- I have picked "dots on chocolate" as my decorating theme. Creative Teaching Press has a lot of really cute items that I have picked up. Here are some examples.
There are also some really cool office supplies in the Hot Chocolate Collection that are a lot of fun for your lesson plans, calendars, etc.
My hubby painted two small filing cabinets brown and I used cling dots to help my teacher supply area fit the theme.
- I have not found a good space for storing reading boxes. To solve this problem I decided I wanted to use chair pockets for each student to put their reading collection in. The custom pockets were WAY out of my budget so I decide I would sew my own. Then yesterday on Pinterest I found that someone was using stretchable book covers as chair pockets. This morning I picked one up for 57 cents at Walmart and took it over to my room to try it out. For books it works well. (If you need to put notebooks or a whiteboard in the pocket I think you will need to get the jumbo size which Target has for $1.) $17.10 purchased thirty solid blue "pockets" that match my chairs nicely.
- The next area I wanted to tackle this summer was some fun seating for the small group table and during meeting times around the Promethean board. I explored milk crates with padded tops but found they would be too short for 4th graders.(I'm lucky enough to have a future 4th grader at home to measure things on.) I looked at several kinds of storage ottomans but price turned me away. Once again Pinterest came to my assistance. I found these very cute stools made from 5 gallon buckets.
My sister found a lady from Family Thrift Bakery that is going to save me 10 buckets plus lids. I have found wooden circles at Hobby Lobby, and spray paint, material and padding at Walmart. For about $30 I should be able to create my seating. Did I mention I can also store things inside the buckets as long as I don't get carried away with weight! Actually Ms. Kidd from Hangin' Out in 3rd Grade says that she is going to add some weight to each bucket this year so that they don't tip over so easily.
- Next let's tackle those messy student desks. I need a better plan for the the unfinished papers laying on top and stuffed inside.Another Pinterest idea for unfinished work, etc. is a folder attached to the front of their desk. And what about the student with allergies that always has tissues stuffed everywhere? Personal trash cans attached to the desk with a suction cup hook worked like a dream last year! (Mine don't have a lid and had handles.) I got then at Dollar Tree.
- I love the planners our school buys for 4th and 5th grades. They are not enough organization for the average 10 year old however. My daughter's FANTASTIC 2nd grade teacher used an organization notebook that worked oh so well for our family. I used one last year and want to tweak it a bit for this year. Here is a picture of one a first grade teacher used.
I didn't make a cover last year, the students used a binder they brought. They were very rough on them and most didn't make it through the year. The ones that were actually the sturdiest were the flexible plastic ones. (74 cents at Walmart) I'm going to buy them and use the one they bring for writing or math. If I'm buying the binders I am going to have my cute little picture and name too. (I think I've earned it!) I'm going with DOTS: Daily Organized Team of Students
Inside they will have their planner, a zipper pencil case (I bought them at Dollar Tree.), and another Pinterest find: a gallon bag "folder". They ripped the folders so quickly last year. These are made by putting duct tape along one side of a gallon bag and 3 hole punching it. When they destroy them, they will be pretty cheap to replace. (The first time or two they will get FUN duct tape, after that it just might by gray!)
These binders come out before we dismiss to make sure everything is where it needs to be. Parents are required to sign the planners. They are then laid on student desks each morning for me to check.
- I have already talked in a previous blog about my my plan to make a VOICES of a Writer board. I also, yes you guessed it, found on Pinterest a great Writer's Workshop organization tool. It is always a struggle keep track of where everyone is in the writing process and to make sure everyone is moving through the process. (Not that I didn't enjoy playing "find the post-it notes but....)
This chart works rather like the behavior chart where you move the cards. In this case each part of the writing process is labeled in a color and your card shows at what color you are working. Because I don't have a spot where a pocket chart will fit, I will instead be using these cute pockets. I will laminate them. (On a side note: I learned today that you can write on laminate with a permanent marker so that it won't smear. Then when you want to remove it, just shade over the name with an Expo marker and erase. All writing will come off. Cool huh?)
That ends the tour of my classroom for today. I still have some plans for genre charts and boggle boards and I'm also redoing my library, but for now this is my environment. Thanks for letting me share my ideas.