Saturday, July 23, 2011

We Did It, Too!

This is how Tanya and I spent our morning.  We made 18 of these adorable crate storage seats.  We are using them for our small group tables and at the computers that the students will be using. We love the fabric because it goes so well with our western theme.  Tanya picked it up at Hobby Lobby.    We first saw the idea on the blog, What The Teachers Wants.  Thanks for the idea! I know there are more of you out there that are going to make these.  Happy crafting!

Our Summer "Break" is OVER!

 Thursday night, Tanya and I got an email from our principal.  It read, "Movers came today.  Your things are in your classroom. :-)"
 So, Friday morning, Tanya went to the school to check things out.  And sure enough, our things from the old classroom are now in the new classroom.
 OMG!  That white thing there in the middle, used to be a shelf...
 We have A LOT to do!  But we could not be more relieved to FINALLY have only our things in the new classroom now!

Our student orientation and parent night are both 2 weeks from Monday.  Guess what we will be doing until then????  We have to put our room together, do our bulletin boards, move a few more things, make all the name tags,etc and do all the regular paper work type of things.  But today, Tanya is coming to my house and we are making 18 of the crate storage seats!!  We will be using them at our reading tables and as seats for the students to use at our computers.  Can't wait to post pictures of our finished products!!  Have a great weekend everyone!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back to School Books

Debbie Diller is asking readers to post what books we read to our class on the first few days of school. She has a list of some great ones! Tanya and I love to read The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn to our class. It is such a sweet story and the students can relate to the little raccoon. Last school year, we had a precious little girl who was suffering extreme separation anxiety from her mom. Her mother read in our first week's newsletter that The Kissing Hand was one of the books we had read aloud to our class. She bought the book and it became a nightly read at their house. The best part about the whole thing was that little Miss MM started coming to school with a heart drawn on the palm of her hand and it helped her get over missing her mom so much. We would see her looking down at the heart and kissing it sometimes. One of the best memories of the school year!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What we have been up to...

Well, Tanya and I have caught the organizing and labeling bug! We are in the midst of moving out of a small cramped classroom and into a very large and roomy one. We have only been able to move small things like things from our cabinets and closet. None of our furniture or large items have been moved because one of the teachers moving out of our new classroom has to wait until some new classrooms that were just finished being built in our school building pass inspection. The inspections were today and.... No Passy!! So, with only 19 days and counting until kindergarten orientation and parent night, we are neck deep in STRESS!!! We are just repeating over and over, "It will all get done! It will all be good!" Our poor administrators are a little stressed, too!
To make ourselves feel better and to help remind us of all we have done, I am going to post some pictures of the awesome organization we have done!!
Tanya took a few trips to Big Lots and purchased these great tubs/totes. She worked hard to organize our reading materials for small group, whole group, and stations. Here are a couple of shelves in our reading closet.
These tubs/totes are holding our books on tapes/cds. We categorized them into themes so we can easily just pull down the bin labeled with whatever we are teaching and put the materials into our "Listening to Reading" station. Tanya made labels using a Lettering Delights font that looks western because our classroom has a western/cowboy theme. These tubs are on the top of one of the sets of cabinets in our classroom.
Some of our arts and crafts supplies are in this cabinet and yes, we labeled it too! The rest of the arts and crafts supplies are in the cabinet next to this one and the cabinet under it. ALL LABELED!
We are so lucky to have 2 sets of these awesome wide shallow drawers in our classroom. Tanya labeled each drawer with either what kind of paper is in the drawer or what color 12X18 construction paper is in it.
Okay, all our math books used to be in one tub that was just labeled "math". Actually in a few tubs labeled "math". So, I decided to organize them into categories. We now have tubs for patterns, counting, numbers, colors, addition & subtraction, time & calendar, shapes, measurement, sorting & comparing, fractions, and Greg Tang & other. WOO HOO! I know I will use more of my math books now that I know where they are!
A close-up of the cute western style font I purchased for 50 cents at Lettering Delights! I used this font for the labels on the math book tubs.
I sorted our math materials and used the very cool labels Deanna Jump and Mrs. Wills Kindergarten were so kind to share!
More of the math materials! One whole side of one of our closets is now full of math stuff!

We aren't finished yet! We have made labels for all the supplies the students will be bringing with them. We have the empty cabinets for these things waiting...
So, I think Tanya and I will have a new motto this school year...."A place for everything and everything in it's place!"
While you are all setting up your classrooms for the new school year, just say a little pray for us!! Hopefully we will be all moved in and ready to roll by the time our students get there!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

New Classroom! Lots more space!!

Tanya and I are fortunate enough to be moving into a very large classroom this summer. We are slowly moving things into cabinets and closets right now and trying to be very organized while doing so. We have been using the awesome labels everyone has been sharing! The classroom seems rather large to us right now because we have taught the last 2 school years with 40 students in a classroom meant to be a science lab. I am sure our new dreamy HUGE classroom will start feeling smaller when we get all our furniture and kiddos in there. Here is my question, if you had more space in your classroom than you do now, what would you add or improve? Also, if you have blogged about your classroom arrangement, direct us to that post so we can get some ideas. We are so excited about the extra space!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sneak Peek

We are working on a "Parent Packet" for student orientation. It will contain forms for the parents to fill out and important info about our classroom. Look for the whole packet in our TPT store very soon.
Tell Me About Your Child

Monday, July 11, 2011

Behavior Systems and Rewards

Hello to all our blogger friends! We need some ideas. Tanya and I want to change the way we track behavior through out the school day. We have used the green light, yellow light, and red light system for the last 2 years. And if a student didn't move their clip all week, they would get to go to our pitiful little treasure box on Friday. We use a laminated red file folder that has a chart/calendar for the whole school year on the inside and mark it each day so the parents will know how their child behaved that day. We called them "behavior charts" and we kept them in the back of the student's binders. It was taken home each day but only initialed by the parents on Fridays. We are tired to DEATH of this and want a more positive way to deal with this in the classroom.
What do you all do? And how do you reward the students? Please leave us a comment and share your idea! If you have blogged about this in a past post, please direct us to that post.
We thank all of you for sharing all your great ideas!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bargains Found and Ideas for "Meet the Teacher Day"

I love to read all the blogs about wonderful bargains found at different stores. Well, yesterday I was able to score a couple myself and I am so excited about this one especially!!

This is a rolling metal cart that has an electrical outlet in it!! And it works!! And it only cost $9.88 at my local thrift store! I might paint it or not. I am thinking we will use it either as an overhead projector stand for station work or we can use it for our "Elmo". Not sure yet.

I also hit up my favorite Dollar Tree and found sets of magnetic letters. We give these as a goody at student orientation or "meet the teacher day". Below I have attached the list of ideas we give the parents with the set of magnetic letters and a copy of the scavenger hunt we use. Don't leave without downloading them if you like them!!

I found this little four pack of signs that I thought could work well during different parts of the school day.
I am thinking we could take the "Quiet" sign with us in the hallways or cafeteria. We could also teach our students to watch for us to stand up and hold the "Please Line Up Quietly" sign when we are at recess as a signal for them to come off the playground and get ready to go back inside. The "Eyes On Me" sign could be used during whole group activities as a reminder to listen and watch quietly. And, the "Please Raise Your Hand" sign could simply be held up when there is too much calling out. Since I teach kindergarten, I know I will have to go over what each sign says and means several times before the students will catch on. I like these because they are a way of communicating with our students silently. I found these at Dollar Tree!!

Okay, so here is what we do during student orientation. Our students are invited to our classroom a couple of days before their first day of school. This is a teacher work day for us. We ask the students to bring all of their supplies. We set up places for them to put the supplies around the classroom and even in the hallways for the big items like paper towels, kleenex, etc. We try to greet each student as they come in and direct them to their seats. At their seats, we have a copy of a scavenger hunt for them to complete with their parents. Once they have finished the scavenger hunt, they will have put away all their supplies and become familiar with where they will hang their backpacks. As a treat for completing the scavenger hunt, we give each student a set of magnetic letters to take home. We wrap the letters in clear cellophane bags tied with a ribbon. We attach a list of 15 ways to use magnetic letters. This list is for the parents. It gives them several ideas on how to help their child work and learn with the letters at home.
Kindergarten Scavenger Hunt

15 Ways to Use Magnetic Letter