Classroom Reveal {2013}...Come and Take a Look!

I am so excited to share my classroom reveal with you today!!  I'm linking up with Courtney from Swimming Into Second and Jessica from Tales of a First Grade Teacher, so be sure to check out their links at the end of this post.

Every year I change my theme, so it's always fun to see everything come together. (Note: I have promised myself, and others, that I will reuse this theme next year.  So far, no one believes that I will....)

Warning: there are lots of pictures in this post!

Welcome to Room 44!

Here is the view of the classroom from my door.  I love the hanging pom poms!!

I hate that the wall above the whiteboard is split in half by these "after market" projectors.  Does this drive anyone else crazy?

That's a blurry Little Peanut that you see in the picture above. 

Here is a view of the whole room from my desk.

This is my desk.  It's so neat...I wonder how long it will stay this way?  If you look carefully, you can see Little Peanut's mural on the whiteboard in the background.

I have two bulletin boards in my room.  One is designated for student work.

The other is used for Calendar.  I love the pink chair!  That's where I sit while leading calendar, during read alouds, and the students can earn the privilege of sitting in that chair as well.

 (I took the picture above before I put the calendar numbers up, but I wanted to include a straight on view of the board too).

This picture shows the other end of the calendar.  The bookcase holds all of my backup supplies (glue, erasers, etc).  I love the cozy feel of the lamp!

Here is my birthday display.  I have yet to add the cards with the students' names (I won't get my class list, which includes this information, until the end of the week).  

No classroom would be complete without a rules display.

You can grab this free set of rules from Miss Nelson here.

The back wall of my classroom is mostly covered by two storage cabinets (on wheels), the space that is left over is a bit small, but perfectly suited for my jobs board and a small bit of decor.  Each pocket will be labeled with the different class jobs that I have.  The students' names will be written on cards sized to fit inside the pockets.  I rotate jobs (almost) every week.  My students do not all have jobs every week.  If they are not assigned a job, they are simply on vacation; they love that!

I can never seem to fit all of my students' work on the interior bulletin board, so I took this awkward space above our built in racks to create a showcase of work.  This allows for some overflow from the bulletin board.

(The paper is warped in this photo because this past weekend was a stormy one and the building became rather humid as a result.  Needless to say, I spent some time fixing a lot of stuff).

These posters are a necessity in my room.  Without them, the students have a difficult time remembering how to code words during Saxon Phonics.  So, I used some borders and shiny stars to spruce them up a bit.  I also use this space to "advertise" what students may do when they finish an assignment early.  It is conveniently located above the "I'm Done" box.

This is my class library.  My librarian friend helped me sort and color code the books several years ago.  The system remains effective.  Each book has a colored tab taped to the spine that matches the color of the book bin label.

These bins will hold different math games that my students get to play when we finish our math lesson early, but are still within the time limits of our math block.

I was also able to get my wardrobes (closets on wheels) organized.  I never feel like any arrangement within these carts is the best, but at least it looks neat (enough).

Finally, this is my hallway display.  My students' work will go in the big empty space.  We are required to switch out student work once a month.  I'm looking forward to filling the space in the next week! (Sorry about the dark quality of the picture, I turned on the hallways lights but that didn't seem to do much good).

I made each of the characters by tracing the different parts onto scrapbook paper and then gluing them together.  Here is a close up of the girl.

Well, there you have it!  I hope you enjoyed touring my classroom!

You can find more fun and exciting classroom reveals over at Courntney's blog, Swimming into Second.  Click the image below to head over there!

I'm also linking up my classroom reveal with Jessica from Tales of a First Grade Teacher. Be sure to head on over and see her beautiful room and while you're there, link yours up too! Simply click the image and it will take you to Jessica's linky party.

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A Few New Ideas for the Upcoming School Year

Every year I look for ways to make things better in my classroom.  Sometimes this means that I'm looking to make my room look and feel the best that it can, or I might look for new ways to teach certain subjects/topics.  I might also look for better ways to run my classroom.  Sometimes, I do all three!

With many of us heading back to school (and, some of you are already back at school), I thought I would share a few new "tricks" I plan on using to run my classroom this year. I've tried to be as specific as I can-in other words, there are more words than pictures in this post.  Brace yourself.  I hope that a few of the ideas appeal to you (maybe you may already do some of these things)!

Ring-a-Ding-Ding-That's what I'm calling this procedure.  At the suggestion of a colleague, I purchased a teacher bell.  Yep, 9 years of teaching and no teacher bell in my possession.  They're ugly and I'm not a fan of the sound; well, I got over that because I loved the idea so much!  When/if the students get off task, I am going to ring the bell.  I will train teach the students that when I ring-a-ding-ding the bell that they are to immediately stop what they are doing, stand up, and fold their arms.  I will then remind them of the expectations.

I really need to do something to spruce up this bell a bit.

Point of Order-This is a procedure for entering the room.  Whenever the students enter the room (in the morning, after lunch or specials, etc), they will walk in quietly, stand behind their desk and wait for directions.  I love this idea, but I also plan to have my students stand with their arms folded and their finger on their lips as they wait (that's how they are expected to walk in our school hallways).

I always stop my class prior to entering and give directions as to what to do once they enter the classroom, but there's still always that sense of slight chaotic commotion once they are inside.  I like the idea of having them standing at the ready.  I think this will help them recognize that they are back in the classroom and it's time to get down to business, and they might follow my directions a bit more quickly. 

Help Me Circle!-One thing that really bugged me last year was when my students would raise their hand for help and I just couldn't get to them fast enough (rest assured, it doesn't bug me when they raise their hand to ask for help, it just bugs me when they have to wait for me).  Enter the red circle.

I will have this year's kiddos put the red circle in the corner of their desk if they need help with something. (To make these, I simply laminated some red cardstock and used my 3 inch paper punch to cut out the circles).  I will teach them that they are to continue working on other parts of their assignment until I get to them.  I know that some people use different colors to denote different needs (green=I'm doing fine, etc), but for me, I just need to know when they need me, that's why I only plan to use the red circle.

Table Points-I use the table point system in my classroom.  Whenever a table group, as a whole, is working quietly or transitions quickly, they earn points.   At the end of the week, I let the winning table group choose a privilege, in addition to other students who earned a privilege (this equates to about 10 privileges a week that require notes and/or some kind of coordinating to get things in place).  Ugh, too much to deal with.

Enter a PD session where I got the greatest tips ever from a few colleagues.  One told me that she rewards her table point winners throughout the day.  For instance, whichever table has the most points at lunchtime gets to go out to the playground first when lunchtime rolls around.  Once they are outside, she dismisses the rest of the class.  So simple!  Genius!  I'm totally stealing borrowing that idea.  Thanks B.D.!

Another colleague shared that when independent writing time rolls around each day, she lets that day's table point winners write on the carpet with a clipboard. Again, so simple and so genius!  Totally using that one too.

I also plan to let the table group with the most points at the end of the day pack up first.  These are all things that 7 year olds will love and for me, will be so much easier than trying to schedule and coordinate 10 different privileges each week.

And finally, since so many of us are heading back in the next few days, I wanted to remind you of a few back to school freebies that I have made available to you in the past few weeks, in case you missed them.  The first is this set of first day of school photo props.  Click the image to download the item for free from TpT.

Last week, I offered a few gift tag freebies.  Click {HERE} to go to that post and grab your freebies, if you missed them the first time around.

What do you plan to do differently this year?


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Rockin' Decor and More {Monday Made It}

Yay!  It's Monday...time for Tara's Monday Made It linky!!


I have a few made its to share today.  The first is this little wood plaque that I painted.  I was walking through one of the wood/paint aisles at Michael's (looking for something totally unrelated to my classroom) and there it was, just calling to me.  At $3, I threw it in the cart along with some black glitter (acrylic) paint.  I simply painted one coat of plain black as the base and then several coats of the black sparkle on top of that.  It doesn't photograph well, but I hope you get the idea.

My next made it is also full sparkly goodness!

Eek!  I am loving these guitars!  The inspiration for them came from Schoolgirl Style.

I used these materials to make them. Those sparkly rolls are wrapping paper! Everything is from Michael's (the guitar cut outs came in a set of six and were on clearance for 99 cents!).

I used the sponge brush to cover one side of the guitar with Mod Podge and then I set it "gluey" side down to the back of the sparkly wrapping paper and let it dry over night.

Next, I cut the excess paper off.  I'm not going to lie, this part was tricky.  There are lots of curves and tight turns on those guitars, and as you know, wrapping paper isn't the strongest paper; cut slowly and carefully, if you try this.

Finally, I used my Cricut (I'm old school like that, no Silhouette Cameo in this household) to cut out a few black stars and glued them to each guitar.  I am loving these blingy guitars.  Here they are again, just because I love them so much.

Rock on!!

Finally, I made a few more sets of sight word flash cards (I ran out of paper and was only able to get these ones put together for now).  They are from the latest installment in my Flash On series.  I broke each set into two smaller sets because I didn't have any giant binder rings and I wanted a manageable amount of flash cards for my students to use in their "down time" as  I am going to put these out for my fast finishers (the set includes 5 different cover options for each set of cards).


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