Where the Magic Happens: May 2014

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Organized? Maybe just a touch!

Hi there bloggy friends!!



Classroom organization. Which is an embellishment in my case.  I took some pictures of my classroom the last Friday in May.  Therefore my classroom today is going to look like a Friday in May, lol!  I try to keep my classroom as organized as possible, managing my time and keeping organized make my life, in and out of the classroom so much easier. BUT...my main goal is not to keep my classroom looking pretty. My main goal is to make it functional for me, my firsties,  and my instructional assistant.  So just let me show you:


This is it. One of my happy places. The first view is from the door and the other view is from my "teacher" space.  I have arranged my desks in an "L" shape... not very workshop friendly, but I really wanted the space in the  center of the room for the children to use manipulatives and be messy! 

As soon as you enter, to your right you will see this:



I moved this cabinet by the door after the Connecticut genocide a couple of years ago. How sad it is to re-arrange your classroom based on a tragedy of this magnitude...but I thought that by moving the big rolling cabinet by the door I could roll it and lock it at the door in case of an emergency. I keep tons of materials here. If you have a big rolling cabinet like this, I cannot tell you enough how safe it feels to have it by the door! I also have a little table with writing materials and  a writing process board. I like to think of this area as a writing area...but it is lame. Very lame. Not appealing at all.

Do you have a big shelf like this?


Where you put a lot of **unpretty** stuff up there? Me too! My sweet colleague Krystal gave me these cover up little drapes to cover up all the mess.  She is such a sweetie!  
 The children keep their B.E.E. binders here and their spelling pockets. I tape some little envelopes with their pictures on them, my firsties keep their spelling cards there. {More on this in the literacy post!}

These are some other pictures:



Students' mailboxes, computer station, PVC anchor chart holder, and my assistant's desk.




I have a little trapezoid table that I use for science materials/volunteer work. I also have three tower shelves like the one picture in the middle, this one houses my BUILD math stations. To the right you see that I have been blessed with a classroom that has a lot of built-in shelves.  The picture to the right shows part of my thematic library. My bins are so mismatched!!



These are some other pictures of my classroom library. I have organized the books into thematic, nonfiction, and leveled. You might be wondering how/why I own so many books. Throughout the years I have exhausted all my Scholastic points, shopped at gazillion yard sales, received grants and donations, brought books that my boys have outgrown, and inherited from retired teachers. Some of the labels come from Mrs. Meacham's website. 



These two towers host my Daily 5/Literacy stations and word work choices. You can get the word work choices  posters for free here!!



This is the front of the classroom, the carpet section, the mini-lesson space.


The Teacher Area

Once again teacher friends, please remember that I took these pictures on the last Friday in May.  And this is a realistic account of how my classroom looks. Really people, what is the best way to use your time while you are in the classroom?? To me it is certainly not about making your room look stylish! I work on classroom decor and hard core organization during my track-outs. {I work in a year round setting} Here it goes:


I have a shelf with math,  literacy, science, and social studies activities.  I have taken the time to compile and have ready made interventions and activities in each area. I must confess, I have spent a lot of ink and card stock... but I know what I have  and can be used any time!  You can get these labels here!!

These pictures show my messy computer, guided reading/strategy baskets, professional lit, words to live by, and students' love notes!


I have these three bins, where I keep leveled books that I have printed from Reading A-Z and Scholastic.  They are actually right behind my kidney table!



The writing table: I really would like to make an area of the classroom to have a bunch of cool supplies for the kiddos.  Something like this but bigger and more colorful!


Bins:   I would love more uniformity with my bins in terms of color and size. Right now the are a mix of whatever I found. 

Bean bags:  Those bean bags. They were gift from some of my wonderful classroom parents...but they are a hot mess! I really want to get some plastic adirondack chairs instead!

The file cabinet:  I never use that thing. It has to go. Instead I am adding two more plastic bins, they have been great.

Sight words:  This year I hung my sight words from the ceiling. Well guess what?! The fire marshall came and said that I had to put them down. So next year I am planning on making my word wall, a word bunting banners instead.  Let's hope Mr. fire marshall likes them too!


I love the functionality of the "L" shaped desks. My firsties still get to work in little cooperative groups, and the room  has a big open space for group projects. Everything else will stay the same!

So what are are you changing in your classroom next year? Don't forget to join us on June 8th for our next Diggin' link up: organization of math workshop!




Monday, May 26, 2014

Diggin' Into Linky Party Coming Soon!!

Hi bloggy friends,
I hope everyone had a great three day weekend. We certainly did!  We did a whole lot of soccer and beach with the boys, my honey Graham mowed the lawn, some grocery shopping...living the family life!


This kid is obsessed with soccer!

I am getting ready to host a summer-long linky party called "Diggin' Into" series. 



When I completed my National Boards I learned that the most powerful quality of any teacher is her/his ability to reflect in her/his own practice. It is true! If you are the kind of teacher who starts thinking about the changes you want to see in your own classroom the year ahead...in January... then you are being reflective.
  I got together a group of about 50 bloggers who will show us their great ideas and changes for the new school year.



Seriously, you do not want to miss this linky. We all voted for the list of topics we would like  to blog about. I cannot wait to read  what all these guys have to say! I respect them all so much and I am so grateful for their interest and cooperation. The Diggin' series will start on June 1st and will end up the week of August 15th with and grand giveaway!! These are the dates and topics to be covered:






We are all very excited about this! Please join us!

End of the year activities

Some of you might be out of school already... I still have about 4 more weeks to go. I teach in a year round school, so we go all the way to June 20th.  Every year with my sweet team we decide to do a "12 days of summer" in anticipation of the last day of school. This is the calendar of events I created for this year, I hope you can get some ideas from there!



So, how do you celebrate the end of the year with your kiddos?


Friday, May 9, 2014

Five for Friday and a FREEBIE!!!

 Five for Friday is a weekly teacher linky party where you post five random things fro Five for Friday is a weekly teacher linky party where you post five random things from today or this past week and on your blogm today or this past week and on your blog


Hi there sweet bloggy friends!! I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share what my week has been like in room 208.

We had a blast celebrating Cinco de Mayo! During the morning hours we did our regular Daily 5 stations , except our focus lessons were centered around multicultural literature. One of our wonderful parent volunteers came and helped us make these cute sombreros:
Click HERE to find these sombreros and other great activities by A Cupcake for the Teacher.
I thought about making some yummy tacos for Cinco de Mayo...even our picky eaters loved them! We also wrote our personal opinions about tacos. It really was a great day!!!
After eating our yummy tacos we set to make a taco craftivity  following an O.R.E.O. format {opinion-reason-example-opinion} to get this activity, please click HERE!!!




My sweet friend Mrs. Wilson came after Easter telling her students that there is a new law called "Obama-Share!" LOL!!! This law, according to Mrs. Wilson, states that all children should **share** their Easter candy with their teachers...when I heard of it I thought it was absolutely hilarious. So it happened that now I have been using the "Obama-Share" term  in my classroom every time there is an issue, especially when sharing computers and iPads. I decided to go ahead and make a nice poster to put up in the classroom as a friendly reminder.

You can download it by clicking HERE!!


Don't you think #hashtags in the classroom are the greatest way to spread out content?!?!? I am obsessed... Just in time for the end of the year, I have created a #Hashtag End of the Year Awards. There are about 30 categories that include related hashtags. Head over to my store for a fun and different way to recognize your students' accomplishments!!

You can find this product in my store by clicking HERE!!!



This week we are also reading Mother's Day literature and learning about families in North Carolina. I read "Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch  with my firsties and guess what!!??!! I. DID. NOT. CRY.  #epicwin 
I am usually a total wet-full-of-mascara mess!!! I woke up on Tuesday morning breathing deeply and thinking that I was going to be able to conquer this read aloud. I guess I cry because I think of my mom getting older. Te quiero mamichula, eres la mejor mamá del mundo!

We have started learning about fractions this week! One of my favorite things to teach!!

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. I am one busy momma and I love every minute of it!!
Until next time!!