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.

Meet the Teacher

Today is the first official day back to school for teachers.  We begin our week long Pre-Planning sessions.  During this time we prep the year with committee formations, grade level meetings, and classroom setup.  The possibilities are endless as I embark on adventures in 1st grade with my kindergarten class.

I'm thrilled to give you a peek inside Primary Graffiti and my adventures looping!  With a new charter school opening only miles away, I expected a few student transfers.  I'm excited that 90% of my roll has remained the same this school year.

This is quirky me, Cheryl Saoud.

The schedule this week...

I would like to say that I will post all these promptly but I'm a realist and it's the first week of school.  If not prompt, I will post at some point through the week.  :)

1.  I'm a nut for outdoor adventures! These are the escapades of my hubster and I this summer...

2.  I can equally spend time shopping!  At this point, it's a sickness!  The Red Dress Boutique is my favorite place to shop! I actually travel six hours to visit this store in Athens, Georgia.

3.  I'm borderline obsessed with bubble statement necklaces, scarves, and decorative earrings.  Always sporting but never together!

4.  When I'm not getting dolled up or getting rugged with the outdoors, I enjoy shopping for antiques and reclaimed decor.  I've had a little fun this past week transforming my home office.  

Reclaimed Shelves from Charm (a local Jacksonville Shop).
Chalkboard paints by Cece Caldwell (a local Jacksonville artist).

It's not polished but it's a start!  Hope to have updates soon!

5.  I have two precious puppies: Baya the 5 year old Shih-Tzu and Meakah the 11 year old Pekingese.  Baya is infatuated with Lyle the Crocodile. Meakah is camera shy and offend on sly!

6.  Fall is my favorite season.  Cool air, leaves change, friends and fellowship merge with holiday traditions, and FOOTBALL begins!

7.  I walk to my own beat!  Always listening to music, never the same genre.  I'm a hippie at heart and love my Carole King and James Taylor but can rock with the best of Nirvana.  My concert bucket list includes Garth Brooks, No Doubt, and Boys II Men.  My life is like an iPod Shuffle, you never know what music you get!

8. I started Insanity.  I've been working out my whole life.  As an athlete, I've done lots of running and weight lifting.  As a trainer, I helped patrons target goals and work to achieve them.  With cross-fit, I found a total body transformation.  Insanity is just plain insane!

9.  Okra and Stewed Tomatoes has this southern gal running for the dinner table.  It's quick and easy.  Dice okra in a pan, chop 1/2 of a yellow onion, and add a finely diced clove of garlic.   Include a little olive oil to keep the okra from burning to the pan.  Saute them for five minutes for a little flavor.  Add a can of stewed tomatoes and real bacon bits.  You can add bacon as desired!  Play with the combinations.  Simmer 15 minutes or until tender on low-med heat.

 I use a quarter of this bag!

10.  I'm totally sucked into The Newsroom on HBO.  Have you seen this show yet?  It's Brilliant!

I hope to be back soon with pictures of my classroom tour!  You can link with the button below to meet different teacher bloggers!

Kindergarten Theme 9: Focus Wall

I'm nearly finished with my Kindergarten Portable Focus Walls for Houghton Mifflin Reading.  I hope to be back in a bit with Theme 10.  I plan on banging out 1st grade through this week.  Once I complete the entire year, I will bundle the themes and place one copy for free in my store.  You can already scoop up the 2nd grade bundle created a few years ago. 

Kindergarten Theme 9, Selection 1: Spring is Here
Kindergarten Theme 9, Selection 2: Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash
Kindergarten Theme 9, Selection 3: Review

A Huge THANK YOU and Winners Announced!

I know y'all are DYING to know the winners...but first let me say THANK YOU to every single person that participated in this giveaway. We never dreamed that it would turn out to be such a HUGE event. On our final giveaway, we had just shy of 70,000 entries! THAT is CRAZY...and yet another reason that I love teachers! Also one more thank you to our sponsors for donating such fabulous prizes and for being such big cheerleaders for teachers. Make sure you show them lots of love and follow them on Facebook. If you missed those links, you can check them out again right {HERE}. We can't wait for our Back to School Bash 2014! 

The winners for my Bash Baskets, as well as the Grand Prize Bash Basket are below. If you didn't happen to worries! Many of our sponsors know how much money teachers pour and invest into their classrooms and students. So, they have been extremely generous {once again} and have provided coupons to help cut down on expenses. You will find several coupon codes below!  

Now! Here we go... 

{All winners have already been contacted via the email address that you entered into Rafflecopter. If your name appears below, please check your email and respond with the information requested.}

And our GRAND PRIZE Winner...

Congratulations to all of our winners! We hope you enjoy your prizes! 

For those of you that did not win and would like to get your shop on, here are some coupons to help you out! 

Silhouette America

Silhouette offers a 20% off ongoing discount. Register at by clicking {HERE}.  

Erin Condren

Visit Erin Condren now until August 15: Enter "TEACHERLOVE" at checkout and receive 10% off {Teachers' category only}. 

Put a Case on Me

Visit Put a Case on Me and input code "back2school" and receive 10% off of your entire order! 

Tiny Dazzles

Visit Tiny Dazzles for some Back to School shopping! We know every teacher loves her accessories! 

We hope you enjoyed our Back to School Bash! Congrats again to all of our winners! Wishing all of our teacher friends a fabulous start to a brand new year!