Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Clutter Free 2013 (week 7 Catch up)

This weeks job was to catch up!  It was nice to feel on top of things for once rather than like I was trying to keep up with the projects.  

Clutter-Free Classroom

I spent the "catch up week" labeling my recycled "bubbles" I use to organize a variety of materials.  See Post.  My shelves look less cluttered and this eliminates the problem with having containers match and being the right color.  They are clear so students can see what is inside and they fit well on the shelves. I chose labels that fit what is in the bins, but when they change seasonally, students still know what to put in there.
I got my scrapbook wall art board done!  I made a checkerboard pattern of the scrapbook paper, with each child's name on the top left and bottom right corners of the paper.  I put two students to a square because I have so many students, but when picking which students to put together I put students I typically get art from and students I don't typically get art from together.  Students give me work and they can choose if the work they like is one they want to replace the one on the board or not. If they replace it, the old one goes into my "love book" (a binder with page protectors to put students work in--another great idea from Clutter Free Classroom).  If they like their old one better, I put the new one in the love book.  It is filling up quick and looks great, but keeps them organized and helps them make choices as well.

I am so excited my Thirty-One bag came in!  I ordered the organizational tote and the file holder. The file folder holds the hanging folders and the file holder fits right in the bag!  It has made a great bag for conferences with my assessment binder in there and all student files with me. It looks much more attractive sitting next to me at conference time than a stack of files.  I can pull the file holder out for storage and continue to use the bag.  I love having the flat bottom on the bag!

I had conferences this week and then we had a snow day on Friday which was a no school day but a conference day. Now I have to make up conferences on my own time, but I digress.  I came up with a very cool system for my conferences.  I stand a non-lined note card up so it is taller than wide.  I whole punch the card with 2 holes on the left hand side. The student's name goes on top, meeting date and time on the bottom.  I put them in my assessment binder in chronological order, and then I put a post it note on the card that NEXT.  The post it note covers up the data for the next student so when I give the conference there is no privacy problems.  It also marks where I am so I can pull the tab when referring back to the card.  The cards have a bullet point for strength, weakness, strength.  I put any notes at the bottom.  I found the system to be very successful, efficient, and quick.  If you need a better explanation, please let me know!  I love being able to help and share ideas that work (and don't).

I have been making sure to leave my desk clean at night and do a clean sweep of surfaces at night when I can.  I love having someone tell me ideas that help make me an organized, more efficient teacher.  If you haven't started, now is the time!  Make your Classroom Clutter Free in 2013!

Dr. Seuss

We started with watching a full episode of the The Cat and the Hat!  I found this GREAT site where you can watch Dr. Seuss movies!  It was a great way to let them hear the rhyming and have fun with the text in a different way.  

I started with a paper plate.  I drew a circle
around the flat part of the plate.  I then
squared off the center (so there are 2 small
semi-circles on the sides.  I wrote the
line for the initial sounds and the ending
"at" sound. on all four sections of the hat.

I then cut the half circles off and around
the top curve of the plate.  
Students then needed to follow multi-step
directions and color an AB patter of red
and white on the sections of the hat.  Together, we started
with the word "cat."  We sounded out the initial sound.
We then came up with some rhyming words and sounded
out their initial sounds.  
Students then wore their hats as
they played in their centers that day!
My PM class apparently had a bug go through,
four were absent!  But look at these cuties in their hats!
We read the book: Ten Apples up on Top to practice the book, reading, and counting. I liked reading this book to the class because it is one that has pretty simple text that the students can figure out by looking at the pictures.  It was nice to hear them trying to read the book in the reading center.

We then read the book: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.  This book was silly and fun.  I would stop every few pages and ask the students if they heard any rhyming words.  By the end of the book, they were raising their hand to tell me a rhyme every page!

I found a game on a blog for rolling fish and putting in the bowl.  It was supposed to be a board game.  I do not take credit for any of the grahics or the work put into creating the  Dr. Seuss 1 Fish 2 Fish Game.  Please click on the link to visit the original site for the game and to see her other many great ideas!  I  made a copy for each student.  I printed the fish in black and white.  Students rolled a number dice, and a fish dice.  Students took that many fish, colored it the color on the die, and glued that many in their bowl.   They did this a second time.  I then made a number sentence strip for the to fill out.  They write the first number in the color they colored that fish.  They do the same for the second.  This equals the number in the whole bowl.  I used the mathamatical language to help them begin to understand addition and an equals.  They did really great with this!

On Monday I plan on reading Green Eggs and Ham.

Students will work on a Green Eggs and Ham worksheet.  I, again, take not credit for the graphics or work put into this.  Please check the original source for more of their hard work.  I modified this project to fit my needs.  I printed 2 plates to one page.  I then covered up the numbers on the page.  I had students roll a dice and put that many eggs on their plate.  They did it a second time for their second plate. Students then circled more for the plate that has more and less for the one that has less.

When signing in to the computer on Tuesday, I am teaching the students to type: I am ________.  It plays off the "I am Sam" from the book, but also teaches the space bar and shift key on the computer.  I have a little table tent I made from card stock where I just wrote, "I am ______."  They can use the card as a reference when typing and then I will be there to support the space and shift keys.  Students did well with their last names and the backspace (some found this necessary with accidental letters or to many), so I thought it was time to take it up a notch. Students are doing great with technology integration and letter recognition!  I will update with how it went!

Recycled Items

Almost every day,Clutter-Free Classroom puts up ideas of how to organized one's room.  She often shows ways to recycle items to use in your classroom.   If you don't read her blog, you should!  Soo many great ideas and ways to help you feel more organized (and at least for me, feel more competent in the classroom).

My mother works at Walgreens in the front end.  Their products come in those plastic "bubbles" for small items in such as lighters, highlighters, chapstick, etc.  Most come with tops too.  Well, it turns out, they just throw them away when they are empty!  My mom had to idea to save them for my room and they are AWESOME!  I use them in my art center, puzzles and games center, and my personal organization.

My mission this summer is to remove all the labels that come on them, and then label them, but they are working sufficiently for now!

holding teacher supplies
Holding class games (created and laminated from many of the free printables and  preschool packs I find)
Holding art supplies
They have many, many of these at back to school time because that is what they keep the small highlighters, and such in.  Ask for them or ask them to save them!  You will not be disappointed!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Organize your Class Library!

I was doing my usual weekend "professional development" reading Pinterest and Blogs.  I found this pin and in turn, blog post.

Classroom Library Organization Blog post
Actual iTunes link

I downloaded, and I have gone CRAZY scanning all the books I keep at home.  I put their "collection name" as Gloudemans' Home.  I can then make a different collection for where the books are stored to better keep track of where the books are and where to find them.  It is also a nice digital list.

Yay more organization!

Friday, February 22, 2013

President's Day.Patriotic

 I started the week by showing the students some skip counting puzzles I found on TpT.  I ran it like a power point, and I used these images to introduce the students to the presidents and some fun facts including: Obama is our president now (some still think Romney based on our "election" in the fall, kind of funny) the president works in the oval office, Mount Rushmore has four important presidents on it (**We had a guess that Justin Beiber was on Mount Rushmore and another guess that it was Obama's family),  and George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are dead and they lived a very, very long time ago (but no, I was not a baby when they were president.... I AM 25!).  Kids say the darndest things, but based on conferences, they did come home with some of the facts....

We did a coin flip activity (Found on TpT) in which we flipped a penny, and noted if we saw Lincoln's face or the Lincoln Memorial (tales).  The graphed this data and then counted the times they saw each. 

Students then did a coin rubbing of the coins, brown for pennies, and gray for quarters.  

We read the book Presidents Day. We learned about the Presidential Seal, which is on the floor of the oval office, Mount Rushmore again, Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt (and national parks), and Thomas Jefferson (and the declaration of independence).  I feel a lot went over their heads, but I am glad I could expose them to this history at this age.  
Students worked on following 2 step directions and patterning by doing the stripes on their flags (start with red on top and then pattern red, white, red, white).  

They then followed more directions: fill the box with glue and put the blue box in that one.

Finally, students counted and worked with 1:1 correspondance putting the stars on.  We worked on following directions of a row on top of 6, then 5, 6, 5, and so on.  My goal was to get all 50 on there.  The rows got further apart than intentionally thought, so there most likely isn't 50, but they did follow directions of 6 and 5 and get practice counting and following directions that far.

We played President's Day Bingo (©Ashley  This worked on listening skills, following directions, and working on listening to describing words.  Student did well with this and enjoyed playing!  I love using BINGO in my teaching because it gives me time to teach about little things that come up on the boards.  This gave us the opportunity to tell about the pictures and why they are on the board.  It helped make some of the connections.  Some students got to play twice and it was cool to say, the Lincoln Memorial, and they remember what that is the second time around!

We read the Scholastic book: My Teacher For President and discussed all it would take to make a good president.  We made a list on the board, sounding out the initial sounds of the words.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Clutter Free Room #6

 Challenge #6 "Organize your Teacher Resources"

This week is to organize the materials, specifically the teacher guides and school purchased curriculum. In cleaning up my work space If found that I did this pretty well.  

My material is not "really" in kids sight as I have all the material that is not kid friendly either out of site or behind my desk.  This is basically my under the stairs storage and/or binders.  

My textbooks live under my stairs, bottom shelf, and all in the left hand basket.
School purchased ones on the right, self purchased ones in the same crate on the left.

Craft ideas and such are also in these books, on this bottom shelf. They are on the right hand side of the basket as well.  

The mimio's box and user guides are all together on the bottom shelf right hand side of the right hand basket.  If  I need the mimio or the directions for it, I simply look there.
On the top shelf, right hand crate, I have my binders.  White (extra for now), Blue is for bulletin boards.  This binder includes pictures of boards, materials used, and even font/cricut letters used and size.  Purple binder (not pictured, already in my bag to go home tonight) is my assessment binder.  Yellow (extra for now).  The pink binder is my birthdays and calendar binder.

Purple assessment binder.   In this binder I keep all my checklist observational assessment forms.  Each student has one and they are in alphabetical order.  I used tabs made form post it notes for each child's name.  Observational Assessment form, available TpT.  I also keep a simple checklist to make sure I get to everyone.  In the back, I keep my abc reading chart, colors chart, etc.  That I need to show students in a formal assessment.

Pink calendar/birthday binder.  This binder is 12 binder tabs and 12 page protectors.  At the beginning of the year, I make out all my birthday cards/badges, and put them in the correct tab in it's page protector.  The front page is a list of birthdays.  If they are summer birthdays, it indicates what month the child's birthday is celebrated and materials held.

 I also put the calendar numbers and month title in the page protector. Each month, I am ready for the birthdays and calendars.

My Teacher Binder is in my bag at all times.  It contains student info, standards, calendars, meeting info, etc.

My Substitute Teacher Binder is on the shelves to the right of the chair on the shelves.  This contains emergency procedures, lesson plans, transportation information, and procedure lists.

My file cabinet is where I keep all of my thematic information.  Each season/month has a hanging folder.  Each theme has a manilla folder. I put originals, extras, and games such as bingo in these folders.

Each letter of the week has it's own folder as well.  The folders contain: My printable alphabet book pages for that letter, the  handwriting sheet for this letter, and the cricut cut letters to hang on the board.

Any other professional development, curriculum, and data the school gives me, I put in the file cabinet  in a labeled folder.  The folders are in the hanging folders according to category.

For my weekly organization, I have drawers.  I love my plastic drawers.  I have weekly materials.  These drawers are behind my desk and students do not go into them.  The labels on the front keep me organized and hide the clutter behind.  The black drawers are shorter and work great for when you have less of certain materials (like RSVPs, an assignment to grade, etc).

Finally, for thematic materials (everything from thematic books for the book shelves, thematic games/centers, and decorations) are kept out of student's eyes as well.  I have a closet that is organized by these themes in basic chronological order.  I have book boxes laid backwards with their label on the "bottom."   I then put a small, covered, plastic shoe box with the materials in them under the books.  For decorations, I have very large poster boxes (so posters don't need to be folded) on top of these shelves in my closet.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Clutter Free Classroom #5

***I don't have class on Fridays, but put in a few hours of work time.  Today I went in to clean my desk and finish up step 5 of your challenge.  I left at 2pm. I just (at 4:30) got a text from my principal....the janitor commented to her how clean my desk was!  Wow, the work is paying off!

Step #5 "Create a clutter-free organized workspace for yourself."

I started with switching the sides of my drawers....I originally had all my personal items (meds, emergency snacks, etc) on my right hand side.  I did this because this is the side furthest away from the kids.  Unfortunately, these are the bigger drawers, and they are under the pull out table top I have my laptop stored on and the access to these drawers is limited.  (My class is the only one that still has a desktop computer.  This desktop is, unfortunately, to old for the network drive which we use to store school materials.  The laptop does this, but it is one of the student's computer on wheels.  Therefor, I can have the laptop to use but not keep in the situation a student would need it so when it is in my room it sits on the pull out table top)  This means I didn't have access to the items I use more often than the ones on the left.  

I found that if I label something I am less likely to put other junk in there because it doesn't match the label. Keeping that in mind, I knew it was essential that I sort and then label my drawers first.  This would help me get organized and stay organized.  

Top Center:  I labeled the baskets in which I will hold: pencils, pens, and markers. The markers are highlighters, dry erase, and permanent markers.  No crayola, they have their own drawer.  I got rid of: a stapler, a stapler remover, a tape dispenser, and three whole punch.  I threw away all the random stuff I had collected or put them where they belonged (toys, broken toys, etc). 

Top Left: I have made this the adhesive and notes drawer.  Tape, velcro, labels, stickers, labels, and the various types of tape needed are the adhesives in this drawer.  Clothes pins are also in here as they are used for student centers as well as art projects.  Post it notes, to do lists, and small paper is also in this drawer. 

Middle Left:  Teacher Needs.  The label on the drawer says: "teacher needs."  I have my meds, cough drops, food, drink flavors and feminine products all in this drawer. I realized this drawer does not open if the top middle drawer is not open.  That drawer is often blocked by the chair, so it is rarely open.  This mades having these items safe.  Also, the kids are really great about never going behind my desk. 

Bottom Left: The back has my sweater.   Ziplock bags and a roll of paper towel.  There is also the box of cords for the iPod, the books on tape to go to through the CD player and iPod case.  Love how EMPTY it is!

Top RightTeacher Crayola.  I love my some crayola! I am particular about the tips and state of my materials.  This is why I need my own set.  Now, this looks like a lot of crayola, but it ranges from crayons, colored pencils, bold colors, original colors, etc.  Again, this is the drawer under the laptop so it is not needed often, but is there when I do need it.

Bottom Right:  This became the paper drawer and the contact paper drawer.  This is also where the abundant happy birthday donations went.  I am still just starting out, so I can't pass up a donation and this really will save me for next year.  I put them all in one bin and it is in the back of this drawer.  Also, this is where my new labels live (I got a 2 page pack from the dollar spot at Target!)

And the rest of my workspace includes that pesky under the stairs space.  I did discover/purchase these crates to separate the space and organize it.  Again, I went to the label it and that is all that is allowed there method.

Under the top platform of treehouse:
Pink box: zipper bags I get donated by a student and use for a large variety of things.  These need to be on hand, but if they don't fit in here, they go in a box in the closet.
Green box: grocery bags I collect as things come in.  I need this to send home wet/soiled clothes, extra materials, and garbage. Again, if they don't fit, I don't need that many.  They go to the garbage (or home for doggy walk bags ;) )
Left Crate: Dryer Sheets and table cloth: for art on the table and those smelly areas.
Right Crate: Books on Tape/Cd Books and Binders.  Binders are newly labeled (and used!)  I will get labels to match soon.  Baby steps ;)
Bottom Shelf:
Left Green and Pink Boxes: open and waiting for a need, but not going to fill if I dont need to.  
Right Pink: Books on tape CDs Right Green music CDs.
Bottom Shelf Left Crate: Text books, curriculum, lesson planning tools, etc.
Right of the crate: Continued Textbooks on the left.  Mimio boxes and guides on the right.

Under the actual stairs:

Crates on the Left: ABC Books for students.  30 books with 78 pages each takes up space!

Green bin on the right: Our journals.  Left is the AM class (they all have green covers and there is a green tag on that side) and the right is thePM class (they have yellow covers and there is a yellow tag on that side).  Pencils (sharpened) and an "oops, my pencil broke" bucket in between the journals.  On journal day, I put this on the front table and they can find and return their own journal easily.

Ahhhhh, much better workspace!