2016-2017 Classroom Tour




Ok y'all, it was a busy year and I have finally taken the time to post some photos of my classroom  and links to the fun stuff!

Here it is...the stage! Good news, my next post will be centered around how I made this beauty!




This stage is so special to us. I teacher from this stage. The students teach from this stage. We present our work from this stage. We retell our reading from this stage. This was the best decision I made this last school year. IT was worth the elbow grease!

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Chair






Here's one side of my classroom library. I include leveled readers in my library as well as interest-directed books.

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Rug

Chairs

Book Bins and Clip Boards - Really Good Stuff


This is the most whimsical part of our classroom. We call this our "dream tree" because we added our photos and our goals and dreams to it throughout the year.

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Tree

Pillow

Decor



Here's a look at my small group space! We love our color coordinated circles and stools. I ordered the circles from Etsy and got the stools from Five Below and Family Dollar last year. The circles adhere to the table and are perfect for writing on with a dry erase marker. 

You can also find similar stools through Amazon:

This is the first year that I implemented brag tags in my classroom. Students earn brag tags for achieving goals, good behavior and a number of other things. They collect them on a necklace and get to wear their necklaces on Fridays!

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Here is our cubby space and also my own organization space. I do not have a teacher desk, so this area keeps my life together. The baskets are from Really Good Stuff and the sign is from Target.




These two spaces hold our supplies and manipulatives so that they are available for students to access independently. My goal is always to create a classroom environments that promotes student independence, these area make that possible. You can also see our early finisher baskets kept above. I do not use things in my baskets that require tons of time. I usually put file folder games, and familiar workstations in there that students can do independently. 

This pencil bar saved serious sanity this year! You can grab those drawer labels from GlitterandGlue4k2's TpT store! I grabbed those gumboil machines from The Dollar Tree too!

This is the other side of our classroom. This holds our calendar, flexible seating chart, and objectives. 

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Our objectives are typed and adhered using Velcro, to these boards that I spray painted so they are easy to change out!

Here is the flexible seating chart that I used last year to allow my students choice in their seating.  This system worked okay, but this is something I think I will change next year.


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Here's a peek at the border combo I used this year. I loved, loved, loved it! I had a board for each content area and the vocabulary that we had learned.

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I was so in love with these silhouette kids from Schoolgirl Style that I had to have them in my room. I bought the file from her TpT store and traced them using my projector and black paper.



That's all for today! Stay tuned for my next post all about that stage!
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The Big Stage DIY Reveal! (FINALLLLLLY)



Y'all asked, I listened! I finally put together a list of the materials and steps it took for me to make that fun stage in my classroom. Now I didn't take photos when I was actually making it, so I'm doing my best to show you the materials you will need, as well as the tools and the steps for completion.

I've had a lot of questions asking me what the size of my stage is. My stage is 4 feet long and 2 feet wide. This will vary based on how big your classroom is. Work with what you've got, ya know?

Materials:
You can buy all materials at Lowe's or Home Depot, or wherever you prefer to purchase your lumberjack goods.

Here's how it went down...



1. You can find these 2x4 sheets of plywood in various measurements of thickness, depending what you prefer. I would definitely suggest something sturdy if you plan on allowing students and/or adults to stand on it. Making a stage 2 x 4 prevented me from having to cut this piece.

 


2. I purchased one of these long pieces of wood. From what I've seen they usually cost somewhere in the $6-$10 range. I later cut into four pieces:

2 x 4 foot pieces
2 x 2 foot pieces

3. Once all the wood was cut, I lined them up under the plywood to make sure the measurements were correct and it all lined up how I had planned.

4. I used wood screws to screw the plywood to the four pieces on the bottom. Amazon has various options for wood screws, or you can pick those up while you're at Home Depot/Lowe's! Affiliate links below:


5. I then drilled holes through the sides to make space for those beautiful rainbow lights. In the summer you can find them with outdoor decor at most stores.

6. All that's left is to paint it! You can use any kind of paint that you see fit. I painted mine with chalkboard paint so that we could write on it. Affiliate links below:





That's it! It really was pretty inexpensive and just required some elbow grease, but was well worth it. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment, send me an e-mail, or message me on Instagram!



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We're Back with a Subtraction Jam

video

I promised we'd have a follow-up subtraction song and here it is!

Lyrics:

Walk in the classroom and it's time for some learnin'
My teacher said, hey let's talk about subtraction
hey hey hey hey
ok ok
I want you all to subtract now
Go 'head take away
Go 'head take away
Take away, take away, take some away
Subtract, STOP
What do you see?
The number gets smaller
The number gets smaller
Subtract from the group 
Subtract from the group 
Subtract from the group 
Subtract from the group 
Find the difference 
Find the difference 
Find the difference, hey!
That's subtraction, it's easy kids

Have fun!

Our Addition Jam!

I'm happy to see that my blog is still up and running after an 11 month leave of absence. I'm embarrassed! What better way to pick back up than with this fun jam I created to help my students learn addition?! Check it out!



video




It was inspired by the song, "24k Magic," but I used an instrumental version that I found on iTunes.

It goes a little something like this...

Pop pop just show me, show me
Show me how to add
Oh you don't know?
Oh you don't know?
Let me show you how to add.
You take one group, you take one more
Now you combine them
What do you get?
What do you get?
You get the total of two groups.

Put your number in a ten frame, MOVE!
What y'all tryin' to do?
Put two sets together and then adddd
add, add, add
add, add, add

I always make up the movement with my kiddoes so they're more meaningful. :)

My kids had SO MUCH FUN with this! Definitely keep your eyes and ears open for our come back with subtraction. ;)


My Love/Hate Relationship With Sight Words...

Let me dust this thing off real quick and see if I remember how to do this. Seriously, what happened here? Anyway, now that the sounds of crickets have subsided, let's talk sight words.

Dolch.
Fry. 

It doesn't matter what list you use, sometimes it feels like they have become the end-all-be-all to reading.

Last year my kinders had to leave knowing 30/40 words from the preprimer dolch list. This year they have to know 50 words. What does that mean to me? That means that even though 3/4 or more of my students don't know the letters in their name at the beginning of the year, we're introducing sight words to them. Well that's not a huge deal except, do they ever have time to truly master those words before they're moving on to new words?

I'll avoid my rant and complete my thought by saying, yes it can be done. However, I feel that we are seriously losing sight of what is developmentally appropriate for our children. They are capable of so much, but sometimes by doing more, it means they're missing out on another piece. I'm sure any teacher reading this already knows that.

I love sight words. They build the confidence of students. They help them become readers. I love to see the excitement on the faces of my kiddos when they tell me they don't know how to read, then they sit next to me and they independently read a book because they were able to identify the sight words. Sight words are important and valuable.

Dun Dun Dun...

However, I have such a fear that due to the emphasis I have to place on sight words, that my students will become sight word readers. What that means to me is that they completely rely on sight words and don't attempt to decode. To me, this is just something I'm always trying to balance and ensure that I am providing equal exposure to in not only guided reading, but also in writing.

Since I have felt that I have spent a lot of TIME on sight words in the past, I'm gonna share with you two tricks that I use that have made a huge difference in my classroom. Since I've incorporated these two things, I spend less time on sight words daily, but I am confident that my students are learning even more than they were previously.

1. Sight Word Poems

I use one of these poems each week. I introduce the poem during writing (on chart paper) and also send it home to read for homework. We read it everyday to build fluency. All words on the pre-primer and primer dolch word lists are introduced in 33 weeks in these poems. The poems specify the focus words and review words at the bottom.

By the end of the week my students are reading these poems independently and identifying words in isolation from the poem. Oh, and they LOVE them!

These poems have given me a consistent way to introduce words to my students. Consistency is incredibly important.

You can find those sight word poems here.


2. Flashcards

Duh! But wait...there's more. These aren't ordinary sight word flash cards. Each flash card contains a small image in the corner. Why?

The brain learns by making connections. It's easy to make kinesthetic connections, auditory connections, or visual connections. With my sight words I chose to use these visual connections. As I teach new words, I let students see the pictures. Each time they look at the word, they are seeing the picture with it and attaching the image to the word. We talk about the image. Students discuss their connections between the image and the word. Sometimes the connections are easy and logical, sometimes they're silly and creative. Either way, they remember them. What the pictures are isn't as important as students' attraction to them.

Soon after, I begin to cover the image in the corner and students are still able to read the words.
When shown the word on an ordinary flashcard, they can still read it.
When seeing the word in text, students can STILL read it.
I honestly feel that this has immensely cut back on the amount of time is takes my kinders to learn new words. I noticed an even bigger difference in my special education students the last couple years. I had students that were struggling to master 10 sight words, and within weeks they had mastered 30 words.

You can find the pre-primer AND primer sets of these cards in my TPT store here.



Overall, these two tools have helped me make my time teaching sight words more efficient. Therefore, I spend less time drilling them, and more time with decoding and other essential reading skills. Yet, they are learning MORE words.


Oh, and HERE WE GO STEELERS!








CLASSROOM REVEAL 2015!

Welcome! Thanks for stopping by to check out my classroom reveal! I put a lot of thought and time into creating a classroom that I love and that I hope my students love. I have once again planned a set up with student independence in mind. I've kept many of the same things from last year, and added some new things as well. I hope you enjoy!

WARNING: This post is PHOTO HEAVY.




This outside of my room is purple for days and I LOVE it.


I keep this little motivational note on my door for students to see when they enter. The colors this year make me happy.








The pink basket is where I keep materials for write the room and the purple basket is our workstation "turn-in bin."


Our write the room basket is all set with our fall letter quest! 


Here are our classroom piggy banks that I use as one classroom management tool.
The leis are used for my write the room station. Students wear the leis at write the room so I know that they are allowed to be up and moving through the room.


Here is our dismissal chart, word-a-pillar and brownie points management system.


I adore these line-up spots from Really Good Stuff!



My number and alphabet area is the same as last year because let's be honest...no one likes hanging numbers and letters on the wall. Plus those bulletin boards were a lot of work last year so I was happy to get two years out of them. :)


...because who doesn't love superheroes?





I love this space in my classroom. This year I've set up these baskets to hopefully keep me organized and keep papers off of my work spaces. They are labeled for:
Notes From Home
Extra Papers
Papers for Next Week
Paperwork to Sort


The striped box on my desk is my "mailbox." When students write me notes or draw me pictures, they put them in my mailbox so I can look at them and keep them somewhere safe. 


I also keep a picture of myself on my first day of kindergarten on my desk. My kinders always get a kick out of this. 




The seasonal word wall is a new addition this year. I placed it above our writer's desk so students can see how to spell commonly written words for various times of year.


Of course our beloved crayon tubs.







Our classroom library with our beautiful new library chairs thanks to Donors Choose!


These holders are essential to student independence in my classroom. They are labeled with workstation icons and we keep extra recording sheets here. Students know when they run out of papers in their workstation, they come here to get more. All without interrupting my guided reading lesson!


The leveled side of my classroom library. I also keep student interest books as well.


I love that my classroom has so much shelving. This is our supply organization space.





We keep our early finisher tubs organized by table color.



My binder-ize project is complete! I keep the reading binders close at hand incase I need to pull materials for guided reading.


The rest of them are kept on the shelves underneath.


Here is my guided reading space. I display objectives on my PVC anchor chart stand, sound sorts in my blue and pink tool box, and dolch flashcards in the colored boxes.


This is where I keep the other important guided reading materials: slinkies for sounding out words, cars for blending sounds, witch fingers for concepts about print work, etc.




Here is where we keep our literacy workstations. They are marked with the workstation on the basket, as well as on the shelf so students know where to put each basket back. This makes clean-up much easier and makes me a happy teacher.



I will be labeling these boxes with each student's picture. In these, we will keep their workbooks and light materials.


Ok ok, no more pictures. So far, things are running smoothly with our classroom organization. Hopefully it only gets easier from here. Happy school year, everyone!