Classroom Tour!

You can sense the excitement on Friday when I met my kids AGAIN for the first time.  Although we've been together, as a class in kindergarten, seeing their amazement that I was their teacher, that they graduated to the first grade hallway, and their amazement at our new classroom design was a first for us! 

At the conclusion of last year, I was told I wouldn't loop to first with my kids.  It was the plan that I would remain in kindergarten.  I wasn't thrilled.  The kids, parents, and I were awaiting this journey.  As you can imagine, emotions were high and excitement was through the roof when they showed up to meet their 1st grade teacher and saw me! 

This past Monday began our first official week back from summer.  Preplanning.  Our days are filled with meetings, changes, committees, changes, classroom setup, and more changes.  With new district and school level administrative changes, this year will be a LOT of firsts!  ...BUT I'm OVER-THE-MOON about its possibilities!

Moving grade level to grade level each year means moving rooms (or so it does in my school).  It's taken a while but I think I have organization down to a science.  FIRST, if you haven't read Debbie Diller Math Work Stations, you need to pick up this book.  The organization tips alone have guided the way I manage all curriculum and supplies in my classroom.  The biggest tip from this book was removing supplies from it's original containers.  The space they take can be more than needed.  The boxes often come in varying sizes which makes accessing the supplies, from your cabinets or closets, a "JINGA"-type challenge.

All supplies, classroom tools, and curriculum support remain in plastic containers in the cabinets.  When the year is up, I cart the containers down and shift into their new cabinet.  This eliminates boxing up everything!  I have banker and packing boxes with larger supplies, classroom tools, and curriculum support hidden behind my curtains in my classroom closet.  They're easy to access through the year and shifted to the new closet if a move occurs.  A square piece of scrapbook paper fits perfectly on the box to cover up the advertisements.  Hello, my name is Cheryl and I'm OCD!

My closet is highly coveted space for the kids.  This is our reading room.  I first turned my closet into a reading space 7 years ago.  I've had the kids access all my books. Epic fail.  I have WAY too many bins.  Then, I provided a small variety of bins with levels, themes, and authors.  Ehhhh.  This year I've decided to keep a controlled choice but incorporate a bit of discovery within our literature nook.  

Now I keep all my books behind the curtains.  Each bin contains at least twenty books.  This year I will rotate four bins each week.  The kids will have a choice of nearly 100 books to read which eliminates the "BIG" clean up that previously occurred.  

My curtains and stools are from Ikea. Pillow covers are from Very Jane.  The bookshelf, green containers, and carpet are from Target. A fifty dollar transformation already put to use.  I had three kids reading in the room during "Meet the Teacher" on Friday.  

I hang my reading genre posters (with the oval frame) above the bookshelf in the closet.  The kids use the posters to identify the genre of book they're reading.  The comprehension skill and strategy posters are hung on the cabinets near our learning area.  I have the kids pull the specific card during a lesson.  

Just outside my reading room is our buddy reading nook!  It's just as inviting per the two students that planted themselves there to chat during "Meet the Teacher".  LOL

I use the same graphics for my daily schedule.  I must be in denial because I only filled in the times for arrival and dismissal!  The objectives pocket chart is new for me this year.  We are working a configuration board this year with objective, essential question, and home learning.  This pocket chart is available at Really Good Stuff. 

This nook holds our math supplies.  Since this picture was taken, I've added labels to the bins to identify the manipulative.  Can you believe these bins are at Home Depot for 99 cent (including the lid)?  Eek, great find!  I've owned the writing paper storage for years.  Tot Tutors is the BEST company.  The product holds up over time, provides a variety of yummy pastels and primary colors.  The bins can be easily removed or moved around to meet your needs!  Above my writing supplies which now has every bin filled full, I have my calendar.  Lakeshore Learning has provided a copy of their Interactive Calendar Math for the Smartboard so I only needed a small display. 

I've also added our dismissal routines under my calendar.  You can grab this freebie in my freebies tab on Facebook.  For those not on Facebook, I will work to transfer this freebie to my store later this week.  This picture was taken prior to the completion of the board.  I now have clips with the kids name hung from the bottom of each card.

Behind my math manipulatives is my math focus wall!  I'm anticipating great use out of this space.  A Cupcake for a Teacher made the fabulous focus wall file in which I displayed on the project board and will bring to their level on the floor, during instruction.  Above the focus are numbers created by Cara Carroll with tools and strategies for each number.  

The bins within their cubbies contain hands on activities that vary for their level of independence.  The beauty of looping is I know their abilities and can prescribe early finishers starting day one.  

 My alphabet word wall is low to the ground and interactive.  I will hang our sight words, spelling words, and story words from hooks.  The kids can flip through a collection of words.  I like this system better then displaying words for a few months and removing them.  Currently, I'm using my students' Kindergarten sight word rings to share the display.  The kids keep the sight word rings their cubby bucket.  If you are interested in the sight word ring freebie, link here.

I'm obsessed with the hooks above!  I've NEVER been able to display my chart tablet in class.  It's so heavy that it sinks immediately.  I think the kids enjoy when I try new hooks because they laugh hysterically when the chart tablet plummets to the ground.  This summer I was at Home Depot looking for hanging supplies when I stumbled across these hooks.  The magnet was so heavy.  They cost around $5 and worth EVERY Penny.  

As we make it around the room, I'm stopping at my office door.  This is our Bucket Filling display.  The kids will pull the cards from the bins under the calendar.  They're welcome to write a sweet note to a friend.  At the same time as kids recognizing each other, I'm filling buckets with pom poms.  When a student is ready to deliver their sweet note, they place it in our classroom mailbox.  I will ensure all notes delivered are easy to read or positive.  I deliver the card so pom-poms are not disturbed.

My behavior chart was a "trending topic" on my fan page the other day.  I think it stirred different emotions.  My system of behavior is never used to embarrass the kids.  We are held to a school wide behavior system.  The teachers travel with clipboards and a behavior sheet.  This way the kids maintain the same exceptions (CHAMPs) and consequences when they return to their home teacher.  

If a negative behavior is observed on the carpet, I give one warning whole group.  Does calling out and interrupting a lesson fit with the CHAMPs expectations?  At this point, I give the kids a chance to explain why not.  Now I know they understand that level zero during my instruction time means they are breaking a rule.  If the behavior continues, I pick up the clipboard and mark off a student name.  This often redirects all kids because they don't know who, but someone is having their color moved.  At a later time, the color move is discussed one on one and the clip is adjusted.  This is always private.  

The chart is positive too!  We celebrate the positives moves up the chart all day long.  The kids march their happy little bodies right over while we give three snaps in the z formation.  Kids are highly motivated to get to the top of the color scale.  If you make it to the top of the rainbow chart, you get to add your name to the rainbow bucket.  A student is selected from this bin for student of the month.  I spent an additional few days on probability so that kids REALLY understand behavior over time.

The writing focus is another brilliant file from A Cupcake for a Teacher.  The left table is my writing center, perfectly placed under the focus board.  The 9 cubes under the board are literacy centers.  I will do an updated post once the rotations are in place.  I expect this to happen in the next week.  The right table is my word work center and supplies.

I added a few freebies to my board too!  The pencil is from Lindsey, The Teacher's Wife and the Text Features are from Ginger Snaps.  They set off the board nicely!  

Remember the boxes behind the curtains? I remove any excess items not needed and set them out on the floor of the classroom.  I leave a visual example of what is expected in the box.  The kids are asked to come unpack their bags.  The supplies not featured will remain with the kids at their desk.  

I found myself walking through the frames at Target yesterday.  I decided to frame Michelle's file (Just Frame It) smaller and place them on the shelves around the classroom.  Her classroom rules, I framed larger and will share pictures this week on Instagram.

I received the frame in the background as a gift to myself yesterday.  I'm in the middle of my home office design and haven't added pictures yet.  It's killing me that I can see it.  Remember the OCD thing!  LOL!!!  On Instagram, I had someone ask about the labels under the pictures.  They're also a freebies here and here

I've created small reading and writing literature focus.  This will be a place to add vocabulary story words and standards we are addressing.  The skills have decoding strategies (freebie from The First Grade Parade) and will house Anna's visual standards to assist students in their learning.  The kids will interact with this pocket chart.  Last year I used velcro and the words were pulled to assist a task with my kindergarteners.  

I have a few additional pictures that I'd like to save for my first day back to school post so I'm going to conclude today's tour!  I'm eager to see this room transform, stamped with my kids ideas. LOL

Although there are many great freebies embedded, there are several files for sale too!  I've joined the Back to School sale for a deeper discount.


Megan said...

I am a looping teacher also, but I don't change rooms. I can't imagine having to move each year! I just change the set up and decor each year.

Jacque said...

Your classroom is so cute! I love the colors that you have used. Perfect for both boys and girls.


Mrs. Sheehan said...

Your classroom is gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing the info on those hooks. I have the most difficult time displaying charts!

Sarah Paul said...

I just went a little pin crazy my friend! I LOVE your classroom! Definitely one of my favorites, which is saying a lot because I've seen some amazing classroom tours lately. :)
Sarah's First Grade Snippets

Doodle Bugs said...

looks awesome! very organized. Makes my heart happy!

Julie O'connor said...

Thanks for sharing!! Your room looks great! I've got some great ideas for my room!

Ginger Snaps said...

That reading nook is awesome!! I don't know if I could trust my third graders in a room like that though! But I love the idea! We don't have closets so that isn't an option for me. :(

P.S. thanks for stopping by my slice of cyber space and leaving your sweet comment about my new Eggsoeriments mini unit. It made my day! :)

Becky said...

Your room looks so good! Can you share what you have in all of the bins by your windows?

Lesson Plans & Lattes

Shelley Rolston said...

Hi Cheryl,

I love those chart magnets. I MUST have them! Your room looks great and organized. I bet the kiddos love that reading room! I used to have a huge classroom with a huge storage room that I turned into a rainforest reading room complete with cellophane on the windows for the green effect.

Thanks for sharing. I begin my set up on Tuesday unpacking boxes. Pop by for a look later in the week.

:) Shelley

The Perks of Teaching Primary

Mrs Cupcake said...

Your room looks amazing!! I love those reading nooks, I can see why the kids enjoy them! :) Thank you for the love, too!!
A Cupcake for the Teacher

Jocelyn said...

Your classroom is massive!! =) I'm jealous! I wish I could pay someone to make my classroom look halfway decent.

asbishop said...

I found this so helpful to see just how you were using the products and why. I wish my room were as organized and big as yours. I love it!

Jean Robinson said...

I am SO sad I do not have a closet to make into a reading room for my kiddos! My room is just a box. I love making little nooks within the room. I think it makes it more cozy. I LOVE your classroom!
Diving Into 2nd Grade

Mrs. T. said...

Your room looks fantastic! I moved to 4th from first this year and wish you made TPT files for fourth too! I love your work and passion for children,

Ms. Chae Charges In! said...

I'm looping too, but I am only having 4 of my kids from last year. And I don't have to change rooms which is a huge plus. But I am going to use some of those organizing tips. Thanks..
Ms. Chae Charges In

Traci - Dragonflies in First said...

Your room looks awesome! I LOVE your little "reading room".
❤ Traci
Dragonflies in First

Teacher-ific said...

Super cute!!! Thanks for sharing! :)

For His Glory Teaching said...

I loveeee your reading room and calendar!!!

Debbie Teise said...

Your room looks great! Love those Bucket graphics. Cute!


D. Frideley said...

I like your reading area a lot! I've looped in the past and enjoyed it. Your room is HUGE! I can't imagine having to decorate it.