Sunday, September 4, 2016

Classroom Reveal and Open House Set-Up

I have spent two days with my new group of first graders and so far...I.AM.IN.LOVE!!  I can just tell already, this is going to be an amazing, enjoyable, and fun year of learning and growth.

So since we are two days into the school year, I figure I'd share how our classroom came out.  It looks mostly the same as last school year, with some changes based on things I did not like last year.

Most people describe our classroom as "colorful."  Yup, that it is.

classroom jobs display

These numbered tubs used to be filled with sponge activities that were geared toward Kindergarten-aged students (think fine motor skill-type activities).  This summer, I switched them to sponge activities that are specific to word work for my first grade students.

My students put a popsicle stick in their pocket each time they leave for the bathroom.  This just helps me keep track in case any student seems to be leaving our classroom a lot.  It happens, of course...sometimes for medical reasons that I am able to bring to the attention of the parent.  Sometimes for other reasons that I need to discuss with the child.

I'm so excited about the way I repurposed that shoe rack (underneath the blue storage unit).  The shoe rack was in my garage (unused) and it was headed to Goodwill, then I thought maybe I could use it in my classroom.  I found the perfect spot!  Last year, I couldn't stand squatting down in my high heels to change the chargers.  Now I don't have to squat down anymore.  It's the little things in life.  :)

Our photo timeline used to be way up on a wall.  I literally had to climb a step ladder to get up there and hang our photos.  And the students couldn't really see the pictures after they were hung.  So I rearranged some things on our chalkboard and moved the timeline down.  Much better.

I moved our Writers Workshop folders out of the Writing Center.  Last year, our transitions took too long and the Writing Center was always so congested with lots of kids just waiting in line.  My hope is that relocating the writing folders will help.  That way, my students are only going to the Writing Center for extra paper, the stapler, clipboards, etc.

Our classroom library had the biggest change this summer.  I combined our classroom and take-home books...and just expanded the area so that more students could book shop at the same time (without stepping on each other).

Those file cabinets used to be shoved against a wall.  I used gray and white chevron contact paper to make them look cute and then moved them into our classroom library to create a reading nook.

I meant to attach these labels to the student tables all last year and never got around to it.  I finally got them down this summer.  I am using these labels for talking partners when the students are seated at their tables.  I'm also using these in place of our Table Captain cones this year.

The document needed to make this Super Improvers Wall is a freebie in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, in case you're interested.

Our featured mentor authors will rotate based on our writing units.  We are starting the year with Ezra Jack Keats.  If you have any suggestions for other small moment narrative mentor authors, I'd LOVE to hear them!

Writing Center

We are going to try out this clip chart to keep track of word work this year.  Last school year, I kept track of everything in my lesson was SO burdensome.  I'm holding the students responsible for keeping track of what they need and what they are doing.

Eeeek!  We now have SitSpots for lining up, too!  Last year, I used painters tape to show the kids where to line up, but there were a couple of problems: 1) when I needed to rearrange their line order, it was a pain in the butt and 2) after a few months, the tape just got yucky.  SitSpots to the rescue!  If you are not familiar with SitSpots, be sure to check them out HERE!  They will even send you a freebie to see if the SitSpots work on your classroom carpet.

I just have to give another big THANK YOU and shout-out to Joyce and her SitSpot team because they donated some of their goodies and coupons to our Wisconsin Teacher Blogger Meet-Up.  You guys rock!

The remainder of the photos are Open House set-up.

Donation Tree

How that for a photo dump!?  If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to send 'em my way!

Thanks for stopping by!  :)