Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Brace Yourself for a Photo Overload!

I have been feverishly trying to get my new classroom set up in my new school.  Oh-my-goodness!  I have not felt so frazzled or so anxious in six years!  I'm still waiting impatiently very patiently for bookshelves.  There are apparently two metal bookshelves on their way to my classroom, at some point, but I have no idea when I'll receive them.  My books are currently camped out on several student desks.  So, needless to say, I didn't end up driving all the way to Pittsburgh to hit up the nearest IKEA, because honestly, I have a To-Do list at least three miles long, and free bookshelves totally trump buying bookshelves that I would have to assemble myself by far.  I am seriously lacking in the spatial intelligence department sometimes, and if I can avoid hunching over a set of directions, I will! :)  Ha!

So, anyway, I don't think I mentioned that I still be teaching third grade, but this year, I will be departmentalized.  I will be sharing kids with one other teamie, and I will be teaching Language Arts & Social Studies.    Those happen to be my two favorite subjects, so I'm a pretty happy camper, but I have NO idea what it's like to share kids or be departmentalized, so I assume this will be a HUGE learning experience.  {There are six elementary schools in my new district, but there are only four third-grade teachers in my school building.  I actually really LOVE my teamies, so that's a HUGE plus!}  I'm eager to finish the aesthetic aspect of my classroom so that I can spend next week pouring over the curriculum as much as I can since it's Greek to me.  Reading Street is seriously a MONSTER! Wow!

Right now, I've been trying to set up my Daily 5 rotations/tubs to supplement the existing Reading Street centers, and I'm hoping that this will help me get it all in, challenge the kiddos, and maybe be able to think outside of the box a little bit.  That's where I'm at home... outside of the box.  I get a little restless inside of the box.  :)  We shall see how this all works out.  I'm just not a very "We shall see" person.  "Que sera, sera" is not really my mantra.  I'm more of a planner.  Okay, "planner" is an understatement.  I'm an obsesser.  Type-A all the way!  In all seriousness though, I haven't forgotten about all of you, and I will email my sweet bloggy friends back whenever I get time to breathe type out a thoughtful email or two.  So, don't worry, I'm not ignoring anyone.  I'm just plain swamped.  I also have no idea how things are going to look in my classroom this year.  Some adjustments will have to be made to accommodate twice the kiddos.  My Pensieve was literally mocking me today... for real.  I have to totally revamp my conferring system.  Okay, I'm done rambling!  It's time for your virtual tour!  It would take forever to acknowledge every poster I got from blogging or online, but I want to explicitly say that a lot of my stuff was from a blog.  I made some of it, but not everything, so if you want to know specifics, leave a comment and I'll point you in the right direction!

Books Galore... in serious need of labeling & organizing again!

My Word Work Tub.  The straws are for Reading Around the Room & the flashlights are for reading the Word Wall.

Have your kiddos place a piece of paper over strips of plastic canvas to practice sight words, etc. with crayons!

Look what my sweet teamie let me borrow!  I have ONE bookshelf right now!  This is my nonfiction library!

I'll post more about the conferring notebooks, BUT here's an idea for small groups.  I always wear this little flower on my wrist to keep my kiddos from interrupting guided reading.  It's a fun little signal that tells them I'm busy.  :)

This is my small group area, but it still has extra bins on it since I'm waiting on shelving!

Writing anchor charts will be displayed here!

LOVIN' Beth Newingham's Mini-Theme Posters!

This display is blank, because I don't know my schedule yet!

More books!  I'm so happy about the amount of storage I have!

The mats will be used for the Daily 5 for kids to sit on around the room!

See!  I told you that my displaced books were everywhere!

My take on "Today's Password" from Growing Kinders.

A Close-up of my Focus Wall for Reading Street!

My Anchor Charts will be displayed on this little beauty.
 Finally, my friends, it's time for a moment of Zen.

This is my beautiful fur-baby Loralei!  She modeled my new determining importance glasses from Target for this photograph & "read" a book about Golden Retrievers!  I can't wait to use them with the kiddos!


  1. Ok, the last picture was my favorite!!! Your room came out AWESOME! I would never guess you were still waiting for furniture, everything looks so organized. I absolutely love your storage colors. I also love seeing your creative signs everywhere! Best of luck in your beginning days!!! :)

  2. I was wondering where you found the little mats for the kids to sit and read on. They are super cute.


  3. Love your classroom. I am curious to know about the tubs at your conferencing table for the daily 5 things.

  4. Thanks Kristen! You are an organizational guru, so your comment means a lot! :) I hope your year is amazing! I can't wait to read all about it!

    Hannah, I purchased the mats at Target last spring. They have mats like this every now and then though. They just change the designs! You may be able to find something similar at some point. Just keep your eyes peeled at the Dollar Spot!

  5. Love the colors. I was thinking of you today. My former coteacher and I departmentalized a few years ago. I loved only having to plan/teach 2 subjects. Ir's so important to be on the same page with regards to routines, behavior plan, teaching style etc, Have fun planning!

    ❤Jodi from...
    ★★The Clutter-Free Classroom★★
    Helping Teachers Get Organized

  6. I love everything!!!! Love the borders...haven't seen those before....love your rug....love the pink and green....your room looks huge...your last pic is oh so cute!!!! Your Reading Mascot:)

    4th Grade Frolics

  7. I love what you've done in your classroom! I use the same mats from Target for my students during Daily 5 as well! You've given me some great inspiration for my 2nd grade classroom.

  8. Love the pinks, greens, & blues in your room. I'm just loving the chance to see everyone's room.

    Thanks for sharing.

    A Time to Share & Create


    Fabulous 4th Grade

  9. Wow! Your classroom looks great. I hope that your bookshelves come in soon for you so you can complete the organization/decoration piece so that you can dig into the curriculum. I was departmentalized last year and I LOVED it! I was able to focus on the ELA portion of the day. The most important thing is to have a teammate with the same vision. Since it sounds like you like your teammates I am sure that you will love it it too. Good luck!!!

  10. I love your furry baby :) Come see my furry baby Daisy at http://www.mrsproppskindergarten.blogspot.com/


  11. Great job, Amanda! I'd drive to Pittsburgh with you, but... it's more of a haul for me. ;) I wish it was that easy. Besides that, I never thought of the straws for "reading around the room"- I'll have to share that idea with my best friend who does Daily 5.

    I have never asked you: do you do CAFE as well? I am doing it this year and have a red "pensieve". I am actually really excited to implement it!

    I also love the glasses- and the dog. I like the glasses on the dog.

    Victoria :)

  12. Oooh...I LOVE IT!!! Your room looks GREAT!!! Good luck to you, sweet girl!!!

    Cara :)
    The First Grade Parade

  13. Victoria, I've done a CAFE board for a few years, and I love it. I'm actually flipping it around this year to be a "FACE of a Reader" board. I have a Pensieve, and I need to probably make a second one since I'll have two groups of kids so I can keep track of my conferences. I'm sure I'll have to adapt my old process. I used to do bits and pieces of the Daily 5, but this will be my first year really fully jumping in. If I wasn't required to use a basal series, I probably would still be doing a blend of the Daily 5 and Reader's Workshop, but since the program is set up for centers and Guided Reading, I thought this would be a nice way to supplement and stay creative! :) I think you'll like the CAFE process... let me know how it goes!

  14. I absolutely love your room. I'm so jealous over the size!

  15. Your classroom looks awesome!! I can't wait to see it complete with your bookshelves :) I'd wait for the freebies too! I love the slight angle of your teacher's desk :)
    Great job!!

  16. OH. MY. WORD! Your room is adorable. So many cute and creative ways to engage your kiddos!

    What are the buckets along your windows for?

    Also, I saw your '3 ways to read a story' three and I LOVE IT! I am constantly "stealing" ideas from other people that it's SO exciting to see that someone borrowed and idea from little ol' me! :)

    Can't tell you enough.....LOVE LOVE your room and all your fun stuff!

    Beg, Borrow, Steal

  17. Your room looks great! I also team teach. I've taught Reading, Lang. Arts. & Social Studies in the past, and this year I'm going to teach only Reading & Language Arts. It is so great teaching what I love most! I love your Book Return bucket. Do you use those for you classroom library? I've never done that before, and this is a great idea. It will definitely prevent the classroom library books from getting out of order!

    Go Fourth! With Mrs. Owens

  18. I thought I commented earlier but I guess it didn't go through..... I was wondering if you could do a quick post on your focus wall for reading street! I LOVE your ideas! Also, is there anyway I could buy your writing process signs??? claire.knight@okstate.edu


  19. Looks awesome!!!! I love the colors and the wild theme.

  20. Your classroom looks great! Where do you teach? I am from Canton-such a small world :)

  21. I found the writing process posters & several other things that I used to decorate my room on this blog: http://flipflopteacher.blogspot.com/2011/07/i-could-get-used-to-this.html. That particular link will take you right to the posters. They're free. She has great stuff!

  22. Oh, and I'll try to post about my focus wall soon! It's kind of a work in progress since it's my first year with the series! Eventually, I'll give more details! Pinky promise!

  23. Actually I was wondering what you put in your Daily 5 Tubs. I am new to daily 5 did it 1/2 the year last year and going to start it in the fall this year, loving to learn new ideas from others and how they do the daily 5.
    Just got my classroom finished and we start school on Monday http://mrsgoodwinsgrade2class.blogspot.com/2011/08/my-classroom-is-ready-to-go.html

  24. Your room has come so far since your last post! I am so impressed and pretty jealous to boot. I wish I had everything match like you do! I have a mish mash of everything and zero funds to change it up. I am sure your kids will feel very welcome and comfortable there!

  25. OMG!!!!! Loralei looks so cute!!!! Nugget is jealous! I am TOTALLY using that idea this year with my class. LOVE IT!!!
    :) Melissa

  26. Where did you get your Book Nominee posters and the Tell A Friend posters? I recognize the concept from Beth Newingham but LOVE your posters!

    Thanks :)

  27. fantastic "start"! I feel so behind! lol
    It's such a great feeling to get things settled and have a picture of what and where you are teaching before you start diving into planning!

    I started using Daily 5 after March Break last year and am diving in head first in September. I had just started getting my kiddos trained, so I am nervous to start all over again with new ones!

    Back Hall Collaborators

  28. amanda your room looks fantastic, love the mats, wondering what is in your bins for small group table, what posters are posted on cabinet doors beside your word wall. I can't get into my room until end of August which is too late. trying to stay calm as i'm totally a type A personality as well. thanks for continuing to inspire. I also dabbled into daily 5 but plan to use it fully this year as i have a split grade and think having centres like I did last year is too work intensive. wishing you good luck with the rest of your set up. Mary

  29. Just perfect! You should put a picture of Loralei in your classroom. The kids would love it.

    By any chance is the Books in the Spotlight poster available? We have a Hollywood theme this year and that would be fun to use .

    Thanks for your inspiration!

  30. Your room looks great! I love the zebra lamp! I want one :)


  31. Great pictures! I'm going in today too! Hope I can get as much done as you did! Such a cute dog!

    Ѽ Alessia
    Mrs. Albanese’s Kindergarten Class

  32. It looks great! Departmentalizing is a great experience. It really lets you focus in on the subjects you are responsible for, instead of planning for everything.

  33. Love your room!! The colors are so bright and inviting!

    Miss J


  34. Amanda is there a way to get a copy of "Our Promise" sheet posted, what is the idea with the password outside your door, what is the purpose of the pink and green buckets along the windowsill, thanks for answering my questions, mary at apopovic@primus.ca

  35. Thanks, Amanda! I'd love to hear about your progress with FACE (CAFE, lol) over the course of the year, too. I cannot wait to share the board I came up with when I thought I was in a creative bind!

    I may have some questions this year... but I know we're willing to share with one another and help one another, if needed. I've just never done it before, and when situations like those arise, I always proceed with hesitation. LOL.

  36. Your room looks fabulous! I really like the idea of the return books bucket. I had never thought to have the kids return books that way! And-LOVE THE DOG!!

  37. I am not freakin' kidding! I have the same green lamp and placemat from dollar tree (but the blue one) on my book spotlight area...with YOUR sign. hahaha! Lots of progress! yay. I switched classes in 4th for 6 years. def. has its ups and downs, but you'll work it out! Can't wait to hear about your conferring notebooks-that's my weakest area for sure in workshop

  38. Awesome Amanda! I look at everyone's classrooms and wonder why my classroom is so small. How nice it would be to have a good size room. Good luck.

  39. Love the pictures of your room! What a great place to learn, live, laugh and love! Could you share your safari-themed "today's password" sign? I love it! Thanks for inspiring me!

  40. I love your room! In the picture that has the "work with the teacher" basket. What are the colored sticks for and what is one them . Thanks!!!