Sunday, July 31, 2016

What does your classroom say about you

What does your classroom decor say about you?

Anyone that is reading this blogpost is most likely either a teacher or a parent. And most teachers are also parents. Everyone can relate to taking your student to their classroom for the first time. One of the first things you notice as a parent may not be the teacher, or the other students but the classroom itself.
What kind of teacher did my son/daughter get this year? Classroom decorations go a long way to communicating what kind of a teacher you are to both parents and youngsters.
So when you are putting together your classroom what do you want it to say about you? Are you strict? Fun? Energetic? Boring? Are you "with it?" (Do you know what is popular with the kids in the age range that you are teaching?
Decorating your classroom with popular cultural icons can go a long way to making that important first connection with your students. And having inspirational posters and posters on behavior is one of the key components to any good classroom management plan.
So all that said, are you ready?
My sister Hilary Lewis has been teaching 2nd grade for over 20 years and this year ended up moving to a new 3rd grade classroom with only 2 years left before retirement! We joined forces over the summer and came up with some classroom decorations in the style of Minecraft called Blockcraft Kids and Pets that will make your life easier and hopefully help make those all important connections.
With the TPT site wide sale and 28% Off everything in our stores, now is the time to find some amazing new decorations and organizational stuff for your classroom! Take a look at some of the decor we created:

Name tags that are individualized can make kids feel special!

Labels that go with the theme brightens up your spaces and helps with organization, not just for you but for anyone that is volunteering or helping in your classroom:

And for classroom management it helps to post character traits that are important to classroom culture, for all kids and parents to see:

And inspiring those kids to learn is one of the biggest parts of our job as teachers. Here are some inspirational posters from my store too!

Good luck with setting up your own amazing classroom this year! Make it the best year ever! So that your students look like this:

And not like this:

I found some great tips from Edudemic on how to help young children feel safe and more at ease in the classroom:
  • Have group activities where children are encouraged to decorate the classroom together.
  • Install a large bulletin board and encourage student to bring photos of their family and pets to pin on the board. Children should also be encouraged to bring and share items of cultural significance to display.
  • Hold an orientation early in the school year where parents are invited to the classroom. This will serve as an icebreaker and help the classroom environment feel less strange."
Have the best year ever!


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Back to School Labels

Hi everyone, 
It is Jane Feener here again to share some labels that I have been making for my class as part of my back to school preparations.  Do you like to label everything in your class?  I sure do.  I just find for me it makes everything run a little bit smoother.
Do you use a math workshop model in your class?  I have been experimenting with it now for the past couple of years.  I am still learning and working on improving how it works in my classroom.  I know different teachers have different acronyms they use but I like to use the MATH acronym.  This year I have invested in scrapbook paper storage containers from Michaels.  I got them on sale which was a bonus.  I used a smaller tub last year but I found I could not always fit all the materials I needed in them.  Here is what they look like.  I still have to finish setting up the T and H tubs.  My M tub is for "Math Facts".  I will put games and activities that help my students master their addition and subtraction facts in this container.  I usually change them out each week and I also try to use seasonal activities to help keep my students engaged.  This math tub contains a Welcome Back Bump game made by Sunny Days which you can download on TeachersPayTeachers (TPT) for free here.

The A tub contains math activities which students can complete independently "At their desk".  This is the one area of Math Workshop that I struggle with because if this activity is not something your students can do independently they will be at the small group table interrupting the small group lessons.  I will be focussing on creating independent activities complete with answers keys and help cards to hopefully solve this problem this year.  My first unit is Patterns and if you teach patterns you might like to give it a try as well.  You can find it here.  If you would like these Math Workshop  labels for your containers you can download them here.

Have you heard about Tidy Tubs?  I love to have students create something to show their learning, however, this can be a messy endeavor in the classroom.  I am not sure where I learnt about using tidy tubs, but if it was from one of you please let me know because it has been one of the best things I have introduced into my class.  I bought four clear plastic tubs (shoe box size) and I printed off my tidy tub labels and hot glued them on to the side.  Every time we do any kind of activity that requires cutting paper my helpers jump up and run to get the Tidy Tubs.  They place them on each group table and as students work they put their scraps in the tubs instead of on the floor.  At the end of the activity the helpers empty the contents of the Tidy Tubs into the paper recycling bin and place them back in their designated spot.  If you would like a copy of the Tidy Tub labels you can download them here.

How do you manage your word work?  I have found what works best for me is to use a storage cart with each drawer labelled so that students can easily find the materials they need.

If you would like to give it a try, you can download my labels here.  I hope some of these labels might help you with your organization as you prepare to head back to school.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Homework Calendars

Hey everyone! 

I'm Amy from Cahill's Creations and I'm here to talk about homework in kindergarten.  

As a kindergarten teacher, I've always given packets of homework.  This year, I've decided to change the way I give homework.  After a lot of thought and careful research, I realized that minimal homework is best for kindergarten kids.   I do like to give some homework, mostly to keep parents in the loop of what we are learning and to keep them involved.

So, here we go!

I've created homework calendars.  Each day the kids will have an activity to complete that should not take them long to complete.  I'm really excited to use these calendars in my classroom this year!  
I think it'll be a lot less work for me as well as for parents.  It's also something that is extremely easy to modify and adjust as needed. 

Homework should be completed as a quick review of skills learned.  I also like the idea of homework helping kids to learn responsibility and time management.

How do you give homework in your classroom?  I'd love to hear your ideas!
Thanks for stopping by!