Sunday, September 2, 2012

Classroom Tour

Ok, so I've learned that I absolutely do NOT have time to update this blog during the teaching week. Not only is it the beginning of the year, so it's hectic for EVERYONE, but I am even busier than usual. I am still nursing Easton, so I have to give up at least 20 minutes of my morning and my lunch to pump.  And, I have to leave right at 3:30 to get to Easton by 4:00 in time to nurse. And, I cannot get to school any earlier than 7:30 on account of nursing him at 7. Whew. That leaves my 40-minute daily planning period to get almost everything done! And the nights are really busy, especially because I have to use the time after E goes to sleep to get any other school work, house work, and relaxation in before bedtime. Moms--you know what I'm talking about!

So here is my classroom this year.

Pros: BIG room, tables instead of desks (saves tons of room!), interactive white board lends itself to a distinct, large whole group area, I've been able to integrate creative ideas that I got from other teacher blogs

Cons: I didn't have much time at all to work on my room this summer (next summer I will bear this in mind and use a baby sitter while I set up my room, instead of trying to do everything with him in tow!), in the process of making everything a bit cuter, so some things are still un-cute ;)

This is the door to my classroom. Our school uses PBS (positive behavior support) and we strive to be "Excellent Eagles" in our school. These are the students' charts for that school-wide system. I use my own behavior system in tandem with this one. We have a ladder that goes from Outstanding-Great Work-Good Work-Ready to Learn-Slow Down-Think About It-Unacceptable. The children can move up and down this ladder throughout the day and then, at the end of a month, if they have less than 10 moves down (-10 overall), they get a sticker on this chart for the appropriate month. Then they are able to participate in the school-wide reward.
 The view of my room from the windows/whole-group area. You can see the corner of our reading table (left side of pic) and much of the front wall. Posted are my whole-brain teaching rules and mail slots (yellow arrow). The green arrow shows my "Finished Board" that has a Math side (right) and a ELA side (right). Each colored shape gives the students an idea of something to work on, such as "Flash cards," and "Sudoku puzzles" on the math side and "write a story" and "Choose a reading project" on the ELA side. I'm thinking I will do a post on this down the road. Anyway, the pink arrow shows the "May Do" and "Must Do" sections of the board, where I put assignments that the students May Do (read, choose from the "Finished Board") when they are finished and those they Must Do (like finish assignments, etc.). Next to the May Do and Must Do are the objectives for ELA, math, and science/social studies. The blue arrow is pointing to the daily schedule, which are just handwritten cards slid into a $1 pocket chart from Target. (I love you Target!). On the far right of the board are the homework assignments. The red arrow is pointing to the behavior ladder and the students' magnets. I bought a box of 30 magnets from Office Max for around $5 and wrote my student numbers on them. That was quicker and easier than buying magnetic tape and putting pretty paper on each one and labeling them that way! In this picture you can also see my calendar wall, which has the calendar, a dry erase board with the date written this way (8-31-12) for the kids to see, and colorful clocks with hands glued onto them which show the times of the following: arrival, specials, lunch, and dismissal. Thanks to Clutter free classroom for those great ideas! You can also see some of my tables :)
 This picture shows my reading table, which wasn't really photo-ready, but here is where I do my guided reading and math lessons. Behind it on the windowsill are the collection bins for homework, ELA, and science. You can also see the Birthday Castle on the closet door. I already have more on that door, including the I-charts for the daily 5 choices and the "Word of the Week" for vocabulary.
 This pic shows my students' lockers and my (in progress!) Word Work area. Stay tuned for another post dedicated just to my D5 setup. On top of the lockers are the student book boxes. You can find my fancy locker numbers on TpT here! Ignore the desk in front of the Word Work area; I didn't know what to do with it at the time lol!
 Here is a better view of my classroom library/Read to Self area. You can also see my calendar wall in greater detail. My book box signs are one of those aesthetic improvements I would've made had I had more time...On the top shelf of the white bookshelf are my Book Check-Out envelopes. I have sign-out sheets on a clipboard next to the library. If the students would like to check out a book, they sign it out and keep it in an envelope. Each envelope is laminated with a paper that states my policies: take care of the book, return as soon as you are finished, but no later than a week, student is responsible for replacing the book if anything happens, etc.
 A view of my room from my desk, which is next to the mail slots and D5 rules from the 2nd picture. Note the iPad keyboard and charging cable on the front table that I forgot to move!! You can see the way I do classroom jobs in the picture. Each seat has a small rectangular piece of laminated paper taped next to it on the tabletop. I have table jobs. More about this in a future post! Too much to explain here, but I will say that it's the best way I've ever done jobs. Also, the name tags are names taped to folded paint sample cards from Home Depot. Thanks CF-classroom again!!
 This is my Promethean and whole-group area. The yellow arrow is pointing to my clipboard box. The students use clipboards when they sit on the floor. The pink arrow shows the Listen to Reading area. (And my easel that is on the floor!) The green arrow shows the Work on Writing area. The blue arrow shows the math carts. I picked the small one up at a yard sale for $5! The colorful one was an amazing find! It was out on the curb in my neighborhood for trash pickup! I saw it on my evening walk with my husband and we came back to get it after our walk!!! Inside these carts are Everyday Math materials, calculators, rulers, dice, games, manipulatives, and flash cards. On top of them are books with a math theme, and stacks of graph/grid paper. 
 This picture shows a bunch :) It shows a little more than my previous picture. The blue arrow is pointing at the seashell table label that is hanging from the ceiling. I will explain this in my Classroom Jobs posting! The yellow arrows point at my D5 and Math Workshop bulletin boards. (Math BB ideas compliments of CF classroom!) The aqua arrow points at my Read to Someone area, where I store all my books that have 2 or more copies. There are separate baskets of fiction picture books, nonfiction picture books, and fiction chapter books. The white arrow points again at the math carts (see above pic for explanation). The green arrow is pointing at my table organizers, where I store community supplies such as extra pencils, dry erase markers, and colored pencils; highlighters; Sharpies; scissors; glue bottles, and red pens (for checking work). Students each have a pencil box for their own supplies, and the books are all stored on the back counter. The pink arrow is pointing at the table crate, and each of the 6 tables have a crate. We use them to store our STAR binders, personal slates (small dry erase boards), and brain books (thanks to Cooperative Learning 365 for this idea ) You can also see a student desk (for anyone who would like to sit alone and/or cannot handle the table on any given day), our Super Speed Math and Reading folders (see Whole Brain teaching for this one!), and our Privacy folders (old pocket folders we put up when taking tests) and Absence folders (file folders with cute clipart on the front that say "We missed you!" that students get when absent). To the right of this photo is back to our reading table.

 I hope you've enjoyed our classroom tour. In upcoming posts, I will discuss/explain how I do Classroom Jobs, and our Daily 5 setups. Stay tuned next weekend ;)


*This post is part of my "Back-to-School" series!*

Pin It!


  1. It looks like you got a lot done in a very short time for having Easton in tow. There are never enough hours in the day no matter what, but kids make it extra nuts. I am taking off until Noah hits kindergarten. I'm glad we even had that choice because I realize we are lucky to, but with us being home number four, it would have been impossible to work even if we couldn't have afforded it. I think it looks great and the way you organize gives them freedom and responsibility but also structure and support. I like that you aren't wasting time on simple organizational tasks and material management.

    1. Mrs. Czeh,

      Thank you :) It's wonderful to get to be home with your son. I had 7 blissful months with Easton, and even though it was a tight financial time, it was well worth it for the entire family. Enjoy your next few years. Also, thanks for the compliments. We learn more and more every year, and I hope to keep learning from others for the next 20 or more years...

  2. Hi Mrs. S,

    Your room looks great! My husband said he loved your behavior management chart and how it is sideways instead of up and down. I know how hard it is to get a room ready with kids in tow. Unfortunately, I have found it doesn't get any better as they get older. Taking them to the babysitter is the best way to get it finished more quickly (emphasis on more). I was so sorry to miss BTS night, but visiting your blog is even better. Mikaela is loving you and your teaching. What a blessing that is! Thanks for all you do and I'll be checking your blog for your great ideas. P.S. There does seem to be a lot less time this year, doesn't it?

    1. Mrs. B,

      Thank you so much! I was great seeing your husband at BTSN! I am so thrilled that Mikaela is having a good time so far. I love having her in class--she is a great role model, and so sweet, and participates, and is super smart--all the great things that a student can be! And yes, there seems to be a LOT less time this year....EVERY one (and I mean all the teachers I've spoken with, from 25+ year teachers to brand new teachers in their first year) feels overwhelmed and frazzled already. But, we keep going because we love the kids!! I just started following you on Pinterest as well. Sharing ideas is the most amazing thing about teaching and trying to get better and better....

  3. Oh, I forgot to ask...where did you get the white magazine boxes...I am looking for something like that too!

    1. They are from Ikea. They are called Flit and are $2.00 for 5 boxes. My sister lives about 2 minutes away from the Philly Ikea and she grabbed them for me. In the past, I've made trips down to White Marsh to the Baltimore Ikea.

  4. Thanks! Will be checking into those boxes this weekend. Have a great week!