Monday, August 19, 2013

Classroom Reveal

Yay! My classroom is finally mostly set up! I still have some details to finish, but the big pieces are all in place. Now, keep in mind that I am no Schoolgirl Style, but my mother does have an interior design degree, and every now and then I channel her just a little.

When I was hired a week and a half after the start of school last year, I was most grateful to walk into an already set-up room even though it was not "me" at all.  It was not bright colors and was very plain. This was it last year:

And here is what I started with this year. I took down all that red and brown in preparation of beach-ifying my room.

I started with that back wall. I used fadeless paper I bought at Lakeshore... I got one roll in lime green and another that was an ocean pattern. That ocean one was a steal... one roll did all that you see in the photos, and I still have some left over! For my borders, I used a combination of waves and sea animals. On the left of that back wall are my math posters. The top right has reading genre posters.

That part in the bottom middle is from the book Super Grammar. You should totally check out the author's blog. He has those free posters. It's pretty cool!

And here is my guided reading table and information board. It has the calendar, lunch count, agenda, and my favorite subject flip flops to post our daily objectives.

The front of the room needed some more beach, so I added wave border to the top of the board and some beachy accents of the hula skirt and sea animal cut outs.

Here is more of a close up on the Elmo area... I made some morning and afternoon procedure posters that I hung there.

The classroom library got organized by my teenage daughter. It seems they are quite useful occasionally. Ha!

This is my Leader in Me tree poster on the door to my closet and my behavior clip chart. Below it, I have the pencil sharpener and the buckets for sharp and dull pencil. On the shelves, I keep paper, white boards, markers, erasers, and the math kits.

I ended up with a blank wall, so I decided to "science" it up by adding some photographs I took during our Florida Keys vacation. They go with our science curriculum too.

These are my rotation turtles to keep track of what special class we have each day. It is a student's job to change it at the end of each day.

Even my closet is sort of organized to start the year. We'll see how long that lasts.

So, finally, for the whole effect, here is what you see when you stand at my door. Is it perfect? No. Do I love it? Yes!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Back to School Sale

I know many of you are already back at school, but Teachers Pay Teachers and most sellers want to help you get the resources you need. The annual Back to School Sale is August 18 and 19. Everything in my store (plus many other fabulous stores) will be 20% off plus, enter the code BTS13 at check out to get an extra 10% off. That's a total of 28% off at most stores!

I start on Monday for a week of inservice with students starting on August 26, so it's pretty good timing for me. Although I have been buying resources all summer long, I managed to find more for my shopping cart. Imagine that, right?!?! Here's a peek at what's in my cart:
Usually I try to save the higher priced items for a sale:
First there's the 4th Grade TEKS "I Can" Statements Bundle from 4MulaFun. I teach 4th grade in Texas, so this is perfect... all four care subjects with all the objectives in one bundle. Just what I need to help students be accountable and know what they should be learning.

Next there's the 4th Grade Interactive Reading Notebook from Nicole Shelby. This one is aligned to the Common Core, which we don't use in Texas, but much of it applies anyway. It has easy-to-follow instructions as well as photos of actual notebook pages. I do love photos! And if you are a 4th grade teacher, you should definitely check out Nicole's store.

Third in my cart is Texas Indians an Integrated Unit from Educating Everyone 4 Life. Fourth grade is where we teach this subject, and integration is always a good thing... especially for my ESL sweetie pies. Plus, social studies resources are always pretty hard to come by.

Next are the Newsletter Templates in a Fun Beach Theme from MsFultzsCorner. There are 12 included, one for each month, and with my beach-themed classroom this year, these were a must-buy! Plus, Christi Fultz is the bomb!!!

Finally, I had to include an item from my go-to fourth grade seller, Jennifer Runde of Runde's Room. I can't believe I didn't already own her Interactive Math Journal, but that is going to be remedied soon. 165 pages of math journal ideas with all major math concepts covered. It's a must-have if you teach math to older kiddos!

So, that's what's in my cart. What other amazing things can you find to benefit yourself and your kiddos?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Writing Workshop Teacher Toolbox

 I wrote earlier in the summer about going to a three-week writing institute and being apprehensive about it. Well, I went, and IT WAS AWESOME!!!!! Wow! It was basically a mini graduate-level class complete with two textbooks, all of which was provided by my district. The training was based in the New Jersey Writing Project and was all about how to launch and implement writing workshop in the elementary classroom. And how did we learn? By going through writing workshop ourselves! It was so cool... a lot of work... but so beneficial. 

You know those days when students sit there and refuse to write anything? I had those. You know those students who "don't know what to write about"? That was me. You know those students who think they are done, but they are no where close? Yep, you got. I did that too. It was so valuable to be able to be in my students' shoes. When school starts in a couple of weeks, and I launch writing workshop with my own fourth graders, I can tell them I know exactly what they are thinking, feeling, and going through... because I was there.

Yes, we wrote... every day. And we had to produce two finished pieces... a personal narrative for publishing in our class anthology, and an extensive piece that we were to submit for publication to a real magazine.

And I got so many ideas for the classroom... from prewriting strategies to grouping to mini lessons to revising to editing. I will post on them as I use them with my kiddos. For now, I thought I would focus on getting things started so I created a new product. It's my first new product in like... FOREVER! 

I created the Writing Workshop Teacher Toolbox, a set of six forms to use in writing workshop. Also included is a list of procedure mini lessons to teach at the launch of writing workshop. Forms included are:
• Mentor Text Chart
• Baseline Sample Analysis Form
• What We Are Working On Form
• I'm Ready for a Conference
• Conferencing Form
• Comments from the Reader

Here are a few sample images of a few of the forms:

Since these forms are intended to be used by the teacher, they are good for all grade levels. I will using them with my students, and I hope you can use them with yours too.

And stay tuned for more tales from the writing workshop this year.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Currently in August

Oh boy! I am so excited I finally got off my butt and am joining in Oh Boy 4th Grade's monthly Currently linky party! I see it all the time and love it, but I have never linked up. There's a first time for everything! And I am sure this won't be my last time either.

I can't believe it's August already... and this August for me is so different from a year ago when I didn't have a job and desperately wanted one. Wow, I would have put way different responses on these last year. But now is now! And it is good! And all I want is to get into my classroom and get started!

This year I have also decided that I will be doing Oh Boy 4th Grade's Currently for Your Classroom with my students. You see, we are a Leader in Me school, and I thought Currently would be a perfect addition for their data notebooks. How fun to have a year's worth of responses to see how they changed! Plus, you never know when something like this might spark a great writing idea! I already have them printed and ready to be copied for my new sweeties whom I haven't even met yet!

So, here's to setting up classroom, finding the rug of my dreams, and drowning myself in chocolate!