Saturday, July 28, 2012

Full of Excuses: Vocabulary and Spelling Words

YES! I'm full of excuses about not blogging consistently (family, health, classroom, family). I promised myself that blogging would be a reflection of my teaching practices and a journal of my teaching experience. Of course it is also a huge learning experience. I L.O.V.E. it. I especially love it because what I'm about to show you will truly be appreciated only by teachers. Everyone else close to me humors my classroom talk but they don't really get it. 

I've been working on redoing my bulletin boards and maximizing my wall spaced for student learning and student made learning products. 
This board is to the left of my whiteboard. On the right of my white board is the exact same bulletin board. I transformed the "right" one today!

This is my finished product! This wall is for our vocabulary words and spelling words. The blank red paper is an example of what will hang from the "clothesline." Usually all our anchor charts, vocabulary illustrations/definitions etc are created on the size paper. The red pocket chart is for our weekly spelling words. There is one word in their (the rest were in a container so I left them there for now :) The blue pocket chart is for our vocabulary words and task cards etc. In between the red and blue pocket chart are spaces for spelling anchor charts. If I choose to use 8.5" x 11" paper I can hang two, OR I can use the red paper size (I'm having a brain freeze on the size) from the top string under "words."
II had been creating this board in my mind and wondering if it would really come together. It is SO much better than I thought it would be. I love the ease of the paper clips. I love how clean it looks. It is nice and uncluttered. The titles are simply white and pop in my opinion. 

I placed six red clothespins on each of these ribbons. When I attached the ribben I made sure it was very taut. I also tucked the ribbons beginning and end under the bulletin board border.  I also stapled the middle fo the ribbon to the board to help avoid any drooping! What's also great about the clothespins is the ability to move them. I love the flexibility they afford me. 

Sorry it's a tad blurry ~ I'm still just loving the way the white title pops! 

I have been working in my classroom this week. I plan on having my entire room first day ready by Friday of next week. That includes LPs and copies :) I'm determined.
That's all for tonight! This week I plan on posting how I plan on using a writer's binder in my classroom and my writing station. There will be a couple freebies involved!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I'm BACK! Candy Themed Labels

This post is long over due! I have soooo many things to blog about: Debbie Diller's Summer Institute, new class layout, all the features of my room, Debbie Diller's Summer Institute (yes it was awesome), my back to school purchases, and a couple other things up my sleeve!

I've had several followers ask about the classroom labels they see in my classroom.  I just uploaded all of them up onto my TPT store! The BEST part is that ALL the labels are also provided blank.

Here is the preview file :)

Check It Out!

Check It Out!

Check It Out!

Check It Out!
 You can see the labels in use in my classroom in the following pictures:

That's all for now! I'm in Georgia for some vacation so its brief and short tonight :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

The dollar SPOT

The RED and the KHAKI all together . . . Oh TARGET what a lovely place to be. I went to the dollar spot and everything with a blue dot was 70% OFF. That is 30 ¢ for stuff. Good quality stuff. So of course the teacher in me kicked in. I enjoy giving my students a beginning of the year welcome gift, a birthday gift on their birthday, and an end of the year gift. So I have almost EVERYTHING I need! While I was there, they were just beginning to set out all the school stuff :) Oh my, how it made me smile. I think once I post this I'll take a little stroll back to Target to see if it's all out yet. I really want to snatch some of those mini purple pocket charts up. Time for pictures to do all the talking!

I'm also working on uploading some of the labels I have created to sue in my classroom. I've had several people ask me where I got my labels and I've just made all of them! I'm also working on my clip-chart behavior system.

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Teacher's Wisdom LINKY

I'm linking up with Deb from Fabulously First
Fabulously First

I want to start this post off by saying I'm going into my second year of teaching (and am no where close  to having it all together). I remember people telling me my first year would be the hardest. I would respond politely and think in my head. . . I just spent four years preparing for this I know it won't be a walk in the park but the hardest? PLEASE listen to them . Your first year will be the hardest. In my personal opinion if you get through your first year and still LOVE what you do you are CERTAINLY in the right profession. Let me also say I LOVE what I do. 

I started off the year with a mentor teacher. Now I am spoiled because my mentor teacher has taught second grade for 30 years. I learn so much from her and would still be lost without her. I also love that we get all so good. Having her was HUGE. I mean I would go into her classroom just about everyday. (It's right across the hall.). She was/is so patient with me and all the questions I have. If you can, find an older, experienced, mentor teacher who is willing to share their knowledge with you. It is very helpful if they teach the same grade as you, even the same curriculum. Those first couple months I basically did whatever she did. It let me explore my teaching style and classroom management with the assurance that I was covering the standards. A note of encouragement the actually teaching part tends to be the easiest. The parents, paperwork, and miscellaneous stuff is the hardest. 

The next biggest thing that helped me my first year was getting my act together and seriously organizing my classroom. It's still a work in progress and it will always be. That said, organize your room and LABEL everything. If you need a sub (and you will) everything is labeled and easy to find. Your students (remember it's their room to) will be able to find things easily. You will be able to find things easily. Finding things easily means you aren't wasting time finding things you placed in a pile on that table yesterday but can't seem to find anymore. See what I've done in my room HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE!

One more thing I just can't help but saying. Take the time in the first couple weeks to REALLY establish classroom rules, routines, and procedures. It is WORTH it. 

All that in mind remember to LOVE what you do. Get to know your students and let them know you love them to. Here is another hint, when parents see you love their children they will love you! It works like a charm. When I allowed the parents to see me love and care for their child (and not be concerned about them judging me or thinking I'm childish) the response was amazing. 

Now I need to go and read everyone's wisdom. I still need it ALL!

I have some freebies up my sleeve and I need to accept all the amazing awards I've been receiving. This week I was at my home in the Keys with my family. Next week I'm on my way to Debbie Diller's Summer Institute and am SUPER DUPER EXCITED! 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Guided Math Chapter 6 Review and Reflect and FREEBIE

1. What are some ways that you can organize your classroom to support Math Workshop?
Well I do feel that I have strived to organize my math manipulatives so they are more accessible to my students. This is what it looks like so far:
In the above pictures the white drawer on the left is where students file math papers etc. I believe I am going to have students keep their math journals in a basket on top of that white drawer. I was very inconsistent with using math journals last year and Really want to improve on that. It also will tie in writing :) The math journals last year also got destroyed in their desks last year. This year I am going to try and eliminate what is in their desks. 
I have an organized meeting area for everyone to have math huddles and discuss math investigations etc. . . 
It takes place here :) If you were sitting in the "Cars" chair you would see my amazing easel. This is the one I have it just isn't mine :) I didn't have an isolated picture of it. 
Copernicus IS3 Premium Royal Inspiration Station Educational Miscellaneous, Blue Frame
I would like to come up with a more organized system for my math assessments, student math sheets, and math work-station papers. I would LOVE to read how you all organize/manage that stuff. I have yet to come up with an efficient system. 

2. How can implementing Math Workshop promote the learning goals you have for your class?
SIMPLE ~ it allows you to tailor instruction specifically for your students. All of your instruction centers on the learning goals (i.e. curriculum standards) and you are differentiating your instruction using the different mediums of Math Workshop. 

I loved reading this chapter and realizing that there is nothing set in stone. On page 200 Sammons says, "Although the teacher has allocated a longer time to spend with the group, if needed, the extra time can now be spent with the remaining two groups." Near the end of last year when I had begun to really try and implement small group instruction I had this idea that I had to meet with ALL my students for exactly the same amount of time. This chapter really opened my eyes. One of my college professors would always say "In education fair is not equal." I find that SO true each and every student is unique. I loved how Sammons gave the example of meeting with the high group first and not holding students back but pushing them further. The one thing I wonder is what are the middle and low group doing while you meet with the high group first. I'm in the middle of playing around with a "loose" schedule to implement next year. I'm thinking that those groups would be working on other components of Guided Math working with concepts already taught to them. 

I also created some FREEBIES to go along with the Math Investigations section of the book! Go check them out HERE!

I'm linking up with 

Mechele from Barrow's Hodgepodge is co-hosting this chapter along with Amanda from Reaching for the Top

I'm excited to go and read everyone's link ups and thoughts! I canNOT emphasize enough how important a n organized classroom environment can promote learning. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Teacher Tuesday ~ Classroom Themes

Well I love MJ's style over at Teaching in Heels! I was just scrolling through my google reader and came across her post discussing classroom themes. When I was going into my first year of teaching it took me awhile to come up with a classroom theme. Did I want to go with a theme? Did I want to have a theme centered around an object or around color? After a good it of debate and searching the intenet I came up with a Candy/Sweets theme. Can I just say there is not that much made for this theme. Especially in educational stores. It required some thinking outside the box and creating things on my own. My mom really helped me out coming up with some cute candy/sweet connections and items for my room. So I stuck with a loose candy/sweet theme and chose to tie in primary colors. I have come to love it more and more. Especially now that I can create things on my computer! I've created some of the following things this summer to really tie in all the candy/sweet themes. 

Here are som things I've made, picked up along the way, and purchased to tie my theme together. Of course by September this year everything will be tweaked a bit because my classroom in an evolving learning environment. As teachers shouldn't we be willing to learn and grow since it's what we ask of our students? Just a thought. Now onto some more pics . . . 
2B Smarties ( as in the candies. . . if you look closely at the border I attached  smarties' wrappers!)

At the beginning of the year it say Welgum to 2B and write my students' names onto each gumball.

This let's you see the bright colors in my room and some of the candy elements. . . DOTS blanket, M&M umbrella, smarties board. . . 

My labels all have candy on them! And are all in the bright primary colors :)

M&M rug and on the hair there is a Laffy taffy pillow. That chair was a HUGE hit with my sweets :)

My library sign! It was my dad's idea and it's still SUPER awesome.
Another perk to using primary color sin your classroom is they are almost always for sale. Educational supplies almost always include primary colors. Finding bins and other things is pretty easy!

Hope you enjoyed. Go link up your thoughts on classroom themes with MJ's Teacher Tuesday!

I've also linked this post up to 
Surfin' Through Second
For her
Go and Check everyone's link ups. I just LOVE classroom picture/theme link ups. What can I say?

Please remember if you grab any photos off my blog to credit them to me and provide a link back to this post :)