Monday, September 8, 2014

Things I've Learned

Happy Monday!
Teacher Humor
Another week begins, and I'm really excited!!  Today marks the 5th week of school, and my classroom is starting to run like a well oiled machine.  I'm so proud of my kiddos!  Today I wanted to share some things that have been working, and some things I have changed from previous years.  Hopefully it will give you a glimpse into my classroom.

  Data Wall

This year I started a data wall as a way to keep track of our class averages.  It doesn't have individual student info., but rather what we achieved together.  The board has morphed into a place to hold student award rings... that's another thing that has changed this year - NO MORE NECKLACES!  I still love the award/brag tags, but this way they aren't getting lost (and they take up less room on the wall).    


Workshop got a major overhaul this year - for the good!  I moved it to the last hour of the day, and decided to organized my groups using colored stickers on their name tags.  So simple compared to the pocket charts that I have used for years.  I also decided to use pencil boxes to keep my task cards organized.  

Done/Not Done

My magnets finally gave up after the past 3 years... so this year I put velcro circles on an extra Checkers board and just pull them off when needed.  It's so simple!

Morning and Afternoon Class Carpet Meetings


I've had a Morning Math Meeting for a few years now, and I absolutely still love the review that happens during that time.  It seems to get them going without having to run off copies for morning work.  The kids use their whiteboards and work on it when I'm checking in homework, then we go over it full class.  After lunch, after our daily read aloud and silent reading, we have Word of the Day.  The kids come back over to the carpet, grab a dictionary and their yellow Word composition books, and look up the chosen word.  We define, use it in sentences, and then go over another word - either a homonym, character trait, prefix, root, etc.  All in all it takes about 7-10 minutes, but it's a chance for them to get out of their seats.  After the afternoon meeting we jump into our workshop time.  I really love how the schedule has transformed this year.  

Team Points

I still use team points in class - but I've whittled it down to 4 teams no matter the desk arrangement.  I give team points mainly for transition times, keeping their area clean, etc... though last Friday we also played an organization game "Find Your ___" and I gave out team points for the fastest team to pull out their word book, or binder, science book, etc.  It made them all want to keep everything nice and tidy.  :)   

Behavior, Helpers, and Rules

This year I moved around some of my boards.  I consolidated my rules, behavior, helpers, and calendar all on the same wall (instead of spread out).  It has made it easy to keep track of things.  I'm still getting used to using popsicle sticks for helpers, after years of everything on a pocket chart.  I did change helpers to being changed only 2x a month instead of weekly.  I LOVE IT though!  

Color Coded Composition Books

This year I decided to color code my composition books - and totally forget about spiral notebooks altogether!  It's working great!  I gave my students 5 composition books already tabbed with the sections:
Black/White - Reading Log (Classwork and Homework)
Yellow - ELA Notebook (Parts of Speech, Word of the Day, Mentor Sentences)
Red - Math (Skills and Problem Solving)
Green - Reading Notebook (Strategies, Themes, and Open Court)
Blue - Social Studies and Science
Yes, it took a couple of movies to get through all 165 notebooks, but they are holding up great!

Teacher Bag

I splurged with my Educents paycheck and bought myself a "real" teacher bag this year.  I even put the file system insert inside to keep things extra organized.  I absolutely love it!  I have learned though that even how wonderfully deep the outside pockets are, well you can't bend over to pick something when it's on your shoulder... pens fly, hair clips fly, washi tape will roll away.  Learn from me...  

Copies Made

I usually get all my copies done before summer begins, but this year I even got all the "little" things made up and prepped.  It has been so easy to just pull out the half sheet of this standard, or that one.. Highly recommend!

I Love My Classroom

I hope this gave you some ideas!  Come over and visit my FB page, I'm celebrating 3,000 likes over there.  A $25 TPT Gift Card Giveaway starts today, and will go for the next week.  Good luck!

Have a wonderful day!   

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