Saturday, August 24, 2013

Classroom coming along nicely

Well, it's been a bit slower than I'd like, but it's finally starting to take shape.  Here are some sneak peeks of my classroom.  It's not totally ready for next week's open house, but I took pictures of some of the newest pieces.

Lots left to do, but I'm really loving my color scheme.  How is your classroom coming?

Finally joining Bloglovin -- Follow me there if you'd like

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Hoping this sets up my blog in Bloglovin.  Watch for buttons on my sidebar as soon as I figure that out!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bookshelf is painted and in my classroom!

I bought this bookshelf at a thrift store a few weeks ago.  Two cans of spray paint later, and new cabinet hardware, it's in my classroom and ready to use!  I'm loving this piece of furniture.  I'm thinking about adding some accents to it, too, but not sure what to add or if I've got time for it.

What do you think?  Does it need some white accent paint in the grooves of the doors?  Does it need contact paper on the shelves?  Does it need something else?  Am I being overly crazy in thinking that I should do anything more to it in these 2 weeks before school starts?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Attendance and Lunch Count Board

Here's a picture of that board I got earlier this summer.  I've got magnet clips with cute little smiley faces :) on them.  Each student will get a number at the beginning of the year.  In the mornings when they arrive, they'll take a card for the type of lunch they are having (blue = lunch from home, orange = school hot lunch, green = school salad) and hang it with their clip.  I can easily see who has arrived and their lunch choice so I can quickly enter it into the computer system right away.  One student will have the daily class job of removing the cards once attendance/lunch count are entered. 

Do you do something like this?  Do you use magnet boards in other ways?  I'd love to hear about it!  Comment here.  Share your blog address.  I'll come visit! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Welcome sign ready to hang!

I'll be in my classroom a lot this week, since we have meetings all week the following week.  I need to get my room all set up and pretty ASAP! 

So, here come the posts of what I've been working on and what will be part of my decor as I get going.  Today's post is my new Welcome sign.  I painted it myself.  This was so much fun to do.  Years ago, a student gave this sign to me, but it had really old-fashioned teacher stuff like apples and a teacher's desk.  It was cute, but not my style these days.  Nothing a few scrapbooking supplies won't fix!  :)

What do you think?  Do you have a welcome sign in your classroom? I'd love to see a picture!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Back to School "Before" Pictures

I did it.  I went into my classroom to actually DO something in there.  I've stopped by a few times this summer for other reasons and poked my head inside to grab a manual or measure the window for curtains.  Today, though, I actually spent time in my room. 

It's been several years since I've had my own classroom.  I've been an ESL teacher with an office for the past few years, teaching my lessons at a table in a little hallway nook. Before that, I was a substitute teacher/grad student since I was new to the area and jobs were scarce.  Before that, I was a "Long Term Leave Replacement" teacher in a few different settings while my husband worked on a temporary grant at a major university in New Jersey.  I haven't actually had my own classroom (where I wasn't a temporary 1 year leave replacement in someone else's room) since the spring of 2004.  OMG!  That's a loonnnngggg time!

While I've had lots of experience keeping myself portable and using another teacher's space/materials/organizational systems, it's been years since I've had to organize myself for myself in my own space.  Know what I mean? 

So, today I went in.  It was a daunting task.  At least the previous teacher left it very empty for me.  And the custodial staff did an awesome job of cleaning it all for me.  But I had to just stand there and look at the space for a little bit.  I needed to see its potential.  Since I've been an ESL teacher at this school for a few years, I knew what the previous teacher in that space had done with the desks, the tables, the bookshelves.  I needed to figure out what's going to work for me. So I stood there.  And stood there.  Then I took a few pictures and stood there some more.

It's very clean, isn't it?  
Everything had been shoved to the front so the custodial staff could clean the carpeting.

 Well, bookshelves on the table make the floors easy to clean.
Plus, they're empty, so there are lots of opportunities for how to use them at this point.

And then I opened the...

dun dun dun...

I had known it was there.  I was trying to forget about it all summer long.  Everything this teacher left behind is shoved in here.  There's no real organization.  The shelves are drooping.  The heaviest stuff is on the top.  The bottom has a lot of space only because our old curriculum had been boxed up for disposal and one of our administrators just came in this week and got it.  Otherwise, that part had been full the last time I looked at it.

Well, I couldn't do it today, either. I closed the closet doors and pretended it didn't exist.  Perhaps I'll look at it tomorrow. :)  Instead, I spent several hours arranging furniture, testing different options before I start filling up the bookshelves and desks.  I was sweaty and exhausted, but I think I know how it's going to be set up. 

 I still don't have all the furniture where I want it.  I just couldn't move a couple of things by themselves.  My husband has offered to help on Friday morning, so I'll save it for him then.  I didn't take any pictures yet because I'm not totally sure there's been an improvement yet.  

But don't worry!  I'm going back in tomorrow and the next day and will be working on some great projects over the weekend to turn this boring, plain, empty room into one that is vibrant, exciting, and fabulous.  Just wait - you'll see!  (Hey -- maybe you should follow me so you actually remember to come back and check?  Just a suggestion!)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

One month left!

I enjoyed my summer, but now it's time to get down to business.  School starts for me in exactly one month.  I have only 31 days to get everything ready for the first day of school in a classroom that is new to me.  I'm trying not to freak out!

This year, I'm going to be prepared ahead of time, right?  It'll all be done 2 weeks early and I'll be able to relax during the professional development meetings and concentrate on all the new learning, right?

Taking another slow, calming breath...

Anybody else feeling this way?

Friday, August 2, 2013

DIY magnets and push pins

Remember this picture from a few weeks ago?

Well, I made them! 

I've got 12 magnets, 12 push pins, and 12 extras that I haven't totally decided what I'm going to do with them, but they were my first set and I wanted to make sure it worked.

It was easy (but the dry time takes FOREVER!).

Mix the plaster as directed on the package.  Pour into mold.  Let dry.  Paint.  Spray with clear epoxy.

If you want to add magnets, it was easiest to fill the mold halfway full, then wait a few hours for it to dry.  Next, place the magnet in the mold and fill the remaining space with plaster. 

The push pins were tall enough that I could add them right away. 

So, they're blue and shiny.  But are they too plain?  I can't decide if I want to doodle on them or bling them up or just leave them as is.  Any thoughts???

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Poke cards are up (3rd grade Math vocab set)

I've listed a set of "poke cards" in my TPT store for 3rd grade math vocabulary.  If you've never seen poke cards in action, they're an awesome self-checking activity for students.  Click here to go to my TPT store or follow the link on the right.

The students read the question, poke their pencil (or other tool) in the hole under the answer they believe is correct, and then flip it over to check.

These will be used at the beginning of the year as review for my 5th graders to practice on their own. 

A fourth grade math vocabulary set is coming soon, too!