I feel like I birthed a child or completed some sort of Olympic sport: "Back to School Back Injury Backflips".
I'll save you my medical drama but to make a long story short... apparently we have these things called SI joints and I slipped mine and the pain is right up there with childbirth (I kid you not) so setting up my classroom with a slipped out SI joint has involved: chiropractor visits, doctor appointments, physical therapy, wine (not in the classroom....at home, silly) ibuprofen, lumbar pillows, exercises, swearing, and Vicodin and not necessarily in that order.
It has also involved WWE wrestling. Yes, you read that correctly.
In order to get some work done I had to
Yup...parenting at it's finest right there.
Oh the things we do to get things done.....
Well...let's back up and pretend that never happened.
And this is my word wall. I'm a bit worried about fitting all the words on it but...it looks cute so....I'll worry about that later. I did have to move the banner letters down because my buddy the fire marshall..... yeaaaaa.....
At the front of the classroom, where we have our rug and our morning meeting, I have our classroom rules (based on Whole Brain teaching) and our hand signals. The hand signals are from Clutter-Free Classroom's Classroom Management Bundle which is amazing! If you don't already own it, I highly recommend it for new and veteran teachers alike.
I love, love, love these Alphabet Photo Cards from Adventures in Kindergarten that I use every year for my alphabet. Since we use Fundations in my district, I love the authentic photos that correlate with the program but are, as I said....authentic. I also love those Be an Expert books that are hanging from my easel (Be a Reading Expert and the other is Be a Writing Expert) by A Year of Many Firsts. She is pretty much my teacher crush so basically almost everything in my classroom (other than district curriculum and my own work, is hers).
I'm pretty spoiled to have these cubbies in my classroom which I use to have students store markers, colored pencils, and their ongoing work. Aren't those numbered labels by Ladybug's Teacher Files the cutest things ever? They are free in her store. I used them last year too because they are too cute to resist. I hang headphones that my students use for the iPads off the side of the shelf on Command hooks because...well honestly....because I just can't handle earbuds. They got lost, they get tangled, and don't even get me started on the earwax. I just gagged a little...
Does your school have a "bathroom policy?" We can only send one child of each sex to the bathroom at a time so I have students sign out on a clipboard when they leave, but I'm going to keep it real here. It gets busy and sometimes I forget that I just let Jake leave to go to the bathroom when Jason asks to go. So I ask the kids to turn the boys/girls pass over before they leave the room. When they return, they flip it back to the front as it is shown here. That way, when I am across the room, I can tell at a quick glance if there is a boy or a girl in the bathroom down the hall at that moment. The hallway poem is part of my Classroom Décor: Black and White Brights resource.
The Melonheadz kidlettes on my closet doors just crack me right up. I mean really.....how can you not look at these and not smile? That's why they are there! :)
The kiddos are VERY lucky to have their cubbies in the classroom and I am a stickler about them keeping their areas clean. We do a lot of modeling about the cubbies and the space around them and what they should look like. It is not a walk in the closet. What if everybody did that? Sound familiar? The blue/green baskets serve as their mailboxes. At the end of the day in a Responsive Classroom approach, students collect their mail and any completed work that they did for the day and put it in their basket, take it back to their table and place it in their folder to take home.
They follow this system that I keep posted on the SMARTboard to remind them.
It's FREE in my store if you would like to grab it here.
This is my guided reading spot. Although my district has shifted to a balanced literacy approach (Lucy Caulkin's reader's workshop style) I still meet with groups of students for guided reading. I love the wall pops that define table space and we also use as dry erase boards with wipe-off markers.
I bought a white shelf from Ikea a few years ago and I used it as a window seat last year. But it was a little too high for some of my first graders to climb up on.
And it had a little makeover because it used to look like this:
Believe it or not, last year I thought this was the cutest thing ever. This year....it's NOT. It drove me nuts that the bins don't match.
So I bought some bins from IKEA that all matched and now...
Would you look at that?! I feel all professional and everything. And every time I look at them I smile. It's the little things, right? I am going to use the bins to store the ongoing work I have going on with the groups I meet with for guided reading.
"Your classroom library holds a lot of power. It sends a strong message to the readers in your classroom, and it should convey that reading is important and that books are to be celebrated, treasured and enjoyed" (Calkins, 2015)
I LOVE Mo Willems and have so much respect for him as an author. No other author has helped my students to become a reader more than Mo Willems so it seemed only natural that I share my collection of his books with the students. They love them as much as I do and almost every student book box is filled with at least one Mo Willems book each year.
I have decided to display our brag tags/badges this year.
To do so, I used Whimsy Clips Kids with Stars clipart to hang the badges with pushpins. Each kid with a star is labeled with a student number. All of my brag tags are displayed in the pocket chart for easy organization and for students to see what they can earn.
The Writing Checklist by One Sharp Bunch by Ashley Sharp on the left of the bulletin board is fantastic and I use it every year as I introduce each concept during writer's workshop. We reference it all year as we work on our writing. Did you use lowercase letters? Did you use fingerspaces and so on? The writing pencil "What do Writer's Write?" is by The Teacher Wife.
So this is it...
My home away from home.
And where I'll be spending A LOT of time, love, laughter, and tears the next 10 months.
So here it goes...year 25....