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Monday, April 30, 2012

Bieber Fail!

I was so excited this morning to introduce my class to The Ultimate Battle: Bieber vs. Skywalker from the ladies over at What the Teacher Wants. I got the songs all cued up to get them fired up about choosing teams, but when it came time to get down to picking sides, we had one huge
Oh, my gosh. Only two of my kiddos were pumped about "the biebs" and I was in shock! I quickly had to take a poll to see what was cool... Am I really that out of it?!? Apparently so.

So our options were:
Um, NO.

Lady Gaga

The Wanted

So, here's what we ended up with:
I actually crossed out Justin Bieber's face and at recess printed the replacement picture.

They also changed their team tags.

And it worked magically! Team Wanted actually won today and we had an amazingly fun dance party for the last three minutes of the day. Sorry, no photos. I was too busy dancing!

Happy Monday,

UPDATE: Rachelle is amazing! She read my post and offered to send over a replacement sign and labels. WOW! Over the top service for a freebie.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Classroom Tour

Alrighty... I know the year is almost over, but I figured it's better late than never. First off, I have a very oddly shaped room. I have lots of windows (which is great, but...), two sets of white boards, and built in cabinets, etc. that I can use which is great. I realized while writing this post that there aren't any pictures of my kiddos desks, but I'll take some next week.

This is part of my writing wall. I have laminated construction paper stapled to the wall with each kid's picture on a star on the corner. I put two paper clips on the top of each sheet of paper to hold their projects. Each time we have a new published piece of writing, I replace their work. It's quick and easy to switch out, and I fold their papers in half and file them away for the end of the year. At the end of the year, I will bind all of their writing together to make a book and put their star pictures on the front. These are from our Valentine's Day writing activity where I had a variety of different hearts and they could create anything they wanted with them. They're so cute, right?

The other part of our Writing Wall. Check out those monitors... Old School!

Here is one set of our Daily 5 book bins and binder storage. With 29 kids, it's been great having their book bins spread out around the classroom so that when they go to get them, we have fewer traffic jams.

Clipboard storage is a corner with push-pins. Plus our camouflaged butterflies from our "Butterfly Hunt."

This is one set of white boards. It is used strictly for a district-mandated daily test prep strategy called Board Math. You can also see a glimpse of the rest of my math wall and my small group table.

These are my reading group binders. I have so many levels of readers in my class that my groups meet every other day. I use this organizer to keep everything close to our meeting spot.

Here is the view of my back wall. There's a lot goin' on!

This is our classroom storage supply area. It's pretty simple, and I used my Cricut to cut out letters for the boxes.

Workbook and textbook storage in my built-ins. We don't use them much, so I like to keep them out of my kiddos hands. You can also see a small glimpse of my (dreadfully sad) library. I have wonderful books, but my organization is embarrassing. Year two will be much better, I promise.

Another grouping of book bins and binder storage above the textbook storage.

Our word wall. You can download the letters I made here.

This is our Welcome Wall. I have our attendance chart, behavior chart, and class jobs all printed on vinyl (basically, giant stickers). I don't have a lot of kid-accessible wall space, so using the board this way worked out perfectly. Here's how we use it:

Attendance and question of the day. Names are all on magnets and super easy to use. Any leftover names are my kiddos that are absent. No calling names and we get to learn a little about one another.

Behavior chart. Stars are also on magnets and kid-friendly.

I love these schedule cards from Mrs. Carroll over at The First Grade Parade. I have them on magnets so that they're easy to move around and times are easy to change. 

Class Jobs: numbers are on laminated construction paper and on magnets.

Our focus wall with labels from One Extra Degree. Those circle magnets are all from IKEA and they are AWESOME! I also use Mighty Minis from The Container Store that are wonderful and take up very little space.

My front wall. TaDa! It's a little busy, but it seems to work. And behind those boards and in the cabinets is all glorious storage! 

My favorite item on the entire board is that orange on the middle board. It is a Bloom's Taxonomy Helpful Verbs poster. I LOVE IT. It is really helpful when I write my objectives and need a quick Bloom's refresher. 

If you're wondering what my desk is like, you can head over here and check it out. Believe it or not, it stays like this! I am so proud of that fact.

Hope you enjoyed my little tour!

I'm Sorry... and Baaaaack!

Hello there, long, lost, blogger-friends! I would like to start this post with a big, giant APOLOGY.
The past few weeks/months have just flown by and I have been up to my eyeballs in everything from planning, to creating, to completing my Cycle of Inquiry for BTSA, and blogging just hadn't made it to the top of the list. So... I decided to give you a little bit of test prep stuff today and have some more posts in the works. Check back tomorrow and you'll (FINALLY) get a classroom tour!

This is my first year with California STAR testing, so this whole prepping thing is new to me.  I have a biweekly review planned into my regular Language Arts curriculum and we are continually spiraling in Math, so my kids are always practicing with skills that we have learned, but what I needed to do was to review things like parts of speech and testing vocabulary to really give them the tools they need to be successful.  Luckily, I have all of you and your wonderful products to help me through. (On a side note, this is MY FAVORITE part of being a part of this blogger community. You all have such great ideas and are so generous with sharing photos and products, etc.!) We used the Vocabulary Star packet from Amanda over at One Extra Degree and my kids loved playing "Musical Chairs." They didn't even realize that they were reviewing. I really liked this activity because it refreshed their memories to the academic vocabulary that they will be encountering on the tests next week.

We played a few parts of speech spinner games from The Teacher Wife.

We also used Christie's Synonym Roll unit to review synonyms. I actually made cinnamon rolls at recess (we have an oven/stove in our pod) and the kids were ecstatic!
We did our version a little differently than suggested. I had students work in groups and each group had two words to list synonyms for. Each group had a thesaurus to use and had to list synonyms on a sticky and we shared out as a class and added additional words to our lists. 

We used a few foldables that I saw a picture of on pinterest, but I'm not sure which wonderful I found them. (If you know... please let me know so that I can give credit here.) You can download my version here.  I have one more day before our Language Arts test and I'll be blog-stalking and pinterest hunting this weekend to finish up strong.

Well, I am off to help at an amazing event that has been organized by a fellow teacher at my school. We do not have any pull-outs at my school and the arts have been on the back burner for quite a long time. This event is to raise money for classes both during school and after school for our very worthy kids. Check out all of the fun things happening at the event by clicking on the picture.

Happy Saturday!