If you have been following my blog you know I have been working endlessly on packing, moving, unpacking, and setting up my new classroom.
I made a goal for myself to not spend a lot of $$$ at teacher stores! Due to this goal, I have had to make a lot of my own decor. I find that I have been enjoying making my own posters and items for the room.
The only things I have purchased from my local teacher store is magnetic bulletin board border and ladybug accents (used for hallway display and job chart).
With HP's Instant Ink program, I have been saving a lot of money decorating my classroom this way.
I have created my own classroom rules posters, I Can Statements, and iPad rule posters using ladybug clip art that I purchased from Scrappin' Doodles.
I have attached the covers of these items. You can find them in my TPT store..
I am currently working on storage labels. These will be posted as a free item.
This week I have continued working in my new classroom. One mistake I have always made in the past was to unpack and shove my belongings anywhere it can fit. This leads to an organization nightmare. This year I have been determined to have a set plan in place before anything got unpacked. As seen in a previous post, I was organizing non-instructional materials. Now that I have all that figured out, all I need to do is make my labels. Now when I finish unpacking, I know where each of those items are going.
Today I have focused on my first instructional area- math. My new classroom has a lot of storage (YAY!). So it was just the matter of deciding which area would work best. I have decided on on a shelf that is near my small group table. Originally I intended on this to be Guided Reading materials. I changed my mind as I looked over my math materials. The first shelf will house each unit's game boards. The room did not have any of these games already made, so I will be working on this as the year progresses. My hope is that the game boards will fit in the IKEA magazine holders. There are 9 units (we use Investigations) and 9 of these boxes fit on the shelf perfectly. So, my hope is that this will work! As the school begins and I actually begin using the materials, i will have a better idea if this will work long term. Progress pictures to come!
Tomorrow's focus will be on instructional office supplies!
Today's goal in unpacking is organizing and finding a home for all non-instructional supplies. This includes Ziploc bags, plates/napkins, cleaning supplies, and more!
In my new room I am fortunate enough to have amazing storage space. I have a counter with cabinets under a sink. I decided this was a perfect place for these types of supplies.
I will also be keeping kitchen type of supplies in there. This will include my coffee K-cups, coffee mug, water pitcher, cup, and more. Basically this is an area of the classroom that is not meant for students. The only thing the students will be allowed to use over there is the sink and pencil sharpener, which will be plugged in over there.
I am working on unpacking these supplies and labeling them. On my to-do list for home is to create an inventory label to tape to the outside of each cabinet. This way I will know what is in there. If I have a sub that needs access to these type of supplies, they will know where to find them.
Progress pictures below!
As you might remember from previous posts, I was informed at the end of the year that I would be moving to 2nd grade. I had to quickly pack up my room and move into a new one.
Today is the first day I have been allowed in the new room to work.
Of course I walked in and immediately felt overwhelmed.
I took a deep breath and said that I needed to start with a plan.
First goal is to get the basic furniture set up.
As a Pinnacle Leader, I have been blessed with 10 iPads. To introduce procedures with the iPads, I decided to do a school tour using them.
Students will be given a list of important people/items to take a selfie with. These selfies will be uploaded to our Google Classroom.
Students can access our Google Classroom on the iPads. As we walk around the school, students can use their iPads to take the appropriate selfies. These selfies will then be uploaded to the Google Classroom to complete the assignment.
Some of the school celebrities that students will be expected to take selfies with are:
1. School Principal
2. School Vice Principal
3. School Secretary
4. School Custodian
5. Itinerants (art, music, pe, computer lab, guidance, reading specialist)
6. Cafeteria workers
7. Teacher (me!)
8. Teacher assistant (if applicable)
9. School Nurse
10. A new friend
Students will also take selfies in important places around the school such as:
4. Music room
5. Multi Purpose room (where PE takes place)
6. Art room
7. Guidance office
8. Nurse's office
Students will be partnered off to share the iPads. They will take turns taking the designated selfies.
Gaston County Schools' Pinnacle leaders have been featured in the Gaston Gazette The headlining pictures features none other than yours truly!
One of my big summer project is planning, making, and implementing Class Dojo credit cards. I am late to the Class Dojo bandwagon. I transitioned to it halfway through the 2015-2016 school year. My students took to it immediately and loved every minute of it. Nothing gets them back on track more than hearing that little "ding."
I wanted a better system for acknowledging positive behavior. I have read many blogs and gathered ideas from many other educators. I wanted to make it my own.
I have been compiling a list of rewards and how much they would cost. My current thought process is for students to spend their Class Dojo points during our morning routine. To take it a step farther, I will assign them a day. This will alleviate 20+ students coming at me to spend their points. I wanted to make it manageable for both me and the students.
On the back of each Class Dojo credit card will be a QR code. Students will choose what they are purchasing and scan their credit card. The QR code will link to the student's personal bank. I will then deduct what they are purchasing.
On the students shopping day, I will also add in any points they have earned.
You are in the middle of guided reading. You have students all working quietly on assigned tasks. You are in the middle of reading with your group when you hear it- "Miss Chaaaapple! What is my password????"
This was one thing that completely derailed my small group instruction. I would have to redirect constantly. Even though I had their passwords written down, they constantly lost them.
I want to make my life as easy as possible this coming school year. I am working on making my students log in cards. These will be laminated, hole punched, and kept together with a binder ring. Students will keep them in their tool boxes.
I have made these log in cards 4" x 6". For now, I have a Compass Learning log in card and a Renaissance Place login card.
Once I get back in my classroom, I will be making a login card for classroom computers.
Please feel free to look at what I have created so far. I plan on making these cards in a variety of backgrounds (not just my ladybug theme background).
Please let me know what you think and if you have suggestions for other login cards!
Coding, Gaming, and Podcasting- Oh my!
My mind is thouroughly blown on this third day of Pinnacle training! I am learning so many new things and trying to find ways of implementing it all! I am si excited for my rising 2nd graders! They are going to enter my classroom and never want to leave! ... and I wouldn't have it any other way!
Let's starting with coding. Lisa Montgomery (@lmontgo), a technology facilitator for Gaston County Schools, led our training on coding. She introduced us to Code.org. After confering with a colleague who used it last school year, I cannot wait to utilize it in my own classroom. President Obama reached out to our children and asked them all to code. President Obama recognized the valuable skills children will receive through coding.
I will dive right into it in the 2016-2017 school year! For now, I plan on making it a part of my STEM time. I will also use it as a Class Dojo incentive.
On to the next... GAMING!
Let's face it, kids have more fun learning through games. I will admit it- I know NOTHING about Minecract, but hearing about it from colleagues as well as my own students, has intrigued me. Minecraft can tie right in to coding. In fact, Code.org has a Minecraft section! There are many ways to tie in Minecraft with my curriculum. Already, the wheels in my head are turning to use Minecraft for some Narrative writing!
Let's talk about podcasting!
This is one of the most anticipated new strategies I plan to implement next school year. With all the wonderful technology my students will have at their fingertips, I would like to incorporate podcasting as an independent and collaborative workshop.
My plans are to make a channel based on different comprehension skills (Author's Purpose, Retell, Sequencing, etc). Students read a book during Read to Self, write out a script (based on topic of their choice), and record their podcast. I want to embed this on our classroom website for parents to listen to. This is also a great informal assessment for me. I can listen in and make sure students are understanding the comprehension skill.
Also, as a collaboration, wouldn't a math channel be great? Students can be presented with a math problem. Students can work collaboratively to solve the problem and record how they went about solving it and why they solved it that way,
My mind is BLOWN! Too many ideas are running through my head and I just don't know where to start!
I am so excited for the 2016-2017 school year!
I was lucky enough to apply and get in to Gaston County Schools Pinnacle program. Pinnacle is for GCS educators who have a passion for including technology into their lessons and daily routines.
Yesterday marked the beginning of my Pinnacle training. GCS was amazing and gave us a new Chromebook and iPad for teach use. When my new students begin in the fall, we will have 15 Chromebooks and 10 iPads available. In addition to the 15 Chromebooks, I also 5 of my own from being involved with Discovery Education's Ambassador program.
This gives me a total of 10 Chromebooks and 10 iPads. I am so excited for my students to have the opportunity to use all this technology! My brain is already planning on ways to use the Chromebooks throughout the day.
Gaston County Schools is a part of GAFE (Google Apps for Education). Using Google Classroom, I have begun planning how daily attendance and lunch count will work. When students enter the room, they will get out their Chromebooks. They will log in to our Google Classroom and record their lunch order.
By doing so, this will also tell me who is here/who isn't here.
These are my current brainstorms!
So after finding out I was being moved to 2nd grade and changing rooms- I am finally, officially, MOVED!
I had hopes of being completely organized when the move happened. However, due to short notice and time restraints- that did not happen.
However, I am teaching summer school this year. By the time summer school starts, my new classroom show be done (floor cleaned, waxed, etc).
I plan on spending a bit of time each day during summer school to unpack and get organized. This will be a focus for my July/August posts!
As I begin packing up my classroom for the move, I reflect on my filing system. I have decided to make the choice of NO MORE FILING CABINET!! wOOt!!!! Today has been spent going through and TRASHING everything that I do not need to bring with me! It is such a relaxing experience to watch everything go in the trash can and recycling bin!
As of Friday afternoon (yesterday!) I am now moving to 2nd grade! So my End of the Year procedure series is taking a bit of a different course!
So... here you have it... preparing for a grade level and room change!
For the next session of my End of the Year procedures, I am going to talk about what I do with extra worksheets and activities.
The last couple years I have embraced the "If I didn't use it in a year, GET RID OF IT!" mantra. However, if I have extra worksheets that I did not get to, I do save them.
So what do I do with all that paper? I store them in my Sub Tub! I purchased this from Teachers Pay Teachers from a seller known as Kindergarten Lifestyle (her products are amazing, by the way). I keep a file folder in my tub labeled "extra worksheets."
If my lesson plans do not end up taking as much time as I thought, I like to have a back up plan in place. That is where my extra worksheets come in. Now if there are only one or two copies of a worksheet, I will recycle it.
At my school, our 1st grade team has grade level copies. We copy math facts, articles with questions, and more. These are the worksheets and activities that tend to be added to the sub tub. Whatever I do not get to or assign for homework, gets filed in there.
I also add Scholastic News magazines that I did not use. I have a directions sheet for the sub to access the archived copy on the SMART Board.
This way, my subs will never be able to say "I am out of things to do. What now?
The first part of my End of the Year routine is to PLAN! I always start with a plan of attack. I have a really bad habit of starting in one corner, then distracting myself with something I found and moving to another spot. By making a plan, I force myself to stay in that spot until I have accomplished my goal.
On Saturday, for example, I made the shelves behind my desk my priority. These shelves tend to "hide" all the things I do not know what to do with. Prior to attacking them, they were filled with random junk. I now have empty shelves to work with.
I am one of those people who tend to make a huge mess in my cleaning process. This is a habit of mine that I am working toward fixing. My huge purge is driving me toward this goal. Now that I have empty shelves, I will be spending my summer planning what goes in the shelves and how will it stay organized. This process will be reported as I work on it.
Again, by planning my process, it allows me to stay on track with minimal distractions. I make a list and check it off as I accomplish it. I have a much easier time sticking to a plan and list than I would jumping right in!
Stay tuned to the next post about End of the Year procedures! I will be showing you how I organize my materials for summer!
My blog's theme for the next week and a half will be End of the Year cleanup. Join me in my madness to finish the year on a positive note!
As I wrap up my 10th year of teaching, I take a moment to reflect on my organization. Each year I have gotten a bit better at staying organized throughout the school year to make End of the Year cleanup a breeze.
Let's just say... I am not the most organized teacher you have seen. I have a bad habit of putting papers down on any surface I see. The end result? Well.... I tend to have random piles of craziness that I have to sort through and purge or file.
You see, in my head I know that I am crazy and making more work for myself. I once worked with a fabulous lady named Lori. Lori was my guru when it came to class organization. One year when we worked together, she made a binder for virtually ANYTHING I could ever need. She would tell me, "See, Melissa. Now it is impossible for you to place stuff down randomly. Everything has a home now." She was a saint to put up with me, let me tell you.
It broke my heart to say goodbye to her when she was offered a better job as a daycare leader. After that school year I changed grade levels and moved into a much, MUCH smaller classroom.
Suddenly, all those AMAZING binders now had no where to go! Last school year was the first in this new situation. It was an organization DISASTER! Lori would cringe if she saw the room! Shhh, no one tell her.
I adopted a new attitude for the current school year which is making my clean up MUCH easier. Did I touch or need this paper at all this school year? No? Well hello there Mr. Recycling Bin. Simple, right? Yet amazingly it has taken me 10 YEARS to finally accept this. Hello, my name is Melissa and I am a teaching supply hoarder.
Today students used a great quiz program called Kahoot It! to participate in a Math Bee. The 1st grade team is having a grade level math bee. Each teacher needs to select one boy and one girl to participate. Sure, I could have picked the highest score off the statewide end of year math benchmark... but... BORING! Instead, I created a fun, interactive quiz.
I shared the quiz link with my students. https://kahoot.it/
On the SMART Board I had the unique code. Students entered the code, then inputted their name to get in.
You can customize your quiz to display the question for a set amount of time. I had my questions set for 60 seconds. Points are earned for answering the question correctly and for the speed in which the question is answered.
This is a fun, quick, and engaging way to assess students! Try it out!
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Second Grade Teacher
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