Hi Friends! It is back to school time, and I can't wait to show you around my classroom! It has been an EXHAUSTING first week, but I am so happy to be back with my firsties doing what I love to do! I wanted to make my Classroom Reveal a video for you to watch, but every time I was in my room working I ended up looking like the definition of a "hot mess" and my goal was not to scare anyone away, but to invite people in...SO... I scrapped that idea! Anyhow, let me show you around!
This is the view you get when you walk in the door. Our building is only a few years old, and it is ABSOLUTELY beautiful! Every classroom has the same carpet and tables and chairs that you see here.
I have 24 students and eight tables, so rather than filling up six tables and leaving two empty, I like to spread the students out at all eight tables and give them some space.
The classrooms all have these neat patterns on the floors as well. They are perfect for assisting us in lining up!
The carpet area is one of my favorite places in my classroom! We gather here each morning to start our day, several times throughout the day, and we usually end our day here as well to wrap things up.
The word wall is another favorite place for me. I love the independence and confidence it gives my students for both reading and writing throughout the day.
Also, because our building is so new, it is necessary to get creative with hanging things because we are not permitted to hang anything on the walls. So...my color words are suspended from fishing line from the ceiling, and my number cards are taped to the very edge of my bulletin board. I found these FABULOUS pocket charts at Target over the summer... (when they come in such cute colors, you can never have too many!) Color words and number words are from my friend Tiffany at One Fab Teacher.
I use some of those same pocket charts for holding "I Can" statements on the other side of the word wall.
I have quite a few FAVORITE PLACES in my classroom..and our "Self Portrait Gallery" is definitely one of them! I drew a different design for each frame with a chalkboard marker onto black cardstock. Then on the first day of school, the students draw their self portrait for me to hang in the gallery. (I pencil in a head shape for them so that the heads are basically uniform.) At the end of the year, I will leave the frames and just take down the pictures. The students love being able to see themselves "overlooking" what goes on in the classroom all year!
Another favorite thing about this wall is the posters hanging from ribbon! I cannot take credit for this idea, it belongs to my teammate across the hall, but it works fabulously. We wrap the end of the ribbon around a paper clip and tuck it up under the ceiling frame....Instant poster hanger! We then hot glue clothespins on the ribbon to hole the posters. (I covered my clothespins with more ribbon..because if you know me, you know I believe in the "cuteness factor".)
These nameplate holders have been a game changer in our classroom! A couple years ago when I finallly was at my wits end with the messy look of my student's nameplates all curled up and bent from taping and retaping and picking and pulling at them, my husband made a set of these nameplate holders for me. SWOON!!!! There are so many reasons I LOVE these! 1. I make one set of nameplates per class now! Just one..not four and five new sets throughout the year because they are so messy and yucky...JUST ONE!!!! 2. Neat, clean tables! 3. Mobility! We can remove the nameplates completely off the table to do projects, clean up messes, and take our resources/information on our nameplate with us wherever we go in the room. 4. Versatility! We use these holders for other things too. To hold game pieces, letter cards, math flashcards, brag tags, special notes, etc. We LOVE our nameplate holders!
Since the students don't have desks, we keep our supplies in a basket on each table. Their supplies are labeled so they know whose things are whose, and I have the baskets labeled so that it is easy for the students to stay organized.
Each table has it's own crate to keep larger supplies. We keep our take-home binders in there, our journals, and any work that we will be coming back to daily.
We have two computers in our classroom for the students to use. If asked, I am sure they would say this is one of their favorite spots in the room. This is also where I keep our Birthday Celebration Stash.
Our Worry Jar is in a prominent place in the classroom so that students can access it easily if they have a worry they need to get rid of. It gets used often by my firsties! The students each have their own mailbox. Inside their mailbox they keep their "warm fuzzy collection bin" (they are just little food storage containers I got at the grocery store). The mailboxes are actually two shoe organizers placed on top of each other that I bought on Amazon.
We keep our indoor recess toys in these cute cubbies, and we turn on our READ marquee lights to signify independent reading time each day.
A great time saver I came across a couple years ago was to sort the spare crayons by color to avoid students standing around the crayon bin "digging for buried treasure" instead of getting their work done. Now, when someone needs a crayon, they can just pull out that particular drawer, grab the color they need...AND WALK AWAY! And, of course, my pencil sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies just makes me happy!
Another one of my FAVORITE PLACES is my classroom library. I finally found baskets that are sturdy enough to withstand first graders!!! Big Lots for the win friends!!!! They are pricey, but so worth it, because again, instead of multiple purchases, I have had the same set of baskets for several years now.
The most used baskets in our classroom library are our Social Story baskets. My students really identify with these stories, and because we do multiple readings of these titles, they love to reread these alone, in groups, and with partnerships.
This is my "Cool Kids Bag". This is where I pull names from during lessons and activities to help me make sure I am giving everyone a chance to answer and participate.
I had to get a lightbox this summer! I have lots of different designs I plan to use throughout the year to inspire and entertain my firsties! I love these little buckets from Target. I use them for so many things around my classroom. These here are my band-aid bucket and our "Chicka Boom Boom" bucket.(Chicka Boom Boom is a transition song we sing in our classroom. The students can pick out of the bucket to change up the focus of the song.)
Here is another FAVORITE, friends! (Does everyone love their classroom like I love mine?) I gathered these inspirational quotes a few years ago and then spray painted some old picture frames I had laying around. I have these suspended from the ceiling with fishing line to hold them, and then I used sticky tac to secure them to the top of the bulletin board frame for extra security.
At the beginning of the school year I take pictures of the students together with their classmates that share the same birthday month. I post those above the board. Each morning I turn on the lights across the board to brighten up the classroom. We talk a lot in my classroom about Good Brain Building Behavior, so we refer back often to the posters of "Harold and Henrietta Smithymer" on the board as examples of Good Brain Building Behavior.
The Flow Of The Day is always present so that my firsties can follow along with our schedule. They love knowing what is coming next and how much we have left to get done.
We use our voice level indicators all day long to help us gauge how loudly or softly we should be talking, and our No Name board provides "cuteness factor" so I don't completely lose my head when papers are turned in without names...even when I reminded them 7,000 times to put their names on their papers!
This is where the students check in for lunch each morning.They just move their name next to their "lunch plan" for the day. The "No David" directed drawings are a lesson from my friend Jennifer at First and Kinder Blue Skies.
Our Learning Table is an exciting place, because that is where I get to see so much growth take place! Students come here to meet with me for guided reading, writing conferences, guided math, and individual testing.
These are my binders where I keep all my lessons, lists, and information organized. Organization + cuteness makes me insanely happy! You can have cute binders like these too! Just visit my friend Maribel's store...Learning in Wonderland!
This is where I keep my supplies for the Learning Table. I used to keep most of this right on the table, but I have found that a clean and clear tabletop makes my life much less stressful!
Each day as part of our morning meeting we do the calendar together. Inside the buckets are our cards for Joke Of The Day, Fact Of The Day, Question Of The Day, and Advice Of The Day.
This is the view of my desk from the Learning Table.
I try to make my little corner as cozy as possible.
My puppets Princess Petunia and Bazeltini help me check for good handwriting while the students are working. I stand my lesson plans up on my desk to free up more space for grading papers and helping students. I adore my colorful desk planner from Creative Paper Collection by Krista Wallden! (Friends this one is from last year, and it still has tons of pages left in it!) My To-Do list is from my friend Maribel at Learning in Wonderland. I love it because I was able to edit it to make it match my way of doing things!
Across the front of my computer I have several "sound" buttons (some play music, one is Kid President talking). I use these for different activities and lessons throughout the day.
This "note board" is another one of my favorite things! I made this over the summer out of an old picture frame. I clip important notes up here so they don't get "lost in the shuffle" on my desk during the day. The calendar?!- Makes me smile...and why wouldn't it...it is a Learning in Wonderland creation!
The counter behind my desk is where I keep all my manuals and accumulated papers. I also organize my supplies and materials for the week in drawers there. On the cabinets behind my desk I have focus cards that match some of my classroom social stories. We use these as reminders of important "focus points" in the books we need to remember. (These change periodically as the needs of my students change.)
These are my drawers for the materials for the week. I start filling these as I begin planning for the next week. It is a great way to stay organized not only for me, but also for when a substitute comes in.
Another one of my favorite places is this cabinet! So much organization and excitement is gathered right here!
These are our table jobs. I have found that not only giving students jobs around the classroom, but giving them job assignments at their tables as well gives them such ownership to the classroom and to their groups and tables.
These are our Celebration Tags! This is the first year I will be using these in my classroom.They are replacing a similar system I used in the past with reward necklaces that the students would return at the end of each day to trade in for a warm fuzzy. With the Celebration Tags, the students will now get to keep the necklaces and accumulate the tags to keep track of their first grade celebrations, and they will also accumulate warm fuzzies along the way! (Many teachers call these Brag Tags...I chose to change the name to Celebration Tags for my students because I feel like many of my firsties don't have enough opportunities in their lives to realize the events that should be celebrated.)
Ok, so can we talk storage???!! One of my teammates and I found these Sterlite ID storage bins at WalMart, and fell in LOVE!!!!! They are PERFECT for all our craft supplies, book sets for units of study that come later in the year, extra bins, and special prizes.
My clip chart set up is another one of my favorite things! Many years ago when I first started using a clip chart, I hated how it would get all ragged on the edges by the end of the year. So, several years ago, I bought these unfinished frames at Michaels and I taught myself to Modge Podge...(not very well, so don't look too close!) Then I hung ribbons from the frames for the kids to attach their clips to, and DUH-DUH!...a clip chart that doesn't need replaced!
With everything going on in my classroom, the very first question I get asked by my students EVERY YEAR is "what is that basketball hoop for?" (I am always amazed at how kids can sit through an ENTIRE lesson and still not know what you taught, but they can walk into the classroom and in two minutes flat notice something new or out of place!) We use the basketball hoop for playing sight word and math fact basketball.
The signs are Our Classroom Expectations.
I don't know how things are at your school, but dismissal time can get a little stressful at my school. The stressful part is two-fold... trying to get firsties packed up to go is like herding cats, and so often, their plans change from day to day and so there is some confusion how they are getting home. (Our district does not have busing, so sometimes children walk with friends, sometimes they get picked up in a car, and sometimes they walk with a grown up.) To help with the confusion, my students clip their name up each morning to the dismissal chart to indicate their plan for the day. This way, if they don't know what their plan is, we have all day to call someone and figure it out!
These spinners are another favorite place in my room! They are such a space saver! My students keep their writing workshop folders and their independent reading folders in here. I picked these up several years ago when a local teacher supply store was going out of business.
I keep all my xeroxed papers for upcoming lessons in these drawers. It makes things so much easier to find, and I am not trying to overstuff my file cabinet drawers! It has been especially helpful when planning together with my team, or when there is a substitute, because everyone can easily figure out my system.
This is my word study board. I showcase the letters and words we are working on for the week right here. The mirror is one of my favorite ideas from my friend Emily at Polka Dots Please. We say the chant and check ourselves in the mirror before going out into the hallway whenever we leave the classroom!
I am sure your classroom is just like mine, and some days it seems like there is a revolving door, with students coming and going for all their additional groups and sessions. I sometimes have trouble keeping track of myself on these days, so keeping track of all these squirrly firsties can get cumbersome. To make it a little easier, we use this sign in-sign out system on the door. The kids clip their name under the place they are going when they leave the room and then put their name back when they return.
This is where I put our objectives out in the hall for those passing by who are interested in what is going on in our classroom.
This banner is from my fabulously talented friend Emily at Polka Dots Please. Isn't it adorable? (Did I mention she was my student teacher many moons ago?) You can get a banner for your classroom too! Visit her blog here!
Did you see something you liked? Below are some of my TPT products that you might have seen in action in my classroom. Click on the product cover to take you to the product in my store.
So glad you were able to take a peek inside my classroom! Thanks for stopping by!