Saturday, October 25, 2014

WW: Organizing Student Work

Welcome to another installment of Weekend Warriors!
This month's theme is organization.

I'll pause for  a moment so you can have a little chuckle at my expense.

If you know me, you know that organization is NOT my strong suit. AT ALL. Remember, I asked for my teacher desk back this year so I could have a place to pile my schtuff? In my defense though, I DO know where everything is!!!

When I first started at  my school, one of the supplies I was given was a wire basket. I decided to use it as a place for students to turn in their work. It soon turned into this:
It was awful. At the time I was doing centers during my guided reading block, so I would get at least one worksheet from each student every day, plus various other worksheets, tests, writing drafts, published writing, and more. I didn't always check in center work every day, so it would pile up, and when I wanted to grade spelling tests (for example), I had to dig through all the other stuff to find what I needed. I am also the type who gets intimidated by lots of papers to grade/check off, so as the basket got fuller and fuller, my motivation to empty it got smaller and smaller...

Enter the 4 compartment paper sorter. I seriously love this thing. I love it so much that I bought two! LOL! I use one for organizing student work and one for organizing homework. Here's a a picture of my student work sorter:
Close Up...
Far away. It sits on top of this 10 drawer paper organizer that stores all of the graphic organizers my students use throughout the day.
My compartments are labeled Math, Spelling, Reading Stations, and Stories for Conference. Now when I want to grade spelling tests, I can just grab those and leave the Word Work worksheet my students did in there and check them off when I can get to it. I still use the basket (it's on top of the sorter). It's the catch-all when something doesn't fall into one of the cubby categories, or if something is too big to fit into the cubby. I also have my kids sort their homework which is SO NICE! Now I don't have to separate the reading calendars from the Home Links from the spelling contracts. And it's really not hard or time consuming for the students to do either.

OK, so here's the sad part. I bought this organizer from an office supply store maybe 10 years ago when I first started teaching, and it appears as though they don't make them anymore. But GOOD NEWS!! I bought a 6 compartment organizer this summer from Target for $9 that I use for my guided reading groups. It's not as sturdy, but it gets the job done. Plus, it was cheaper than the ones I originally bought.
Sorry for the far-away photo. 
The Weekend Warriors and I decided to create a Pinterest Board to keep all of our FAB ideas in one place. Click the image below to check it out!
Looking for more organizational tips? Check out what my WW gals blogged about below!




Wednesday, October 15, 2014

PRIMARY POWERS!!!

This is me
and together with my bloggy pals, we are SUPER excited to bring you a brand-spankin' new blog:
I couldn't be more honored to be teaming up with some of the most AMAZING bloggers I know! Want to know who the other Super Girls are? Well, you gotta hop over to Primary Powers to find out!

Guess what else?! WE'RE HAVING A GIVEAWAY!!!!!!! (Said in my most obnoxious Oprah voice!)

The prizes are INCREDIBLE! 
Want to win these gift cards? Well you'll have to hop over to Primary Powers to enter the Rafflecopter! We also have a Facebook Page and an Instagram account, so make sure you follow us there too for more SUPER ideas, freebies and giveaways.

Oh, and one last thing… you must check out this FABULOUS Educents bundle, put together by some of the Super Girls. It definitely packs a punch!

What are you waiting for?! Head over to Primary Powers and enter that giveaway before it's gone in a FLASH!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How to Learn

I posted this photo to Instagram about a month ago:
This is a display I put up on my white board called "How to Learn." I can't claim the idea; I originally found it here. These are the reasons why I love this board:

  • It's a visual that shows students that learning is a process. Many times along the path of learning, we make mistakes, and it's completely normal to make mistakes. 
  • The arrows show the "backing up" when mistakes are made. Students need to figure out what went wrong and then fix those mistakes. 
  • I love the "get help" piece. It shows students that it's perfectly OK to get help from me or even another student; it doesn't mean that they're not smart. 
  • It shows that mistakes can be made multiple times during learning process, because the pieces and arrows are arranged in a circle.

If you'd like a copy, you can find it here in Google Docs or here in Drop Box. I've been told that the Google Doc file isn't always downloading, so if you're having that trouble, try the Drop Box. In the file I included this version in the photo, plus a smaller version. The one in the photo has scalloped circles, so you can imagine how long it took me to cut them all out...... So the smaller version has squares instead of circles to make it faster for you to cut :)

Enjoy!


Monday, September 15, 2014

CLASSROOM REVEAL! 2014-2015

This post is a loonnnggg time coming, but it's finally here... My Classroom Reveal!

I actually snapped these pics about 3 weeks ago, but getting ready for the school year, a long term sub, and a brand new baby has put this blog on the back burner. I finally put the baby down for long enough to get this post written. We're going to start at the door and walk clockwise around the room. Are you ready???
Welcome!! All of my students' names are on chalkboard labels on the door. I also super love my new library book bin--the blue bin by the door. Thanks, Big Lots!
This is my mailbox area.
Guided reading table. I bought that purple cardboard organizer thingy (that's the technical term) to store guided reading supplies. It has six slots, so I'm thinking one slot for each group. Hopefully I won't have more than six groups.
Right next to my reading table is this little book corner. Last year I had this area on the other side of the room on my carpet, but I had a hard time seeing the kids from the guided reading table. So I moved it closer to the table so I can keep an eye on my readers.
 I'm currently standing in the reading corner. Just turned around and snapped a pic :)
 OK, let's keep moving along the back wall. Here's my one student computer... don't worry, there are 25 more right outside my door that I share with the other first and second grade teachers. This one is just for those kids who need to stay in the room. You know who I'm talking about :) On the back board is my "How to Learn" board {freebie coming soon!}, Friend of the Week board, and it's hard to see, but there is a white magnetic curtain rod that I plan to hang anchor charts on. Next year, I will be spray painting it turquoise! Just ran out of time this year. I also have all my Word Work supplies on the other side of the computer {magnet letters, snap cubes, letter beads, etc.}.
 Here's the Word Work table. I also have my word wall back here, which I LOVE! Kids can take the words down and back to their desks, and then return when they're done. What's the point of having a word wall if the kids can't access the words? I also have my Daily 5/CAFE board back here, and on the very end is a space for the Morning Message or if I need to write on the board while the students are on the carpet.
 Here's my carpet and calendar area. I love my chair I got last year from IKEA. Under the table are my $3 IKEA bath rugs for Read to Self. I also have a whiteboard easel for chart paper or writing on.
These bookshelves divide my carpet area into two spaces. It houses my classroom library. The smaller bins are from Really Good Stuff and the larger ones are from Big Lots. I just bought them this summer because some of the bins have a ton of books in them and I needed something sturdier. On the black shelf to the left are all my chapter book series. Books are sorted by topic, genre, author, and a few are called "favorite books." Oh, and don't forget to check out some of my stuffed hippo collection on the top of the shelves :)
 Here's my job chart. Last year I used clothespins for the kids names, but they wouldn't lay flat and were always flopping around when someone walked past. So this year, I just put some velcro dots on each card and made labels with student names. To the right is where students get their papers from {most are for Writer's Workshop}, and on top is where students turn in their work. I have them sort their work by subject to make my grading process easier.
 Along the windows are all of these storage shelves! The blue bins are for student book boxes. I also have math manipulative and other teaching tools stored on these shelves. The bins on top have books organized by Fountas and Pinnell guided reading levels. On most days, I allow my students to self-select their take-home reading book, and this system helps them to choose good fit books.
 OK, don't mind the mess in this corner... These photos were taken right after Open House, so here are all my students' notebooks for the year, and I didn't know where to put them LOL! We use interactive notebooks in 5 subjects in my class :) I wish I would've turned a bit to the left to show you what's on the other side of the table, but.... I didn't. There is a storage cart over there with math manipulatives and extra crayons, markers, colored pencils, scissors, a stapler... all those fun supplies for those kiddos who've lost their green marker but need to color the grass.
 This is my "hang my head in shame" photo. After 5 years of being desk-less, I asked for my teacher desk back this year. *womp womp* I really don't want it at all, but I am a self professed Paper Queen, and I noticed last year that I was taking up space at student work tables and even my guided reading table with all my junk really important papers. So here it is...... boo.
 SMARTBoard and whiteboard. Like my neon green hippo? I love you, Hobby Lobby!
 Another angle of the front of my room.
 Icky desk, but I had to get this pic so you could see my hippo canvas basket that has all my clip boards in it. I wanted to make some kind of fun display for the front of my desk, but I ran out of time.
And we're back at the door! What do you think? It's too bad I won't be back here until November... really, I mean that! But instead, my long-term sub can enjoy it while I enjoy this little love:
SWOON!!!

Alright, I need to go pick up the baby and snuggle her now! :)



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