Sunday, July 28, 2013

Gearing Up for an Amazing Year!

School season is in full swing. There's just something about going to stores and seeing the out that gets me all kinds of excited! Don't get me wrong: I love me some good ol' fun in the sun, but I cannot help myself when the new school supplies hit the shelves! It doesn't matter if it's simply buying a new notebook or several items...I absolutely, positively CANNOT pass through a store and not buy SOMETHING. It's kind of a problem, but hey, it makes me happy:)

I took a few pictures of my classroom to share as I gear up for the new year and Meet the Teacher Night. My class list won't officially be ready until later this week, but I'm planning on about 23 or 24 students to start the year. Much like many of you, it seems like every time I take one thing off the list, I add 3-5 more. That's just the way it.goes, right?!

As I get more done, I'll post more pictures!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Organization Station!

I chose a section in the back of my room to serve as my students' organization station. This was an area that I have been SO excited to set up, as my previous classroom had virtually no spots to do this in. So far I have reused and repurposed miscellaneous containers (including old Tupperware and Clorox wipe containers) to create the space. The crayons (far left) are stored in 2 clear boxes that can easily picked up for groups to use if needed or storage for those lost crayons we tend to find at the end of a busy day. ;)

This station is set up for students to be able to grab markers, crayons, colored pencils, glue, erasers,  scissors, rulers, highlighters, or dry erase markers quickly without disrupting the class or asking me for the item he/she needs. My helpers of the week will be in charge of sharpening pencils and making sure the entire station is tidy and ready to go each day. This gives my students a chance to be more independent and clears me of being interrupted in the middle of a lesson!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Desk Drawer Organization!

I am in the midst of tackling my desk and its functionality. I FINALLY got my drawers organized in a way that I can easily keep track of office supplies and items I use on a regular basis. Here is a picture of one of my top drawers, which features three tuna cans to hold rubber bands, tacks, and brads (yes, I cleaned them thoroughly of course! I don't even like tuna!! Thanks to Laissezfaire for the tip!)) I keep my extra staples, staple remover, poster markers, district copy slips, tape rolls, whiteout, and push pins here. Each item has a spot of its own. I'm ashamed to say that my drawer didn't look anything like this for the past two years, and it ALWAYS drove me crazy. Better late than never to do something about it!

What I really try to do when I'm organizing a space is look around and reuse or repurpose containers that I already have. You can see down below that the magnet holder box is simply an old sidewalk chalk container, and the clothespins were stored in a basket I had that I wasn't using.

The next picture shows another one of my drawers, where I store clothespins and various cards. It's important to keep thank you notes or blank cards handy when a co-worker or student does something nice or gives you a gift. I absolutely love my colorful cards as well as my W cards. These come in super handy throughout the year!!

Now onto more organizing for the rest of my desk:) I'll be posting more pics of my tricks and tips for the spaces I organize next!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

OWL Binders!

So I've been seeing ADORABLE binder covers all of over the place, and I was just getting ready to print myself off some binder covers when I looked around and saw some extra owls amd scrapbook paper I had on my bookshelf. It was then that it dawned on me that I should just whip my Cricut machine out and make my own! It took only a few minutes before these were thrown together.

I made binders for Student Information, Common Core, Student Data, and Substitute Teacher. I need to get a couple more made for Homework copies, Green Team, STUCO, amd Parent Communication, but this is a start!

I'm linking up with Teaching Heart!
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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Daily 5 I-Pick Owl Cart!

I finally finished the cart for students to store their books. I cut super sturdy cardboard into pieces and then used fun-colored duct tape to finish the look. Finally I tested out my creation, and it works splendidly! This should be a nice addition to my classroom and will hopefully create more space in students' desks.

I also added the I-PICK chart shown below to the side of my cart:)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

We're OWL Excited for 3rd Grade!

Here is the bulletin board featured in the hallway outside my classroom. The letters show up better when you're actually in person, but after looking at it here, I might trace it with a black marker to help them stand out better. For now, this is what it is:) I made a "moon" (hopefully you can tell it's a moon?). When I first put it up and stepped back to take a look, I noticed that my "craters" looked a little like a pizza topping. Maybe I was just getting hungry... oh well! It is what it is!

I originally thought that I could/should make a tree here in the middle, but then I figured that I probably do not have the artistic talent to do that, so I scrapped that idea. It probably would have looked funky anyway with trying to put long tree branches across the sides. That's when I decided on the moon. Owls and moons just seemed to go together. :) Maybe, maybe not, but I went with it.

Note: While trying to staple the ends around this circular beast of a bulletin board, I accidentally put a staple in my thumb. Yes. You read that right... Yowzas! I'm still not really sure how this happened, but one moment I was stapling away and the next I was staring down at this staple stuck right in my thumb. I calmly removed said staple and decided to be a bit more careful as I completed this project. Do be careful out there, fellow staple-happy friends! It's a dangerous job...but somebody's gotta do it!
 I took a chunk of brown paper and cut it into four pieces. Then, with each piece, I lightly crumpled it and stapled it up. I like that it sticks out a little bit, but I have to admit: I've never done tree branches before, but I think they turned out okay. It only took a couple of minutes, so I was a big fan of that!

Finally I added the cute owls to perch on the branches. I am waiting to put my students' names on the owls until my final FINAL class list comes out, but I can easily write them on.

I only put borders on the tops and bottoms because I liked the more "open" feel. I think it would have looked funky for this particular bulletin board to be closed up on the sides.

That's one more thing checked off the list!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Owl Reading Cart

I'm pretty excited because the librarian at our school offered up this wonderful book cart that rolls up free for the first taker. Luckily I was the winner! Here is what I am planning to do with it. First, I took off any old labels that were on it. Then I added these adorable reading owls to it (numbered 1-24). The cart has an identical backside, so that's where the other owls are at. As we have students select their 3-5 books to have on hand at all times for Daily 5, I thought What better place to have my students store their books than on this super handy cart?!! This will help keep my books from being damaged in their desks, and they all have a designated space for storing their books.

I am going to add a piece of cardboard in between each owl to help divide each student's space. When I get that done, I'll post new pictures so you can see the end result!

This is another item that I added to my cart:
Since my students will be able to see any books that other students have "checked out" from my library, I made several of these owl notes (laminated). They say "Please! I noticed you have a book I'd like to check out. When you're done, please see # ___" Disclaimer: I haven't tried this system out yet, but the hope is students will feel like they have a chance at the book they've had their eye on for a while.

Students will write their number on the line with dry-erase marker and stick it in or underneath the book they would like to read next. We'll see how this little experiment goes, but I thought Why not? We have to request holds on books we want from a local library, so why not place a "hold" on a classroom book?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Read Owl about it!

Here are some more pictures of my room! The picture above will be my newsletter and important upcoming events board. It's not done yet, but it's right next to my whiteboard at the front of the room. This makes it handy to refer to and is also nice if students need an extra copy of something they know where to find it. I put everything here that might be coming up: book fairs, field trips, important announcements, etc..

This is one of the first OWL items that I bought:) I loved it then, and I still love it now!

The picture shown above is a sneak peak as to what the area above my desk looks like. I still have to add student birthdays in, but I'm waiting for my lamination to come back for that. :) I chose to put the calendar in this area as well because I know I refer to it a lot too so it's in a handy spot for us all! I hung the tissue paper flowers (green, yellow, and purple) in the upper corner because they add a fun element to the room.

My math bulletin board in not yet complete, but here is a sneak peek into what it currently looks like. The posters feature key words for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. I also put a hundreds chart in because we use those A LOT at the beginning of the year. This particular chart is funy to me because it is actually surrounded by planets. Whomever I got this from was really into space, which DEFINITELY does not go with my owl theme. Instead of getting a new hundreds chart, I simply added owl border around it. Ta-da! It's like magic! I found the pink measuring chart from Hobby Lobby. I know it's supposed to go in a little girl's room, but for now, I thought it would be fun to have students record their heights (it's starts at 20 inches) throughout the year.
My Reading bulletin board is simple yet usable. I stapled my chart paper to the board because we use it quite frequently when working on different indicators, so it's at a handy height for me to reach and write on as well as visible for my students. Also, the lower chart is a Character Traits poster that is added to each week based on the characters featured on in our weekly stories.

There will be more pictures posted as I continue to set up my room!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Incorporating Owls into the Daily 5!

We are officially half way through with summer, which means my thoughts are turning more and more back towards school. With that being the case, I usually spend one day a week up at school decorating and working on things in my room. I know once school begins there won't be much time to try some of the cute things all over Pinterest. I'm trying to get things nice and organized before the craziness starts back up!

The picture shown above is the newest picture of my classroom (from my door, showing the back of the room). My sister and niece bought me the owl decorations hanging above each group. They are actually wind spinners, but they were the perfect find for my room! I love them!

This is a picture of what will be my guided reading and Daily 5 system. My school started the Daily 5 (more like Daily 3 because we only incorporated Work on Writing, Read to Self, and Read to Someone). This year we are going to focus on using the Daily 5 within our guided reading program. I will have four groups (OWLS), and the chart helps to show what time and which activity my little owls are to be participating in. I used my Cricut to help make the letters, and in order to fit them onto my small owls, I had to shorten some of the titles. Here is what I made:
-Mrs. W (guided reading groups to meet with me)
- Wow (Work on Writing)
-Self (Read to Self)
-Someone (Read to Someone)
-abc (Word Work)
I am not planning on utilzing the Listen to Reading because I don't have the tools necessary to do so at this time. Maybe that's something I can add in the future. For now, I will proceed with the Daily 4 + guided reading. :)