Monday, September 8, 2014

A Little Vintage Classroom Flair!

This post is way overdue, but I am finally ready to share my classroom space with you after a few weeks back in business! As I mentioned a while ago, this summer, I walked into my classroom, and I crinkled up my nose at my theme.  Although I have never been an over-the-top theme aficionado, I realized that I was totally OVER my subtle jungle theme... and the copious amount of zebra print that went along with it.  So, I decided to mix things up and do something that was long overdue: be true to myself and my decorating style.  I LOVE all things vintage... so I felt it was time to bring some goodies from home...mix some things up... and surround myself with some colorful vintage classroom style.  Plus, I thought it would be fun to play around with words throughout the design to open the door to future discussions about the weight of our words.  Here's what I came up with!
Welcome to my classroom, teacher friends!


I have a thing for globes, and nothing says vintage classroom like globes right?!  I displayed a globe collection on my window sill, and I placed a chalkboard globe on top of a bookshelf.  It might be my absolute favorite classroom accessory.  (Shout-out to Rachelle Smith for the cute chalkboard prints!)



This is a view of my bookshelves on the far side of my room.  I love how simple yet colorful they are.


I added a few other decorative touches to the windowsill and the bookshelves to make the room pop!





 This is our gathering area.  I do read alouds from this spot, and I also gather kids together with clipboards for discussions and sharing opportunities.



I snagged this large basket from Michael's and added a fun leopard print burlap bow for a dash of whimsy.  It holds our basals to streamline the read-alouds of our main selections.


This is just another shot showing the bookshelves and the read aloud area. My kiddos usually sit in an L shape because I have so many kiddos that they don't all fit on the rug itself.  :)  (This year, I have 29 third graders, and 30 fourth graders.  It is a full house!)


I haven't utilized my "teacher's desk" as a teacher's desk for years now (aside from the storage of materials in the drawers).  So, I kept my desk against the wall, and I moved my mentor texts display to the desk to create a cozy reading nook. I LOVE this space so much now!


I hung a few clipboards to the sides of metal cabinets to display a few classroom posters with a dash of colorful masking tape.  I used masking tape as an accent on everything this year!  Swoon!


Here's another shot of the reading area (as it was set up for Meet the Teacher Night).  This just shows where it is in relation to my file cabinets...which as you can see... are also sporting a little masking tape and chalkboard number labels. 

I store most of the resources that I want just a few steps away on the shortest  file cabinet.  This green basket houses my clipboards, my notebooks, the office folders, and other important resources.



This is a little peek at the back of the room.  Confession: I haven't changed the black paper in a few years, so it has seen better days.  I wanted to change it out this summer, but since I did a deep clean and did major purging, time was short, and something had to give.  Please excuse the wrinkles. I think I may need to repaper it after all.  I am sort of cringing right now---not gonna lie! {shudder}


This year, I decided to use fun alphabet flash cards as an alphabet line.  I love the cool colors.


The READ display used to be at the front of the room, but I moved it to the back for an AR display.


This area houses my sub tub, some of my most used resource binders, and a set of drawers containing materials for my focus board.  The numbered baskets are for tiered lesson resources.  The bottom baskets are early finisher activities (Brain Bubbles). The two student desks house student resources.


So, I really should have snapped a photo of this next area BEFORE the kiddos arrived because the clipboards are in a state of disarray, BUT this is a snapshot of our  real classroom life.  This is what it looks like on a day-to-day basis.  I have the clipboards, whiteboards, dry-erase sleeves, dry-erase markers, socks (for erasers, and Post-Its in a central location to help streamline classroom happenings. 


Our first Word of the Week was scholar... because I want my students to see themselves that way from the very first day.  :)


This year, my pencils are organized in cups in a little caddy from Targets.  I store pencil sharpeners in the back.  (My classroom sharpener makes the most horrendous noise, so I like having them available for student use...especially during class discussions.  It's a major sanity saver!)


I wrote a little inspirational message on the window to a classroom door using a chalk marker.   This is our classroom mantra.  We can do hard things!  (I decided to let the old "Art Office" stencil remain in plain sight because with the whimsical vintage vibe, I felt like it had a little something to offer--- real vintage schoolhouse authenticity!  Love it! 


On the other side of the door, you can see our cabinets and counter top.  The student mailboxes are stored here along with our homework and morning work trays. This is basically the classroom command center, and I love how much more simplified it is this year.  It is working like a charm!


This is a close-up of our collection bins.  I picked them up at Staples last fall.  They are perfect!


I attached a few magnets to the back of a cookie sheet for another small display and a place for my notepad. I love that it adds a little bit more visual interest that way!


Ahhh, yes.  This is another one of my favorite back-to-schools finds.  I picked this up at Marshall's, and I just LOVE it.  I almost brought it home to decorate my house, but I love how it looks in my classroom.  It's another great way to add a few vintage touches to my classroom.



Nothing says "teacher" like apples right?!  I love how simple and classy they look!

Of course,  I am a sucker for details, and I wanted to make my classroom feel as much like a home as possible, so I also put together the following displays on the windowsills, cabinets, etc.





My room is feeling just like I wanted it too! I honestly could not be any happier!!! It's the perfect environment for learning and growth!  I am so optimistic about this school-year!


This is a view as you walk into my classroom with a peek at the front of the room! 


I display my objectives at the front of the room.  I used to display them on my focus wall, but I really like having them in a place of even more prominence right up front!



This map is a happy-looking addition to my classroom, but really, it's broken.  It doesn't go up all of the way, so I made it part of the decor for now, until I can get a new map.  I use the SMARTboard for almost everything, so I am not really concerned about space on the whiteboard at the moment.  Plus, we are studying Westward Expansion in 4th and looking at the Gold Rush in 3rd, so it's coming in handy at the moment.  When life gives you lemons...make lemonade...right?!


To the left of this area, I store some of my literature circle goodies in separate baskets.


I also have two boards for anchor chart displays and formative assessments.  I decided to embrace the old green chalkboard since I've decided to work in a little vintage flair, and I kind of love it.  The black paper (regrettably) looks sad, but if you only knew how much duct tape I rolled on top of the other half of the chalkboard to hang the black paper, you would fully understand.  :) It was obscene.  If I ever get permission, I would love to go to town with black chalkboard paint to avoid taping up bulletin board paper every year only to have it fall down from humidity in May.  (It's a sad state of affairs. Trust me.)



This small group area is right in front of our anchor chart displays.  It's in the perfect location to reference our existing charts or make new ones!



 I hope you've enjoyed taking a peek into my classroom.  Have a happy "new year"!




Monday, September 1, 2014

Interactive Notebook 101

I LOVE using interactive notebooks with my students, but last year, I couldn't help but feel that something was missing.  Then it hit me.  We just sort of jumped into notebooking, but I never took the time to lay out what notebooking really was.  I neglected to explicitly teach the HOW and the WHY to my students.  Although I do feel like my students worked well with their interactive notebooks, I can already tell that my newest batch of kiddos might need a little more direct instruction and more of an explanation of why we are doing what we are doing.  So, I sat down and plugged away, and now I cannot wait to launch interactive notebooks with my kiddos this week!  This bundle includes a variety of interactive notebook templates to help lay the foundation... educate parents about the process... and it even includes teacher PD components to deepen your understanding. I'd like to introduce you to Interactive Notebook 101

I'm starting off tomorrow with the following page.  I am going to have my kiddos glue the header to the page, then fill out a KWL about interactive notebooks. (Small note: the templates are in black and white and color.  I just used color for my examples because I didn't feel like eating up more time with crayons in hand.  Yep, I am a lazy pants.)


The next template allows my students to sift through the vocabulary piece. They will record "interactive notebook", the definition, and a sketch of what this looks like.


In our classroom, we are always breaking apart words to look at roots and affixes.  So, I am presenting the root "inter-" for analysis.  The kiddos will record the meaning of the root and the meaning of the word "interactive."  I will have them highlight the root and discuss.


Now, this part is a good one.  I outline this on slides as well... but I want kids, parents, and administrators to realize why we are doing what we do.  This is NOT busy work.  When done purposefully, it is anything but.  So, we are going to take notes and explicitly spell it out from the beginning.  I am super excited about this piece.


We will also be covering some organizational tips and creating an accordion of possible uses.


This foldable will be used to take notes on how we take notes and refer back to them to improve our understanding, refresh our memory, and build on what we already know.


This photo shows what it looks like when it's folded.  You can also see a questioning foldable to stop and give students a chance to process the information and check for understanding.


This pocket illustrates the connection between all of the multiple intelligences (that we refer to in class as types of smartness), and how it all connects to interactive notebooking.  It also provides a great way to share this information (again) with parents and administrators.  I am all about transparency and supporting my curricular decisions.  Plus, it's good practice with a pocket too! 


This flower foldable is ideal for listing out types of templates.  You can list more than one on a petal.


Although not totally comprehensive, I included four-square foldables for several different templates.  I don't think I will be folding them though.  I plan on having my students glue them  just like this.  Since I don't have clip art for every foldable every created, I have included a blank template where you can have your kiddos write and draw the template.


Of course, I love my Jot Spots, so I created one for this pack too.  I want to start introducing them now so that students get the hang of it from the beginning.  I love how they provide thinking stems and a place for student sticky notes.


And there you have it... in a nutshell.  Interactive Notebook 101 is a simple, kid-friendly way to explicitly introduce interactive notebooks to your students. Words cannot adequately describe how psyched I am to use this with my students this week.  I just know it's going to help us be even more successful and iron out this routine before we get to the heavy lifting of notebooking to address the standards!  Have a Happy Labor Day!!!!