Sunday, July 31, 2011

Classroom Decorating: Day Ten

A few last minute touches. I'd love to say I'm ready for our first inservice day Wednesday, but sadly, I'm not. There are still several things that need to be done, but nothing major. So I'm almost there. Enough rambling though. Here's today's update!

Accomplished: Snagging this **adorable** desk! Is this not the cutest thing EVER???
This belonged to my friend across the hall. She used it as her desk last year, but got a beautiful L-shaped desk this year, so I took this off her hands! She painted the drawers...aren't they cute?? I'm using it as a writing center for one student. Haven't decided how I'm going to decide which student goes each center rotation yet, but I'm going to make it work! The desk is just too cute not to be used, right?? 
***Please note that the top of the desk will soon be covered with pretty containers for pencils and other writer's tools. And maybe a cozy lamp??

Accomplished: Reader's Workshop Charts 

I found these charts somewhere online, but can't remember where?? 

Accomplished: Another entire corner...for those of you keeping up, this means the ENTIRE back of the room is complete! 

Accomplished: My "How to find 'Just Right' Books" Chart
I found this on an old computer, so I have no idea where the idea for the  chart originally came from, but I thought it was great! It's in my meeting area, which also doubles as my buddy reading center during center rotations.

Accomplished: Added names to my bees. The font is Doodle Tipsy for anybody wondering. One of my favs!

Accomplished: Outside Student Work Display

A week from tonight I'll be preparing for the first day of school. Bittersweet. It's been a good summer but I'm ready to meet my little boys and girls! :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Classroom Decorating: Day Nine

It's almost done! Just a few finishing touches and all will be complete! Here's what was accomplished today:

Accomplished: Student work display over cubbies
***I've been wanting to have these adorable bees by Sarah Cooley in my classroom since I first saw them. Are they not the cutest things ever??? 

***Couple of things to note. 1. I ran out of bees. I was two short, so that's why the right side is lacking and 2. I still need to add names to each paper

Accomplished: Most of the door...I'm wayyyyy ahead of schedule! I was doing my door the day of parent night last year! 
I saw this door at the school we went to Wednesday for the NEAECC. I still need to put the letters up. It will say "Ms. Leslie Ann's Class is Something to Tweet About"

I also moved my 'mailbox' to the side of the door (instead of on it) and added my name.

I'm loving the name plates I found this year! I love the green polka dots. Here's how they look on the students' desk:

There isn't a whole lot left to do which makes me so happy! :) 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Classroom Decorating: Day Eight...Job Chart Complete!

Day Eight actually took place yesterday, but I haven't had a chance to post until today. It was a day dedicated to labeling books, workbooks, folders, etc. But I did finish my job chart. I've been thinking and thinking about how I wanted to do my jobs this year and inspiration struck on the way to the mall of all places! I saw a "Merry Maids" sign and that got me thinking. I didn't want to call my jobs 'maids' since that sounded like child labor to me HAHA! So, Happy Helpers was invented:

The kids' names are on cards that are in the blue envelope to the side. Each day I pull a card and place it next to each happy helper. :)

I hope to finish my student work display this afternoon. I dread this board more than any because it's above the cubbies, which makes it incredibly difficult to reach! More to come this afternoon...Happy Friday! :) 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Northeast Alabama Early Childhood Conference

Anyone else going to the NEAEC conference tomorrow?? My first grade team and I are! Guess who's going to be there??
That's right! Kinder by Kim. ( I couldn't find a pic of her, so her website screenshot will have to do!) 
Click the picture to check out her wonderful website. So many fantastic ideas. Can wait to meet her! :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Classroom Decorating: Day Seven

Here's a tip for everyone working in your classrooms, getting ready for Back to School: Eat before you leave the house, or bring a snack! I woke up this morning not hungry at all so silly me didn't even think about preparing for later on. A couple of hours later, I am beyond hungry. Sooo day seven was a short working day. Here's what was accomplished before I called it a day (morning?) and headed to the nearest fast food restaurant :) 

Accomplished: My sounds board
I like having a place in the room to add sounds as we learn them each week. For example, our first sound is short /a/, so when we cover that sound, we'll add it to the board and add some words that have that same sound. 

Accomplished: Names attached to cute are they??

Accomplished: One corner of the classroom *entirely* finished! 

I can't wait to show y'all how I'm displaying my anchor charts. It's really cute in my mind so hopefully it will turn out that way... fingers crossed! I also have a really cute idea for behind my cubbies, but it's still a work in progress. 

***Reading Street Teachers! Join the linky party and share your favorite SFRS ideas!! :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Reading Street Linky Party!

Okay, this is my first time doing a linky party and I don't wanna throw a dud of a party, so I'll try and make it good :) When I was a first year teacher it was my school's 2nd year using Reading Street. I was constantly googling ideas and finding absolutely NOTHING! That was before I discovered the world of teacher blogs and since this discovery, I have found thousands of fabulous ideas, not just for Scott Foresman Reading Street but with all things teaching.
So here's the party details. Share one idea for using Scott Foresman Reading Street in your classroom. Not just first grade, but all grades! It can be a display, the way you teach whole or small group, center ideas, anything and everything Reading Street! I've already shared all my ideas before the idea of this party was mentioned, but my previous ideas can be found here, here, here, here, and here.

Morning Message Change Up

You may remember this post about my morning message. I started doing this around Feb. and LOVED it! It worked so well in my classroom, but I'm changing it up a little this year. I've been reading about the Buzz Book and how they do the morning message and I like the idea of doing it as a group and having the students engaged in the question. I had just been making my class read the question of the day (which is part of the Reading Street series) and answer it in their journals for morning work while I take snack orders and everything else. So, in order to have a engaging morning message that is discussed in whole group AND have the question of the day answered for morning work, I came up with these, which are free to download for you Reading Street teachers! And if you non-reading street teachers could use them, feel free! These questions are all about animals, so it could go along with a unit on animals.  I'll stop rambling and get to the download now :)
Unit 1 Questions
I plan to laminate these, punch two holes in the top, attach rings, and hang them somewhere in the room. Each morning, I'll have a "Question Flipper" flip to the day's question, ready to be answered for morning work! That's the plan anyways! :) 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Reading Genres Posters...Freebie!

I just decided to post these instead of emailing everyone who requested them since that would take *forever*. Someone sent me a link to a site that had the posters I had been using. I had always wondered where they came from! Anyways, they were made by a 3rd grade teacher, Beth Newingham, which makes complete sense because some of the books that were used in those posters were books that were more appropriate for upper grades. I love this teacher and had no idea she created these! Her website is a favorite of mine. I like the layout of those, so I kept it the same and just changed the books to some classroom favorites that are more first grade. I also just made the ones for Realistic Fiction, Fantasy, Non-fiction, and Biography since those are the ones that covered in Reading Street. Feel free to download if you like! And we all know that I'm not the best with uploading via Scrib, so please let me know if you have any problems downloading!
story genres.pdf

***I've had a couple of requests to host a Reading Street linky party! Sounds like a fabulous idea to me!!! :) :) :)

Classroom Decorating: Day Six- Meet Schema Susie!

I'm at the point now where I am needing to make things for last minute boards and thank goodness I can now concentrate on center activities, organize paperwork, and prepare for Parent Night. Last summer I wasn't as far as I am now, so I'm feeling good! :) Today, I ran up to my classroom to bring a couple of things back home to work on, so I only have one pic. I created Schema Susie yesterday and she completes my schema board. It's now ready to display graphic organizers and charts! :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Using Cabinets to Display Reading Genres

When I posted a few days ago about my Scott Foresman Reading Street display, I completely forgot about my reading genres. I snapped this picture right before I took them down yesterday. Each week, we discuss what genre the weekly story is and then place it in  
the appropriate section.
I have some issues with the way I did this. I love using the cabinets. It saved wall space, which is always a good thing. In case you haven't noticed, I love to fill my ENTIRE walls with boards, posters, etc. :)  But..... I do not like that I wrote them on different colored sentence stripes. Looks messy to me. I think they would have been much better typed out in cute font. That's is the plan for how I do them this year. I also plan to come up with some cuter genre posters. Those were given to us, but I would like to create my own so I've started working on them. I think it will spice it up a little. If you would like a copy of the Genre Posters, just let me know I'll email them or post them. :) Here's how all the genres look on all the cabinets. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Classroom decorating: Day Five

Whew! Y'all, I'm tired! I worked for about 4 hours in my classroom today and got soooo much done! By the time I left, everything was put up and desks were cleared. HUGE accomplishment for the day! I still have a couple of boards left to put up and some more organization to do, not to mention the massive number of wires to untangle and reattach to my computers, but all in all I'd say I'm making progress! 

Accomplished: Math Focus Board
I'm hoping this works as well as my reading focus board. We use Saxon Math so everyday there's a new skill. I plan to type up all the skills so they'll be ready to be displayed weekly. I think this will be good because now the kids will know what the new skill is and what the week holds. It'll also let them know when a test in coming up (the program gives a test every 5 lessons). We don't do a lesson on Fridays, but it didn't look right with just the 4 days of the week to me. :) We do free math centers on Fridays, so I can put that on the Friday section. 

Accomplished: The title of my Schema Board

Accomplished: My favorite little color crayons displayed!
I bought these my first year teaching and they are still my favorite thing ever! I just love these! :)

Accomplished: Drumroll, please!......the tops of the student desks CLEARED!!!

It's almost looking like it's ready for students! Almost.

See the messy, ugly, black wires?? I absolutely HATE wires! But the front of the room is coming together, little by little.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Concept Question Board in Detail

If you're a Scott Foresman Reading Street teacher like I am, you eat, sleep, and breathe Reading Street. At least I feel like that sometimes. I've never taught reading with anything else, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I really like this reading series. Not a fan of some of the stories, but I love the way the book is laid out and the lessons are presented. We had a workshop on this series the first year I taught and I learned a ton from it. Plus, it also helps to have a really great reading coach like we have :) 
I design most of my boards around Reading Street since it's such a big part of our day. The first grade version includes 5 unit with 6 stories in each unit. Each unit has a theme. For example, Unit One is all about Animals. Each story in this unit deals with animals and each story also has a question. Each weekly question is related to the concept (or unit) question. I create a Question Board to help my kids understand the theme better. That way they can see the question that we are focusing on for the week and how it ties back in to the big, overall question. 
I wish I had taken a picture of all my question boards, but I could only find this one. It's the one I made for Unit 3, which was about changes.
The weekly questions are on the polka dot paper. Each section is dedicated to a story and if you can tell, there's an arrow that points to the globe, which is the unit question. 
The one I finished yesterday is done basically the same way, but I added something new.
See the blue at the bottom? That labels the 'mini theme' that's in the book. In Unit One, the first three stories are about Animal Friends and the last three stories talk about Wild Animals. At the end of the unit  we graph which we liked better, friendly or wild, so it helps to have this displayed. 

My focus board is themed around Reading Street and it worked so well last year that I'm thinking about trying out a math focus board. I'm *horrible* at creating a calendar board and even more horrible at keeping it up. At the end of last year, I started doing the calendar on the SmartBoard, so I'm not even displaying one this year, which frees up my Dr. Seuss Math board. Perfect for the Math Focus Board, right? :)
Sorry, I got off track. Back to Scott Foresman. I also had what I call a Building Background board. In Reading Street, on Monday and Wednesday there's a graphic organizer that you fill out with the kids and we are suppose to display these in the rooms, which I think is a great idea. That way the kids are reminded of what they've learned. At the beginning of the year, we talked about what it meant to 'Build Background' and they knew that it meant that we were talking about what we already know. This board worked great, but this year I want to focus it more on activating schema, rather than called it a 'Building Background' board. 
Any Reading Street teachers out there with ideas, I'd love to hear them! 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Classroom decorating: Day Four

Slowly but surely, it's coming together. There's still a ton left to do, but I'm starting to see a teeny tiny bit of progress. Here's what's accomplished by day 4:

Accomplished: the new focus board...I'm so happy with the way it turned it!
***Please look over the messy small group table. That, sadly, has not been completed.

Accomplished: Concept Question Map Board
Is that not the cutest alligator you've ever seen?? I used my Cricut to do the animals. For all you fellow Cricuters out there I used the Create A Critter Cartridge. Favorite cartridge ever. 

Accomplished: A little bit more of the writing center
For those of you who have a writing center, do you wait to put up the word lists and examples of writings until you introduce it to the students? Everything I read says that you should and I'm trying to be good, but it really bothers me to have a part of the wall blank for parent night and the first day of school...

Accomplished: The Dr. Seuss Number Cards above the math board
Disregard the posters on the board. They aren't all saying there..I'm just playing around with what I want. :) Math centers are on the cabinet in the blue bins. 

Accomplished: Paper lanterns hung
Aren't these cute? I found them at Pier One Imports and they were 20% off. This might not sound like a lot, but I NEVER find a bargain, so to me it was a deal! And they light up!
Exhibit A:
Love them!

I've gotten several requests to do a post about my word wall, which has a loonnggg story behind it, so that's coming soon! :) I also wanted to say thank you to my new followers...I have just over 500 now. WOW! Super excited about that. I think it calls for a giveway, don't y'all?? :) :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Classroom decorating: Day Three

I may have spent way longer than I meant to working today, but I got a ton done. Plus, it was really cloudy which messed up my laying out plans so it all worked out. :) Here's today's update:

Accomplished: Part of the Focus Board

The 'Words to Know' will go in the top right corner and the spelling words will go below them. All you fellow Reading Street teachers out there, if you don't already know about Langston's focus board resources, you must! You can find them here!

Accomplished: Front Meeting Area

I'm LOVING how this area is turning out. I plan to display our charts that we make in Reader''s Workshop and that we do with our reading series on the pink board behind the easel and my wicker rocker. 

Accomplished:  A tiny bit of the writing center done
I almost didn't post the pic because there's hardly anything to it, but I love how the letters on the paper plates look. I learned this trick from somewhere, but I cannot remember where??? Anyways, this is going to be my writing center. I'm adding 'Let's' above the plate letters and put a little bird to the left. Below this the word lists that we create and charts that we do in Writer's Workshop will be displayed, making it easy for the kids to see and easy to find words to spell.

Accomplished: Cubbies! Wow what a job!

Accomplished: Placing my paper sorter...aren't these three baskets pretty? I found them in the clearance section of Michaels. I love a good deal!

And the last thing I did was change the border on the back board. I just wasn't feeling the black polka dots. I think it looks much better now, don't you?