Thursday, July 28, 2011

Easy 5 Frames

I had these paint samples lying around from when I was choosing paint for my shelves at school and I thought about how perfect they'd be as 5 frames. I just need to cut off two of the sections and ta-da I'll have brightly colored frames for my first graders to use at the beginning of the year. I may even glue two of them to a piece of cardstock to make 10 frames (or I may just print some off that I've already downloaded this summer). I got these samples at Wal-Mart in case you want to go grab some too.

In other news, my chair makeover is complete! Thanks to a lot of help from my mom this chair is ready for read alouds. I love it! Here are the before and after pics.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


T-minus 11 days and counting until I officially go back!! And only 14 days until students come...agh!! But I have been busy getting things ready. Last week I worked on repainting many of the shelves in my room so they match and the room will {hopefully} feel more put together.

Here are the shelves before...some black, some white
 and hey, there's a red one back there too!

But now most of them are the same color, yay! Oops, apparently I didn't take a picture of all the freshly painted shelves. But four of them are now a bright blue and then there's still a white one. But I found blue bins to put on it so it ties in nicely.
This picture is all math stuff. Stations will go in the blue bins and materials will be in the white drawers. Daily data is on the white board and then there's my beloved calendar.=) And do you see that recovered office chair by the computer? I saved it from the school attic last summer and covered the nasty orange scratchy fabric and I've loved it, so much so that...

This little guy that I picked up for $3.00 at a garage sale back in the spring is now being transformed. Only halfway there, but here's the progress so far.

So now I'll have two precious and matchy-matchy chairs! I think my lessons will be so much better with these guys, don't you?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Happy Birthday (to my new students)

I've seen some cute ideas for celebrating student birthdays out there so I thought I'd share my find of the week. I found a bargain at our local thrift store and it still has the new tag on it!
It has a button (the red dot on the cake) that's supposed to make it sing and the candles light up. Either the batteries just need to be replaced or it's broken but I'd rather it not make any noise anyway! So I think I'll put this in the birthday boy or girl's chair for their special day. I also put together treat bags every summer and store them in the closet so I can just pull one out when needed. The whole red area on the pillow is a big pouch, so their treat bag may fit in that. I need to get to work on the treat bags soon before I forget. I always seem to have a kid whose birthday is on the first day or two of school!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Another Class Book

I made this book with my kids last year and they loved to look through it all year. It wasn't my idea though. I'm sure found it somewhere on the internet last summer but I have no clue where.

 My writing (in green pen) says "drawing on my desk" beside the top picture and "reading a book" beside the bottom picture.
Here it is closer up.

On the first day or two when we create our classroom rules and discuss school rules I always read No David! and David Goes to School. Then I have the kids model the correct way to do certain things in our class and the incorrect way. You know they always love demonstrating the wrong way to act! Next I gave each child one of these sheets and they drew themselves doing something or acting in a way that they shouldn't and then on the bottom they drew themselves doing something correctly. As I walked around to see their drawings they dictated what was happening in the picture and I wrote it on the page. I know this is very kindergarten-ish, but on the 1st or 2nd day of 1st grade I thought I'd do the writing part for them. Then I just put them in page protectors and stuck them in a pronged folder and voila! We had a book about following rules to refer to all year.

Click image to open. Of course you could easily make your own in a different font if you wanted, but here it is anyway.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Beginning of the Year Class Book Idea

A few days ago I read Lisa's blog over at First Class with Mrs. Mac (I'm a Mrs. Mac too!) and she shared a great idea for the beginning of the year to make a "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" type book with the kids and let them draw things they see. Click here to see her post and get a copy of her printable book.

With her permission, I changed it just a little so that each child will "see" another classmate. It will be a great way for kids to practice writing their own name and learn each other's names. The first thing my kids will do when they arrive on the 1st day of school is color/decorate their name in bubble letters (that I've printed for them). Then we'll use these later that day or the next to make this book.

Click the image below to get your copy and directions. On the last page I typed a few names in a bubble letter font as an example, of course you don't need to print this page since you'll have to type your own but the font is called "Basic Font" (you may know of a better bubble font though).

(I posted about this again with an updated cover for the new school year, 2012-2013. Click here to go to that post.)
What other great activities is anyone planning for the first few days? Or is school starting so far off that you aren't thinking about it yet? I have 3 and a half weeks of summer left. Sounds like a good amount of time but I know it'll fly by!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Teacher Desk: To Keep or Not to Keep?

One of my favorite things to do is set up my classroom, rearrange, and get ready for the new year. I still have 4 weeks of summer, but I'm planning on heading up this week to do a little setting up so maybe I won't be quite as rushed the week before we go back (but who am I kidding, I'll be running around like mad no matter what I do now). So this weekend I've just been thinking about how to arrange my room and I just can't come up with a "blueprint" that I like. I've thought about getting rid of my desk and just using my kidney table as a command center.

I'm debating giving up my desk because:
A) I rarely sit there.
B) I try to keep most papers and supplies on a shelf behind my desk so it doesn't get cluttered.
C) I've never had a computer on my desk, so no need to relocate that.
D) I'll have an intern in the fall and I'd like to give her a little space. (So maybe I should keep the desk and let her use it?)

Here's what I'm wondering and would love to hear your thoughts:
1) Where do you put all the stuff kids bring to you each morning?
2) If you use your kidney table instead, do you end up cluttering it up?
3) If I keep my teacher stuff (papers, supplies, binders, professional books) on a shelf behind my kidney table then where will I put all the stuff I need for small group lessons? I guess I'll just need 2 shelves behind the table.

I'm nervous to get rid of it and I'm not even sure that I can. I guess if the school has a place to store it they wouldn't mind taking it out of my room but I've never asked.

Would anyone like to come arrange my room for me? I feel like I've looked at it too much and can't make a decision about anything. I know I'll go Monday and waste at least half an hour just standing in the middle of the room staring!