Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I'm so super excited to share my very first sale with you!! Check it out!

Come by and take a look! I hope you can find something that you love and can't teach without this year!

Picture walk through (finally!)

I am so excited to finally, finally be able to share my classroom with you! I can't believe it's already the third week of school!! I sure hope that you can use some of the great things that I've included in my room. I spent a TON of time on Pinterest this summer and it's paid off!!

This is the front of my room. Pretty much the view from my desk in the back corner. I have so many students this year that I had to use my kidney table to seat some of them. I love the adorable guided reading group posters behind the table. Can't wait to use them!
 I love my tables. You can see what my kids come in to each morning. They have a snack bag to put their snack in each day as well as their morning activity (not work... activities are fun :) ). This view shows you my 4 other tables plus my cubbies. I have only 20 cubbies for 26 kids. The others just hang their things on the hooks and their reading baskets will go on top of the cubbies.
Here's a close up of the door to the bathroom and neighboring room. My cubbies have name tags on them so the students now whose reading basket is whose. I added a couple of Target pocket charts on the back of the door in anticipation of Working on Words. My behavior chart is right next to the door. As you can tell, we didn't have the best day today :(

Another close up of my cubbies. I love the cute apples that my helper die cut for their names today!!
 This is the back corner of my room. You can see where my math tubs are at on top of my storage shelves of math manipulatives. My blue pocket chart is for my Common Core Math Vocabulary. I have my back table as well for art center (a 'la Playful Learning!). My chart on the end of my cubbies are for my Thank Yous. The kids get a thank you for going above and beyond. When they earn 5 thank yous, they can go to the treasure box and pick a prize!
 This is my desk corner. You can see the other part of my art center as well (the white tiered cart). Behind my desk are my book cases with all of my teaching books, mentor texts, and favorite supplies. I also have my daily drawer tower with all of my materials for the week. My filing cabinet, printer, and computer table are back there too. There's enough room for the students to go to the computer when they are ready for it.
 This is the view from my chair and easel. I have my helper chart, leveled books that the students will get to choose from later, and my word wall. You can also see my "I will" rules.
 Again, next to my chair and by the meeting area. My calendar, the corner of my Compliment chart, and my Daily 5 pocket charts. I put my mom's picnic basket next to my chair to hold the 'delicious' books we'll read this year!
 This is what my table looks like right now. I love using my muffin tins for supplies! I also have crayon boxes on either side. Plus, you can see my snack bags are out again waiting for tomorrow. When they have their snacks in there, they put them in the blue crate you see at the top of the picture.
 On my board I have my schedule cards for the day plus my specials schedule. I move my red magnets down to show the kids where we are going or what we are doing.
 My front door! My Nanny gave me these adorable color window clings last year. I found them while setting up my room (had a good cry about missing her) and then put them up on my windows. I'm an interior room so these are the only windows that I have. We started a new program last year to go along with our school's reading program. Since the kids had a reading log to fill out, we also posted what we were reading on our doors. This year, I thought it was the perfect way to use my book jacket for Pete (instead of throwing away the book jacket!).
 Across from my door is my central information stationg. I have my class list, check lists for class donations/headphones/etc, and folder baskets. My kids come in and put their folders in the correct basket (blue for daily and orange for Friday). This is also where I file papers for easy stuffing of folders (using the crate) and the students turn in their papers (yellow tray). I have recycled candy jars for supplies (one for glue and one for eraser tops).

I love, love seeing everone else's great pictures. I hope you enjoyed mine as well!

Monday, August 20, 2012

How do kids 'Star' in your room?

In a classroom of 26 Kindergarteners, how do you give your students a chance to shine and be a star all on their own? In our class, we do an awesome activity called Star Name. It's based on an activity from Debbie Miller's book Reading with Meaning.

Each day you have a Star Student :) This special person gets to have their 15 minutes of fame. Well, in Kindergarten at the beginning of the year... it's more like an hour of fame !

I've done it several ways but you always focus on their name. You can simply pull the name from a bag and have them read it, you can give the first letter and have them guess, or you could even have the name written out but cut apart so they have to unscramble it as a class.

You can also take a cue from Hickety Pickety and have them sing the name, clap the name, whisper, shout, etc.

We then do a class drawing for each person so that we can discuss the details of drawing. Shapes, colors, proper placing of objects, etc. This may be the first time someone has ever really show a child in your class how to draw someone. It amazes me to see the growth in their drawings!

Then, each child gets a paper that they can take to their seats and draw the star name person. That's where it gets really interesting! I gather the papers when they are done and turn them into a book using our school's book binding machine.

This year because we don't have the extra set of hands we did last year, we are making just one class book with one page for each person. I thought I'd share the page that I created for the class book. We are doing the drawing and everything, just with the kids talking me through the drawing part of it.


Star Name Book Page

Monday, August 6, 2012

Chapter 5: Exploring Art and Artists

Just thought I'd share my blog post over at Teaching My 3. Check it out below!

One of the images that grabbed me about Playful Learning was the front cover. I know we always say," Don't judge a book by it's cover." But, man, oh, man, what a cover!! It's actually one of my favorite things about this book. I love how it draws and invites you it. That's exactly what art should be to a student or child.

After reading this chapter, I have changed the way that I question my students and my own children. Instead of looking at a drawing and asking "What is it?" change it to "Can you tell me more about your drawing?"

Today was the first day of school, which is also why this post is a tad delayed (sorry!!!), but I found myself questioning my students with "What can you add to your ____?" One of my students (I really wish I had caught the process on film!) started with a big swirl of blue that was her swimming in the pool. Our conversation continued:

Me: Were you in the pool?
S: Yep (adds a stick figure person)
Me: Great! Is your pool inside or outside?
S: Outside
Me: Awesome! What can you add to your picture to let me know that?
S: I know! A sun, and a sky,and ground!

It was simple, two minutes but the effect that it had on my pumpkins paper was fantastic!

I wish I had an awesome freebie to give to everyone, but this one is a toughie which it really is more about how you get your students to discover art through exploration. This year I am adding an art center to my room so that I have an actual spot for the students to explore with stickers, stencils, scissors, glue, etc. Way more than what I did last year of simply putting out too little paper in a rush. Each year we improve for the better with our students!

How do you add in your art time with your class?

Teaching with Grace

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Peek into My Classroom... the before!

I've taken some before pictures to show ya'll what I'm working with in my classroom :) I love my room and I actually had a lot of furniture right where I wanted it before I went on vacation. I've been working the past few days on getting everything for registration... which is today!!

Here are some before (I'll share my after this afternoon once my new adorable sweet peas are gone!):
This is my sink area and the bulk of my floor space . The kidney table is staying at the front of the room :)

This is to the left of my sink area... very important: the bathroom! Plus my cubbies :)

This is my back area (with my tables stacked on top of each other. I have my back door to the hallway. Next to the door are my manipulative book shelves. I'm keeping them right here.

My teacher desk and area. I thought it was funny that my custodians put my chair on top of my desk :D

This will be my meeting area.. don't you love my picnic basket for all the delicious books we'll read this year?

And last one, back around to the front of the room. I have the same job chart as last year. It worked so well! The trapezoid table will be in the back as an art table.

I can't wait to show you how far my room has come in the past few days! It's like a complete beauty makeover!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The must-have tool for your classroom: only $2!

I had a BIG problem this year in my classroom. Last year, I had put the kids' names on the back of their chairs. But... they were stickers.. stuck to the chairs.. then covered with tape. When I took them off this year, this is what all my chairs looked like:

Not pretty. Plus, nothing I tried was working! I asked my husband for his utility knife so I could scrape it off. It was totally my last resort since Goo Gone, Windex Cleaner (my go to), nothing else worked!

My husband told me to get one of these bad boys instead:
  I L-O-V-E my scrapper! The best part? It's only $1.97 at Wal-Mart!! I know, how awesome! Want to see how awesome a job it does? Here's proof:

Isn't that fantastic?! The other amazing thing, it only took me about 20 minutes to do 19 chairs!!!

This year I laminated my cute ladybugs and then simply hot glued them on. If they come off, I'll glue them back on :) No stickers or mess!

I tell you, I'm in love!