Sunday, July 8, 2012

Getting There....

I used to think summer was the time to relax and not think, even for a second, about school. Well, things have definitely changed thanks to good ol' Pinterest! I have spent much more time than usual this summer working on things and "pinning" ideas for school. I have always made it a personal rule to not go up to school until after the 4th of July, but here it is the 8th of July and I am nearly finished with my room! I do have some finishing touches to add, as well as labeling/stuffing folders, getting things ready for open house and sending post cards to my new little first graders, but for the most part, I think I'm about finished!

Now, let me go ahead and say that I am in NO WAY an overachiever! I have a summer class starting tomorrow and it goes until after school starts, so I was really on a race against time with this class starting. I have also had my parents and my husband's parents offer to keep my two-year-old at their house for a few days, which leaves me with no excuse but to go up to school and work. I tried to take the lil' miss with me one day, but it was a nightmare! My unifix cubes, which were perfectly organized into rows of 10 by color, were in complete disarray; my counters, which were so nicely put in ziploc bags in groups of 20, were lined up in a "counter train" around my room; and I can't even speak about the situation with my books....let's just say the babysitting help was much needed and appreciated. As I type this, I have my little helper sitting on my lap telling me to "push 'd', push 'f''!"

This may be my last post for a little while as I tackle the demands of summer school. I am looking forward to graduating with my Master's in Literacy Education in May '13!! I am also really looking forward to meeting my new group of firsties as I try out some new teaching techniques and ideas. I am SUPER excited to try out the Daily 5 in my classroom and am happy to report that I am "Daily 5 Ready!" Check out my set-up!

I am so proud of the way this section of my classroom came out. The top row contains baskets for different word work materials such as magnetic letters, glitter letters, play-doh, stamps, scrabble tiles, etc. The bottom two rows are my students' book boxes (which my wonderful sister-in-law picked up for me from IKEA @ $1.99/5 pack!!!!!!) The book boxes will contain 5-7 "Just Right" books that the students will select themselves, a writing journal, strategy bookmark and a Daily 5 folder which will contain a weekly self reflection and checklist, as well as Work Work handouts to practice spelling and phonics skills. As each component of the Daily 5 is introduced, we will make a rough draft of the anchor chart and I will transfer the ideas to the posters (I just had to go ahead and hang them to get the full effect).

While doing my Master's in Literacy, I have learned a lot about reading strategies, which brings me to the Literacy CAFE that will be part of the Daily 5. Each time a strategy is taught, it will be posted under the appropriate CAFE heading. Student names will be placed beside the strategy in which they will be asked to focus on during the Daily 5 for the week. I have been searching for a way to manage my literacy block for the past four years of my teaching. I love that the Daily 5 is not a curriculum and does not take away from anything I am already doing in my classroom. This system is simply going to allow me to work in small groups with students and differentiate instruction to meet the needs of every student! I know that sounds like a whole lot of "blah, blah, blah", but I really mean it! I truly believe this is my answer to a question I have searched and searched and searched for: "How can I teach EACH student in my classroom how to read?" I look forward to sharing more on my experiences with the Daily 5!

I will leave with more pictures of my {almost} finished classroom. I still have about another day's worth of work, but I really think it is getting there!

Here is the "Work on Writing" area with the Word Wall right next door. After students finish their writing, they will use glasses (3-D glasses with the lenses taken out) to check that they have the "Writer's Eye."

Here is a closer look at the "Work on Writing" complete with the "Spotlight on GREAT Writing" frame that was a huge hit and motivator last year! Also, thanks to my crafty mom for the crate storage seats!

View from the Cubbies

View from the Door

Classroom Library and Star Reader Board

I used 2 Scrabble tile holders and hot glued tacks to the back to make a little shelf for the Star Reader's Favorite Book. The yellow book shelf is for seasonal and curriculum specific books. It will have "Back to School" books on it in a couple of weeks.
{Probably needs some fresh paint, too!}

Calendar Area

Guided Reading Area

Behavior Area

Whole Brain Teaching Rules and Hand Signals

Owl Theme Door

Well, I guess that's about it! I'm sure I will keep scouring the internet, teaching blogs and Pinterest for more inspiration. I hope everyone has a great rest of the summer!