Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Peak Into My Classroom

I have decided to show you a little bit of my classroom.  You will notice that I have a few lamps.  I actually have a total of eight.  Research shows that this type of lighting is better for learning.  I have used lamps in my classroom for about six years, and I don't think that I will ever go without them.  The lighting is soft, the kids love it, and on top of all that it feels like home!

 1.  My handy-dandy easel on wheels!  I had to share this one, because my husband made this for me.  I have to applaud him, because he is always willing to contribute to my quirky ideas. 

2.  I added this shelf to the front of my room this year to keep things accessible.  My students and I spend a lot of time on the carpet.  On this shelf, you will find sharpened pencils ready for those who forgot one, a stapler and tape for attaching items in our notebooks, chart markers, a drawer for sticky notes and clothes pins, and about anything else you can imagine.  I'm loving it!

I just got brand new tables for my classroom.  I am so excited about this!  I decided to go with square to accomodate the size of my room.

3.  In the middle of each table I have a caddy that contains easy to access supplies.  Each caddy has a box of crayons, markers, and colored pencils.  They also have scissors, tape, glue, and post-its.  Under the caddy, students stack their marker boards.  I am pretty impressed with how my class is keeping everything all nice and neat.  These pictures were taken after they left for the day!

4.  I spent quite some time making these chair pockets over the summer.  They are very handy, but I suggest using fabric that is highly durable.  I simply used sheets, but I have spent a lot of time lately taking them home and fixing them. Next time I will know better!

 4.  Here is my ugly file cabinet with a twist.  I use this for Writing Workshop.  I have each student's name laminated with a magnet attached.  Students can easily move their name to where they are in the writing process.
 5.  This year I am implementing select parts of Whole Brain Teaching.  There are five classroom rules that are a part of their classroom management, but I have chosen to implement only three.  The rules that I have for my classroom are:  follow directions quickly, make smart choices, and keep your dear teacher happy :)!

6.  Our school uses Four Blocks.  Below my SmartBoard you will find my Nifty Thrify Fifty in the making.  We will add words to it weekly where we will study prefixes, suffixes, and roots.
 7.  This is our Math Wall where vocabulary and helpful hints are available for students to access.  We add to it as new concepts are introduced.

8.  When students are finished with work, they refer to the Choice Board.  It is simply a large version of a tic tac toe choice grid. 

9.  We have started adding locations to our "Reading Take Us Places" board.  I got this idea from Beth Newingham's third grade site.  I have changed it a little and am only adding places that we come across as we read together.  My goal is to expand it to students' individual reading like the original idea.

Another exciting thing for my classroom this year!  I spent some time sorting my books by genre.  I got these great baskets at the Dollar Tree.  They are perfect for my reading center.  You will see all my textbooks on the bottom shelf.  That is where they stay 99% of the year!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Reviewing Expectations and Procedures

Many of us are starting to get back into the swing of things, but one thing that can't be overlooked is creating a solid foundation through our expectations and procedures.  At the very beginning of the year, I introduce cooperative learning strategies, first for fun then with content.  After a week back to class my students are now familiar with Write 'n' Pass.  Write 'n' Pass is a great way to review those expectations and procedures.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Choice Board

A choice board is a tool that ensures students incorporate a range of multiple intelligences, and/or learning preferences.  This is an example of a choice board that I am displaying in my class.  I have made it so that I can change out activities as needed.  Each subject is color coded so that students can easily locate what they want to complete.

 The Choice Board has been one of my most popular post.  The Choice Board is something that my students and I both love.  As a result of many inquiries, I have created this product and improved upon what I have used in the classroom.  I have included 9 weeks worth of activities and will soon be adding another installment. 

You can find out more about The Choice Board HERE in my TpT store. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

A new school year is quickly upon us. Although I think I ask myself this question every year I'm asking it again, where did summer go? I have been working in my room for the past two weeks to get everything ready for my new students, and tonight is the night that I meet them one-by-one! I'm excited and maybe a tid bit nervous, but most importantly I'm ready.

After much thought and changing from last year, here is the handbook that I will pass out to my students tonight. Off to a new school year we go!

2011-2012 4th Grade Handbook

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Find Someone Who Bingo

Do you need a back to school classbuilding activity? Here is a get acquainted Find A Buddy Who with a Bingo twist!

Click HERE to download.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Hat

The Hat is a great tool for radomly selecting students. SmartNotebook has a couple of alternatives, but I like this one because it remains an icon on your desktop that you don't have to open a file to access everytime you need it.