Teaching Inspiration

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Center Rotation Organization Break Down - A Must Read!

Why Centers are Beneficial to a Primary Classroom

Center time in my classroom is one of my students favorite times of day, as well as my own.  It allows students to explore for themselves, communicate and collaborate with one another, and most importantly have fun all while learning from each other and the centers.  While my students are occupied in their specified center, this allows me to work with Guided Reading groups ... Doesn't get much better than that!!!

My Set Up

I'm going to give you the entire run down of how my center system works as quickly and briefly as possibly.  I created my center pack last summer and had them printed and ready to go for the beginning of school last September.  In my classroom, I have 2 different center boards.  One for literacy and one for math.  I use bright colored pocket envelopes for posting the center activity that each group will work on (the labels in my packet).  Then I took photographs of every student in my class and put the students into groups using their pictures.  BTW, my center groups are based on reading levels and homogeneous grouping ability.  



Now this system was good... until around November or so, I decided that it was time for some updates to make my center rotations run a little more smoothly.  I found that my students were too dependent on me to get all of the materials, so I needed something organized and easy.  I designed a system that has been EXTREMELY effective in my classroom.  Even though I have been using my new rotation system for quite a few months, I just recently got around to updating the pack in my TpT store... So on a side note, included in the additions are 2 sizes of numbers to 18, picture frames (to back the student pictures - so you will NOT see that in my sample picture), stars for group captains, and there are some additional center cards.  So, if you already have this packet, simply go to "My Purchases" or to the product here and redownload to get ALL of the updates.   

For my centers, I simply place a number next to the center group and then put that same number on the center tub or binder or basket that I want them to work at.  In each center tub, there are usually different choices of activities that revolve around their station theme.

For each group, I assign a "captain."  A little star indicates exactly who the captain is for that group number. Students can easily reference who the captain is because of that star and it works out beautifully, taking some of the attention away from the teacher (which is the goal!).  The center captain is responsible for getting the tubs/baskets/binders/materials.  That person is also responsible for helping their group if they need help or have a question.  



This system has truly helped to foster independence in my students. I actually can't wait to do this again next year, except next year everything will be in place for the very first center rotation!


Different Size Cards Included!


Large Numbers and Small Numbers Are Included for Different Size Tubs!






Like I mentioned before, all of the updates have been included in my center pack.  If you have already purchased this pack, just re-download to get all of the new updates.  If you are interested in checking out more of what this pack is about you can visit:




Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Classroom Organization, Decor, and More!

As so many of you get ready for back to school, I figured now would be a good chance to show you pieces of my classroom.  I technically do not get to set up my classroom until the end of August, and I am SO thankful for that!   The pictures that I am going to showcase today are from last years set up since I never got to post the pictures last year (I didn't have a blog at that time).  So many things will be remaining the same, but I definitely plan on changing things up a little bit too!  This is the first year in the 5 years that I have been teaching at my school that I do not need to switch classrooms.  All I know is that I am beyond thankful to know that I won't walk into a brand new classroom and want to cry!!!

Pretty much when I walked into my classroom last year ... it looked... like this...

Can you see why I wanted to cry??  How many of you have walked into painful situations like this?  Worst. Feeling. Ever.!!

So much work went into this classroom - everything from taking down old fabric that was covering the bulletin boards to ripping staples out of the doors and closets to throwing out things I did not need.   I also had to add more bulletin board space because hanging up graded student work in my school is HUGE.  This meant that I had to buy lots of foam boards that I had to cut it with a razor to make new boards (torturous)!

After some anxiety, my classroom F.I.N.A.L.L.Y. started to shape up to my liking.  It took lots of work - on all frontiers!!  Creating, printing, cutting, laminating, rinse, dry, and repeat!!  So some of these pictures were of me preparing, some will show you what it looks like in my room.  Just bare with me! :)

And So It Begins...


Last year I decided that I would try to be a little crafty!  I decided that I wanted to make a "Welcome Sign" for my classroom door.  I of course, happily, made a trip to A.C. Moore... a local craft store near my house.  I picked up:

  • a square wood picture frame
  • 4 wood stars
  • yellow paint
  • black spray paint
  • scrapbook paper
  • black stickers
I started by measuring how much scrapbook paper I would need to fit neatly on the picture frame.  (I used to picture frame as an outline and then I snipped, snipped, snipped).  

Next I started spray painting the picture frame black.  Ohhh boy!!  First of all, I'm glad I had the brains to do this outside on newspaper.  Second of all, you don't want to see what it did to my fingernails.  Thank goodness I was due for a nail appointment anyhow!  

Then, I painted the stars.  And while all of this dried, I started sticking stickers onto the scrapbook paper.  I'm a perfectionist so this was actually pretty tricky!  So I carefully ... tired ... to ... line ... up ... each ... letter.

After that I used hot glue to glue the stars on.  

Last, I used those sticky glue dots to attach the scrapbook paper to the picture frame.  The beauty of this is that if I have to change grades or classrooms, I just have to created a new scrapbook paper without ruining the frame!  See, that's some crafty thinking for ya!  

The verrrryyyyy last thing that I did was attach it to my door by using velcro (hopefully the custodian doesn't get too upset when the day comes that I'm no longer in 209 ;)).




Hmm... let's try not to judge my nail color choice (at the time it seemed like a cute choice).  By the way, that spray paint was NOT coming off - so if you decide to do all kinds of crafty things with spray paint, I am strongly recommending GLOVES! ;)



Last summer I put together shape posters (3-D & 2-D).  I prefer the shape posters with the cute-sy little faces.  Seriously, how cute are they?!?


But I do have both 3-D shapes and 2-D shapes in my shop without faces as well.
Here is an example:


I put together Color Posters with Faces.  (Lovin' those faces)!!  But... 


...... of course I offer the same color posters without the faces as well.





But I offer them in other themes like stripes, chevron, and black and white!


I put together Months of the Year in Polka Dots.  Even though I sell these in chevron as well.  And...


... This is what they look like.  {I will admit that I need a better place for these next year).  
See, that's the beauty of being in a classroom for more than 1 year!  You can think through simple changes that flow a little better! 

Add caption

This is what my Morning Corner board looks like.  


Below, is I think... the neatest my desk was all year!!  I'll be working on that this year though!  

In this picture you will also see my Birthday Board, which is a {freebie!} in my store.  Since this picture was taken before the beginning of school, I don't have my students pictures or birthday dates up yet.


Sorry about the annoying glare.  Cell phone pictures + lamination = not a good mix!



This was my weekly organization center.  Any photocopies I made, I would stick in here.  I think I bought this for about $20.00 at A.C. Moore.  It was such a steal.  And yes... those are labels from my days of the week packet!


Finally, here's a print out of adapted WBT classroom rules.  I really like these a lot!


You Can Find These Packets Here...




























Friday, July 18, 2014

Beginning Sounds, Beginning of Kindergarten, and a Freebie!!

Happy Friday to All!

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far!  I know I am... I got to visit California and then Vegas... I got to meet some extremely inspirational people in Vegas.  I made a few new friends.  I learned some great, new tips on how to become a better TpTer and blogger (Thank you Miss Kindergarten - I'm applying your tips now)!!!  Just overall amazingness!

I recently created a new product.  I'm in love with it!  If you teacher Kindergarten - THIS. is. the. packet. for. you.!  Especially for the beginning of the year!  It focuses on beginning sounds, vocabulary words (you tailor it to meet your classroom program needs), and a little bit of handwriting.  The best part is that it is on sale now!  So here are some pictures to show you - since I think that will do more justice then me just writing about it!  Click any of the below pictures to take you to this packet!



I included a Binder Cover for the Beginning Sounds Coloring Pages.  I personally like to keep pages like this in a binder.  It helps me stay organized and it allows me to place pages in the binder for center time as we learn the letters and sounds.  It allows me to also put the self checking pages behind the pages so that the students can use them.  All I do is put multiple copies of each printable on one side of a sheet protector and then the self-checking page behind it!


                              










The best part of this packet is that it is ALL black and white printables (EXCEPT for the Beginning Sounds Self Checking Pages AND the Binder Cover)!  There is minimal prep - just print, place in a binder, double siding pages, and folding!  That's it!  

You can find this packet here!  Don't forget to leave love on the ratings section! 

 Also, I have included a little freebie for you.



If you snag the freebie don't forget to leave me some feedback!  It is always encouraging and motivating and who knows... you just might find some more freebies coming your way! :)