Saturday, August 13, 2016

Crayon Bulletin Board


After posting my classroom reveal I had tons of questions about how I created my crayon bulletin board! Well… this is the place to come for details!

I was originally inspired by this pin and loved the way the box was created. I then decided that I wanted my bulletin board to be more 3-dimensional so I grabbed some construction paper and played around with it until I got the result I was looking for.

To make the box, I used a shipping box that my wobble stools came in. I cut the semicircle with scissors. I then covered the box with yellow construction paper. I just used glue sticks and tape. I folded it like a present and attached the green flap at the top. I glued on the green triangle shapes and used a marker to create the green lines. I then used push pins (lots of them!) to attach it to my bulletin board.

To make the crayons I took different shades of construction paper and rolled them into cylinders. I taped them lengthwise. I created crayon name labels with my students' names and glued them onto the outside of the cylinders.

I then needed to make a cone shape for the crayon points. I cut a square (approx. 8x8") and twisted it into the cone and taped it together. I then trimmed the bottom so it was flat.

Before attaching the cone to the cylinder, I stapled the crayon to the wall. I stapled the inside of both sides of the cylinder to the wall. I then attached the cone to my desired side of the crayon.

To attach the cone to the cylinder, I placed two tape loops (sometimes 3) inside the cylinder. I then wedged the cone inside the cylinder.

Stay tuned for a video tutorial!

If you are interested in the crayon labels you can download them here.

Happy bulletin board Creating!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Classroom Reveal 2016




I can't believe my new group of little ones will be in my classroom on Monday! The summer went by quickly but it was very relaxing and enjoyable. I spent the last few weeks in my classroom preparing for my new group of kiddos and I have my classroom all ready for them! It is always so much work, but it is well worth it!

 The biggest change to my classroom this year is the addition of new tables! I had groups of desks before and I already LOVE the tables so much more. They work better for my flexible seating options and it really opens up the room and gives us more space. Check out the photos of my classroom reveal below!

This is my cute bulletin board! It was hard work but it came out better than I had expected. The crayon box is a shipping box that my wobble stools came in and the crayons are just rolled up construction paper! I hope this bulletin board makes my students feel welcome on the first day! The inspiration came from this Pinterest pin.

This is the front of my room and carpet area. 

 Because we are a flexible seating classroom, we share all school supplies. My students do need storage for writing journals and work folders. These rainbow drawers were perfect for this task!

This is the front corner of my room. My calendar is to the right with white board supplies below. I have cardboard book boxes for my students to keep their books selected from our classroom library. The blue board is my Daily 5 chart. 

 This is a perspective of the classroom from my low table. You can see my new tables and flexible seating options I added for the year.

 This is my SWAG tag display. Students will earn tags for behavior choices, academic goals, and for displaying character traits. We will celebrate and wear them on Fridays. I purchased the cutest brag tag packs and I made a few of my own. To find out more about brag tags click here.

 This is my standing table that students will be able to choose to use for various activities.

This is photo of my community supplies found on my tables. All supplies are shared and there are many supply stations around the room for convenience. 

This is my classroom library. The only new part of this area are the cute red chairs from target and I purchased new book bins from Big Lots.

I am moving away from center rotations this year and I will be implementing The Daily 5 (although a non-rotation version) This is the chart that will help keep us organized and on the right track.

 I have two new wobble stools for my students this year! I am hoping to get more through my Donor's Choose project. They fit so nicely under the round tables and I know my students will love them.

This is my Welcome Book that I created for my students. It is a coloring book introducing myself and our year we will have in first grade. I think they are going to love coming into school on the first day and working on their new book.

 This is my collaborative conversations wall. The posters have been so helpful for guiding my students with having effective collaborative conversations. You can check them out here.

 I made new clip charts this year. I needed a new Daily 5 chart, and I wanted to spruce up my old 5 year old clip chart.

This is where my SWAG tags will be stored. I will tell the students when they have earned a card, and they will grab it out of the plastic box. Thank you to Angie from Lucky Little Learners for the great idea!

If you want to find out more about Flexible Seating you can check out some posts here.

I hope you have enjoyed the tour of my classroom! If you have any questions leave them in the comments below! Here's to a wonderful year! :)

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

"All About Me" Ideas for the First Week of School!


I am so excited to introduce two new products that will be perfect for Back-to-School! I have used "All About Me" books in the past as a way to get to know my students and provide them with some independent work for the first week of school. The books were very fun and engaging, but they always went home with the students and we didn't share or celebrate them. I created two different hanging posters that will accomplish that goal! Not only will students be able to share their favorite things with the teacher and their classmates, but it can be a decorative part of the classroom and allow for the practice of speaking and listening skills if students are given the opportunity to share them with the class.

Check out my Folding Hanging Poster and my Cube Poster!



Check out the video tutorials for each product below!

Folding Hanging Poster


Cube Poster Tutorial

Spinning Cube Poster Video

I am planning on having older kids, or a parent volunteer help with the creating of the posters for my first grade kiddos, but I have made these with 2nd graders and they were able to do the folding and gluing independently. If you are interested in the Foldable All About Me Hanging Poster visit my store here! If you are interested in the Cube Poster visit my link here!

Now I must decide which All About Me Posters I will have my kiddos complete this year! :)


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Sunday, July 3, 2016

How Flexible Seating Transformed my Classroom

I am excited to announce that Teachers Pay Teachers featured my Flexible Seating blog post on their blog! Check it out here!



Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Flexible Seating Procedures


I have been asked by many readers how I set up my flexible seating. I wanted to share my plans and procedures for implementing our seating plan for the start of the next school year. This differs slightly from how I implemented flexible seating in the past, because last year I started the plan in January.  I have planned and mapped out my procedures and I hope you will find the following information helpful! You can download the procedures and resources for free in my TpT store.

First things first... many teachers asked if the seating should be rolled out slowly or all at once. In the past I rolled it out slowly (basically when I purchased something and brought it in, we used it). So items came into the classroom in stages. This led to the novelty effect. The newest choice was always the most popular and it took time for me, and the students, to discover which seating was a best fit for the student, and/or activity. For the coming school year I will implement all of the choices within the first few days.

Expectations Anchor Chart

Before school begins, I will make sure to have my Flexible Seating Chart hung up and ready. I refer to this chart EACH and EVERY time the students select a seat (which means multiple times a day). Not until I know the students are very capable of following the expectations, do I skip this part.

Here is a printed version.  The hand drawn version of the expectations chart is below...


Preparing the Room


 I then make sure I have all of my seating ready for my students. I think about the ease of moving around the room. I consider the best spots for yoga balls, low tables, etc. For more information on the specific seating I use in my classroom check out the Flexible Seating Tab to check out my previous posts. I prepare caddies and pencil jars so each workspace has easily accessible supplies. I am a firm believer in no time wasted, and having a plan in place for supplies is key! I use community supplies in my classroom. Not only does it work better for flexible seating, but it also can help students with taking responsibility and problem solving skills. 

For the few personal items my students need (writing journal, work folder, interactive notebook, etc.) I have used bins in the past. I used my carpet rows as my classroom groups, and put 4 group bins around the classroom to avoid traffic jams. I ran into a few problems with this. The first problem being some of my little lovelies did not put papers in the folders neatly. Although it was a cosmetic problem, I didn't like seeing the papers hanging out of the folders. The other problem was the bins would tip over occasionally. I have decided to implement a plastic drawer system in its place this year. This way it will look neater and stay more organized.

I will have 6-8 drawer bins around the classroom. The drawers will be labeled with each student's name. It will house their folders, journals, and maybe a box of crayons. As soon as I find the bins I am envisioning I will post a picture. 

UPDATE… I found them! I purchased three drawer towers that fit my colorful classroom perfectly. Each child will get a drawer and it will be labeled with their name. They came from OfficeMax and I think they are perfect! 

Planning Out Procedures

I created a list of procedures to teach starting from Day 1. Check them out below. Remember, you can download these resources for free from my store

"Model, student example, non-example, example" is how I usually teach any procedure. I show the students the correct way to work in the spot. Then I pick a student model the correct way, then show us the wrong way (this usually gets very silly, but the students are engaged), then the student fixes the problems and shows us the correct way to use the workspace again. Based on time available, you can pick an additional student, or a group of students to repeat the procedure. 

Unwritten "rules" are expectations that need to be taught explicitly. Most of these unwritten rules came about through trial and error as we rolled it out last year. 

Where it says "chart" I will take an opportunity to make a quick chart for each seating area once we have discussed the workspace and modeled the expectations. The students will help brainstorm how working in that particular space will look. Try to avoid "no" statements as always. :) For example write "small bounces" instead of "no big bounces" on the yoga balls.  

This procedures list may look daunting, but the more time spent carefully and explicitly teaching these procedures, the less time you will have to take to correct behavior later! TRUST ME! :)





I also have a Procedures tips page with helpful information included. Check it out below!


Stamina 

The next step is building stamina. Perfect practice makes perfect!


With my class I will start with the one minute increment stamina chart to 20 minutes. Some classes may prefer the 40 minute version.


As we are learning the procedures, one activity I will have my students complete is this flexible seating mini book. It will be great for reviewing the expectations while the students are seated in workspaces. It works as a "double-duty" assignment!


Make sure to grab all of the recourses here!

If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below. I would love to hear how your flexible seating preparations are going!

To see flexible seating in action check out my Classroom Website here.

Happy Teaching!


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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sentence Fluency Phonics Strips



I am so excited to share a new resource with you! Phonics is such a huge part of first grade reading instruction. I use phonics strips to reinforce my phonics instruction and my students this past year did a great job of learning the phonics skills with the help of the phonics strips. I noticed that I needed a bridge from the phonics strips to reading fluently within text, so I created Sentence Fluency Phonics Strips!

These strips utilize our weekly phonics pattern AND first grade sight words! So not only will my students be working on the phonics pattern of the week, they will also practice their sight words and fluency at the same time. I believe this resource will be very helpful as a bridge from phonics to text reading.


I have included 24 different phonics skills (270 sentence phonics strips) including a kindergarten review ring (short vowel and kindergarten sight words). Blends, digraphs, long vowels, inflectional endings, variant vowels, and other phonics skills are included in the pack. I anticipate using the rings for guided reading groups, independent reading practice, timed fluency, and intervention. You can check them out here!