Thursday, July 30, 2015

Bulletin Boards {ready for the new year}

Now that everyone is thinking Back to School, I thought I would share my bulletin boards that I am prepping for the new year.  I keep them up during the summer! So glad my school lets us do that.  It saves so much time when we head back to school.  I haven't changed the board itself, just got it ready for my new class. 

On the outside of my room is one of the boards that I hang student work.  I used fabric for the back and scrapbook paper and clothes pins to hang the work on.  

Click HERE to see my tutorial on how to make tulle poms.

This is just a fun board that I have right when you walk into my room.  I hang pictures of my class that I take throughout the year.  The pictures on there now are from last year. I didn't want to have it completely blank, but after I get a few pictures of my new class I will change out the pictures. 

This is where I put my students library cards.  I give each of my students a number at the beginning of the year.  That is how they determine which pocket is for their card.  My school has open library time everyday where they can go the library by themselves so I wanted them to be able to just grab their card and go.

With the phonics program we use at my school there are rule cards, sound cards, picture cards, etc.  My phonics wall is where I post those after they are taught.  

I use this space for my guided math rotations.  I use THESE printables.  I simply glue their picture on the circles so they know what group they are in and use a powerpoint to rotate the stations.

I use this space for my daily 5 rotations. I simply glue their picture to a jumbo Popsicle stick and place one in each pocket. The station cards are on velcro so I can easily rotate them.  And if I need to change a group up, I simply just move their Popsicle stick.

This is my reading wall. 
{Have no clue where the letter G went.}

This is just a resource for my students while they are working.  If they are spelling and need help with something that has already been taught.  The cards came from HERE

One of my favorite things to put up is student work.  I put work and themed boards up here.  It will be  blank until the first week and my new firsties are here to start creating! 

Below the green board is my writer's workshop board.  You can read more about that HERE!

My word wall is kept across my cabinets.  The only words that I have on the beginning of the year are color words.  The first week we will add our names and then move to sight words as they are introduced. 

I use this space for my weekly objectives.  You can read more about that HERE!
This is where I post my students birthdays.  The first week I will get their picture and post it by the month of which they celebrate their birthday.  They love looking at it and get so excited when a friends birthday is coming up! 

Don't forget at TPT's big BACK TO SCHOOL sale going on August 3rd and 4th! My entire {growing} store is 20% off!!! Click HERE to visit my store! 

Here are just a few items I have in my SHOP!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Learning Objectives

I know posting learning objectives are nothing new, but for the last couple of years it wasn't a "have to". Until now! I knew when we learned that we would have to post our learning objectives I wanted to have them easily accessible, I didn't want to have to write a ton and I wanted them student friendly.  Vague enough where I wasn't changing them constantly, but focused! 

My white board and smartboard is something I use ALL. THE. TIME so I knew I didn't want to cover that up or use space on it with my objectives, so I had to change some wall space to make room for my objectives.  

I have used dry erase pockets for others things in my room and decided they would be great for putting my objective cards in.  

I found this wonderful template HERE! Love her stuff! I just purchased her template and then typed in my objectives for the year on different slides in powerpoint.  Print. And Viola!! 

I made them for the year and labeled them with the corresponding week that I will be teaching that topic so I could just grab it, slide it in and go!

I just put them in file folders for each subject in order that I will be using them. 

Now they are ready to go for the year!!! 

Another thing checked off my list... 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Writer's Toolkits

I must admit I used to not like teaching writing.  *gasp* I did it and I did it the best I could, but I knew there was always a better way.  After several years I realized it wasn't my lessons that were causing the issue, it was the way I organized my writer's workshop supplies.  I was fortunate enough to work with one of the most sweetest people on the planet my first couple of years, who also so happened to be a phenomenal writing teacher.  Lucky me!! I remember always wanting to watch her teach writing and I was always picking her brain for her writing ideas.  From her came my "writer's toolkits"

Writing toolkits are just a way I organize my students writer's workshop supplies. 

My toolkits are simply magazine holders from IKEA (5 for $2).  All of my students are assigned a number at the beginning of the year.  I label things in my classroom with that number for a couple of reasons... 1.  I can reuse them year after year. 2. If someone moves and I get a new student I don't have to change pictures or names, I just slide them in to that spot.  Makes my life way easier during the year. 

I have my students keep their toolkits on a shelf, that way they are easily accessible.  They can go grab them after my mini-lesson during writing or they may use these during Work on Writing during Daily 5.  Also like that my students can take their toolkit and write anywhere in the room and they will have everything they need with them. 

Inside my toolkits--- I keep a folder (which they keep the piece they are publishing in there along with writing paper), their composition book (which is used for pre-writing and drafting).  A spell check page which came from a spelling resource a couple years back and then a phonics dictionary resource that came with our phonics program and a nice sharpened pencil (so they are ready to write).   Through out the year they add things to their toolkits, i.e. mini anchor charts from mini-lesson, thematic vocabulary words, etc. 

I like that everything is together and organized, but not shoved in their desk. 

My writing bulletin board:  I use this as a way of keeping track of where my students are in the writing process.  Now, the process doesn't necessarily go in this order every time and many of my students bounce back and fourth from one stage to the other.  

I take and print all of my students pictures and glue them on jumbo popsicle sticks.  It takes several weeks, months to teach the entire process, but I like for my students to "publish" a story at least once a 6 weeks.  

They simple place their picture in the pocket of the stage they are at.  Either pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing or publishing.  So as I am conferencing with students during writer's workshop I can easily look up at the bulletin board and know where each of my students are in regards to their writing piece.  For example, if Johnny's picture is at pre-wrting I know he is drawing or making a bubble map, etc, and if Sally's picture is at editing I know I want to conference with her before Johnny because that is a more difficult task for them and I will need to get her started.  Hope that makes sense.  


(The pieces around my pockets are from HERE)

Does this take a lot of modeling and practice?!? YES!!! But after they get the hang of it, it's good as gold.  
Writing went from being my most dreaded time of the day to my favorite!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Staying Organized...Take Home Notebooks

My students are responsible for bringing 2 things to and from school during the week.  Their take home notebook and their reading folder.  These 2 things are my way of keeping my students organized and also staying in touch with their parents, whether it be grades, work or behavior.

Take Home Notebook:
I use 1/2 inch binders.  These are not on their school supply list so I purchase these every summer at SAMs.  These are used for notes, homework and their planner

When they arrive in the mornings they unload lunch money, signed notes, etc. and put them in my dropbox (just a basket on my table) and then place their notebooks on the entry shelf in number order.  It is an easy way for me to see who is here or not and keeps them from having to put it in their desk and take up space. 

I simply put labels on both of the pockets.


I have my students keep all important notes and newsletters in the front pocket.  This is for any notes from the office, myself and my weekly newsletter I send home on Mondays. It just gives them a peek into our week.  

The back pocket is for homework.  My students have spelling and math homework Monday - Thursday and short reading (which is kept in their guided reading folders).  

In the rings they keep their planner.  The planners are paid for through the schools supply fee that is collected at the beginning of the year.  Not all teachers use them so if a teacher wants them they are bought with her classroom supply fee money, which can also be used for construction paper ect.  A class set runs about $75.00.  

This is where we write down important reminders, parent notes, i.e Book fair tomorrow! and behavior log.  I like it because it's all in one place.  

Each of my students is given a number at the beginning of the year.  It main purpose is to help us line up in line order, but we also put our things away (notebooks, writer's toolkits) in order. 
I write the number on the side and use a die-cut to write their name on to place in the front sleeve.  I've tried different things over the years and this has worked the best for us! 

On Friday's my students take home their "Friday folder"  This is just a colored file folder that they keep in their desk.  As I give out graded work or they finish things I want them to take home and not turn in they will slide it into their "Friday Folder". I grade things the same day they turn them in.  It helps with feedback and it keeps me from having a stack of papers to grade on the weekend.  That is one thing I do before I leave school.  Has made my life so much easier.  It also keeps me from having a stack of papers to hand out and their parents receive their work each week so they can see how they are doing, but it doesn't make their take home notebook messy. They take them home on Friday's and returned emptied the following Monday.  

Their reading folder is kept separate because I like for them to turn these in and bring them to my guided reading table when they come during Daily 5 time.  I like to check reading logs, change out vocabulary or sight words that child might be working on, etc.  At one time, I put their take home book and reading log with their notes and things, but it got to clunky when they would bring it to my table and one folder really wasn't big enough for all that I wanted them to use it for.  I will be back later with how I organize their reading folders. 

Organization is my thing! I can't function without it and nothing makes me happier than organized students! I would love to hear how you organize your take home notebooks or what you use! Please leave me comment!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Student Birthday Gifts

I wanted to get ahead this summer to make my life easier during the school year, because the Laymance schedule is about to get crazy with daddy's high school football coaching schedule.
In years past, my kids have always been a fan of sunglasses.  They are always the first to go when they spend their earned behavior tickets, so I knew I wanted to incorporate them when I was making their birthday gifts this year.  

I went with these glasses from oriental trading.  

Completely trendy aaannndd glow in the dark! Yes, please!

 CLICK HERE to get the printable tag! 

What do you do for birthdays in your class??  I love for you to leave a comment about what you do.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!

And for fun... A picture of my sweet girl!