Thursday, September 12, 2013

First Week Fun!

I can't believe this first week of school is already over!

I had a blast (and a good sweat) putting together my room!

Here are some "after" shots of my classroom:

I laminated sentence strips with our schedule and added magnet tape to put on our whiteboard for easy schedule changing each day!  Always a good idea to keep those kiddos in the loop...

Of course, it wasn't totally complete until my students came on Monday  :)

This first week was all about community building and getting to know my new group of students. We started the morning decorating name tags, and then did a version this activity from Pinterest. It was nice to get a sense of how the kids feel about coming to school and how they see themselves as learners (and also get them moving around the classroom). We did a few activities that required the students to move around, like this genre survey:

I wrote the genres individually on pieces of paper and put them around the room. I then gave kids a sheet of stickers. Any book genres that they read over the summer would get a sticker.

After everyone was finished putting on their stickers, the kids broke up into groups of 3-4 to count the number of stickers for a specific genre and color in the number on the bar graph (a sneaky way to assess how much the students remembered about bar graphs!)

Speaking of reading, this is the best read aloud to start the year with! My head teacher read it to the class during my first year as an associate teacher, and I totally fell in love with it. It's funny, clever and has many wonderful lessons. So far, my students have been laughing out loud and cannot wait for read aloud so we can hear more about this crazy group of kids from Aesop Elementary! 

After decorating our heart maps, we reviewed the writing process. The kids did a great job remembering the steps that we added to this super-cute pencil:

 Of course, this post would not be complete without some tips for organization!

I originally intended to use a dish-drying rack to organize my papers/handouts for each day of the week...until I opened up all of my ordering and remembered that I ordered this handy-dandy hanging pocket chart:

 The first five pockets are for Monday-Friday. The bottom two are for items that need to be filed and copies that need to be made. Of course, I realized I have a totally new use for the dish-drying rack I bought! I plan on keeping file folders filled with materials for the writing process (peer/teacher conference sheets, revising strips, spelling "try-it" sheets, etc.)

 Also, there is nothing I hate more than clutter (especially when it comes to student work!) I decided that the only way to avoid things piling up and getting lumped together is to separate each subject into three different bins: homework, finished work, and unfinished work:

 Blue for reading. Red for math. Yellow for writing/word study. Green for Social Studies. Conveniently, the folder that the kids will have for each subject matches the color of the bin!

So far, the kids are really upbeat about being at school. They even complained that they only had reading for homework! I'm sure that won't last long...but a teacher can dream :)

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