Thursday, July 28, 2011

Biggest Pet Peeve - Blog Hop

Alisha over at The Bubbly Blonde is having a Blog Hop that I couldn't resist joining in - if not just to make her feel better. I have pet peeves.... MAJOR ones....

Here they are.....
  1. No names on papers!!!!
  2. Tapping pencils on desks
  3. Mysteriously disappearing pencils....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Library Checkout

I have tried a few different ways of keeping my classroom library organized in my two years of teaching although I have always had them organized by subject. My first year I taught Kindergarten and had my baskets labeled. The kids used paint sticks to 'mark' the basket they got their book from. The students would then put the book back in the correct basket - theoretically.... It didn't work. The kids would forget to get their stick and move it, the stick would fall between books and the kids couldn't find them - it was just a giant mess.

Last year, my 2nd year - first year in 2nd grade - I talked a lot more about organization. We talked about how to figure out where the book goes based on the topic and genre. It worked for a while but definitely was not a good system... I had some students with 3 or 4 books in their desks and I had nonfiction books about turtles in the 'silly stories' basket - what? They just weren't looking at the labels. Another problem was that I just wasn't knowing what books were and weren't being 'checked out' and what books my individual students were reading - and I wanted to know!

So... here is my solution - my library card board!!

Here is my plan... I will put an index card and a popsicle stick in each students' pocket. The index card will be their reading log - students will write down the book they are reading on the card as they check it out. I also plan on having pockets on/by(?) each of my baskets so students can put their popsicle stick in the pocket on the basket. This will allow them to remember what basket they got it from. (Kind of like my paint sticks my first year but I am hoping 2nd grade can handle it better - and some of them are the same kids so that might help!)

My only issue is that I don't know how to attach the library cards on the baskets. I am in the process of making new labels which will probably get hooked on with the key chain things. (I don't know what they are called - haha) If I cannot figure out where to attach these other library pockets I will just stick with the index cards - I love this idea!

Oh, to make this - if you are interested - it was really easy...
  • library cards
  • hot glue gun
  • sharpie
  • ribbon
  • foam board
From start to finish it probably took me 30 minutes. The longest/hardest part was trying to even out the spaces between the pockets!

How do you keep your library organized? Do you keep track of what your kids read through the day/week/whatever?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sweat, Organization and Weirdness

I don't know what is wrong with me.... I was at school yesterday and today probably a total of 4 hours and.... I GOT A LOT DONE!! It's so weird. I am not an organized person and I am not productive. I think all this inspiration from you Bloggy people is helping me to be motivated and inspired! I can finally feel comfortable posting pictures of my room - although its not ready. Notice I am not in ANY of them because it is about 95 degrees in my room!! (NO AIR! - and no plans in the near future to get it) If it is this hot in August I might die... we all will!

I am in the same room but I completely reorganized the layout and organized all of my stuff. My goal for this year is not only to be organized myself but to teach my students organization - something they did NOT have last year. So, without further delay....

My great find from the Dollar Store... Not sure what I am using them for yet but they are color coded! :) One of my mini trashcans is missing a lid so I am going to have to go back and complain! The big 'trash cans' will definately be used for art. I always have scrap paper all over the floor or they get up every five seconds to throw their scraps away. Each group will get a trash can in the middle of their desks then at the end of art it will all get dumped! :) Yay for saving me stress!!

My library getting started... See below for more done.

My cubbies/storage with EVERYTHING in them... This was a big task!

Starting to look at lot better....

I've organized my math manipulatives so I can FIND things! :)

My book baskets - I made new labels but ran out of ink so... thats a different project.

Full library with cushions and my big shelf that I got at Menards - $40!!

The start of my writing center

In front of my desk - A few bulletin boards, a table I use for centers and my behavior managment system (green, blue, yellow, orange and red cards)

Another part of my library. That chart has my library card checkout system. I took a picture of it after I made it with my phone then later realized I didn't have a picture on my camera. That will be the topic of a later blog...

This is how my desks were when i came in. I'm okay with that because it makes it easier to move around while I'm still getting organized... When thats all done I'll set up the desks! :)

My sign in/check out table - not done yet. I have mailboxes (on the floor) which I use to pass out graded papers and flyers that I don't need back. I may not keep it on the floor but I want it by this table and it doesn't fit on it or under it... I have the pink and green things for homework and the big pink bin will be for their take-home folders after they turn in their homework. The fishbowls on the board are for attendance. Each bowl has a number. When the students come in they grab a fish (with velcro on the back) and stick it on their bowl. It takes a quick glance to see who is not here!

My desk! It is mostly organized.

More of my desk area... That crate is full of stuff I need to do... so is that black thing on the shelf by my desk...

The shelf behind my desk... my hubby made it for me! This holds my resource books, binders, my daily papers, etc.

My new mini chalkboard that I stole (borrowed) from my in-laws. The other side has a whiteboard which is facing my carpet/library. It also has a role of paper on the bottom so I can pull up and write about it. It was just sitting in their garage... what a waste! I am VERY excited!!

Well, thats most of my classroom! I am very proud of what I have accomplished in the last few days. I only have a few things to sort through and my hallway bulletin board, and focus wall to put up. Other than that I need my class list so I can start labeling things! With that said, I brought home some Mailbox magazines and a book on guided reading (which I am going to try to implement). I guess I have some planning and reading to do!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Math Manipulatives

Math manipulatives.... awesome, and yet, obnoxious.....

I love using manipulatives in math for numerous, obvious reasons. However, preparing for math each day is such a tedious, horrible task! I am trying to think of an idea to manage/distribute all of those manipulatives throughout the year. These are the ones we use and I would like to include;


Play Money

Linking Cubes

Pattern Blocks
So, here is what I am thinking.... (and here is where it gets possibly expensive). I want to have some kind of bin, bag, box, etc. for each student. Each student will have the manipulatives they would need in their box - maybe a shoe box. They sell them at target for a pretty decent price about now I think. Oh, and I also found those "book bags" which hang up on a hook, that would be good for storage - also very expensive... Then I was thinking maybe I will just put the manipulative for the unit we are on...

Here are the good things,
  1. No wasted time filling up cups or passing things out.
  2. No worry about losing things - I would have an inventory of what is in each box and students are responsible for their items - their box would have their assigned number on it too...
  3. Good way to teach organization and responsibility
Here are the problems
  1. Where do I store them?
  2. Will everything fit in there?
  3. If I do individual units I have to switch every few weeks - also I like to review so I would honestly just rather have EVERYTHING in there together....
What do you do in your classroom for math manipulatives??
How do you distribute them?

Friday, July 22, 2011


So, I'm sitting at home with a thousand things to laminate, knowing that I can't get into school until Monday and thinking, "man, I wish I had a laminator." When I came accross this giveaway First Grade Frame of Mind. She is giving away a personal thermal laminator!! Head over and check it out!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Linky Party

Belinda at ilove2teach is having a FABULOUS linky party to help us all cool is off!! Its a "Too Cool for School" party with all kinds of tips and techniques for your day.

Did you know that you can use sharpie on items that are laminated?? I always used a vis-a-vis but it would wipe off SO easily! A fellow teacher told me you can use sharpie and erase with nailpolish remover! I then discovered you can just use whiteboard eraser spray and it comes off much easier. Sharpies are SO much better for centers or writing on posters!

I tried classroom jobs my first year and just couldn't get a handle on it. Instead I now have a "pet of the day" who does all the jobs that need to be done. I have an ocean theme this year so I have a 'fishtank' on a bulletin board and I put a new fish in the tank each day! This way I only have to remember to change one thing and that student gets to help me all day. They get so excited when it is their day! They get to share something, be the line leader, take down attendance and anything else I need them to do

Go join the Linky Party and share your ideas! I love hearing what people do in their rooms!

Stressed out Newbie

So I thought i was fairly "techie" but I can't figure out how to post a comment! I feel really silly. I have tried a few different times and I don't know what I am doing wrong. I type my comment and it asks what to post it as. I click on google account, sign in (even though I am automatically signed in) then I click post and it wants me to sign in again. It is an endless circle so I give up.

In other news. I went to school on Monday and I got a lot organized/accomplished. I also went to the dollar store and got some AWESOME organizing bins - 4 different colors for different centers or groups or something. I don't know yet. I will post pictures when I have time but as of now i am playing the waiting game. I am painting our whole upstairs (which consists of bedroom and bathroom) and I am between coats.

Hopefully someone can help me so I can start contributing to the blog world!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

My First Post

Hello!! I have spent the last two or three days drooling over I don't know how many ideas on who knows how many blogs. I am amazed at how many creative, wonderful minds there are out there!  After all that time spent on my laptop I decided I had to keep up with all these wonderful people and what better way than to create my own!  So here I am.... hoping I can learn and grow and possibly even share. I have a LOT to learn but I have no worries as I have found lots of people who know SO much!

We start school on the 18th and I know that is a month away but I have school on my brain. I think I get really bored during the summer - maybe that will change with kids - but I am excited and going to school tomorrow to work, work, work! I'm sure my coworkers will think I'm crazy but its good to know there are other people out there who share my enthusiasm. Here's to learning!!