
-use stamps
-use stickers
-use a whiteboard
-use smelly markers

Vocabulary or spelling:
-use 4 squares to demonstrate knowledge of the word one corner is definition, picture, sentence, and similar word to it the word goes in the middle

-various games from Lakeshore
-word sorts
-unscrambling sentences
-putting words in ABC order
-read and write the room

Pretty much anything that has to do with words go into word work. I teach my students any new games when I pull them in groups on Friday. I don’t play the whole game I just make sure they understand what to do. This is an awesome way to differentiate in your classroom. If you know a certain group of students is ready to move on to compound words and others aren’t their then introduce them to the group that is ready and have them practice during word work. If students need extra practice with their letters/sounds then have them work on that during word work.
I love how flexible Daily 5 is in the classroom. It looks different in each room but has the same principles of getting kids engaged and excited about learning!

Check out our chapter 6 hostesses below and link up to learn more:  

Fabulously First

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fancy Storage and a Sign

Toady I knocked something off my sumer to do list. I know you've seen those fancy sterile drawer on Pinterest and Kinder-Craze. Well I have decided to make my own version. It was pretty simple to do.

These are the materials I used:
-scrapbook paper
-double sided tape

First I put double sided tape on the ribbon and put it all the away around the top of the drawer so it made a border. Then I measured and drew a line where I should cute the scrapbook paper. I used 2 pieces of scrapbook paper per drawer since my drawers are large. Not the best picture but you can see the ribbon around the top and how I put the paper up to measure it.

Then I secured the paper to the drawer by using double sided tape on the bottom. Then I used regular tape on the inside to make the paper stick to the ribbon.

I had three drawers and made each of them a little bit different. I used green ribbon and blue paper, then blue ribbon and green paper, and finally green ribbon and blue paper again. The paper is all different shades but I like the way it turned out. 

As for my sign...I made this on Monday and haven't had time to post it to Tara's Monday Made It. I was so indecisive about this sign. I painted to 3 times. The first time I painted it my current name which will change next year so then I thought well that's silly! So I painted it green and waited and then painted it what will be my new married name. Then I thought well that is really silly because it's not my name yet. So I painted it all green again. Thought for awhile and then just settled on painted it with first grade since I know I will be teaching first grade. I still not super thrilled about it so it might change again. Good thing I still have a month of summer to decide!