Sunday, September 18, 2011

And Now, The Moment You've Been Waiting For...

What was supposed to be a restful, relaxing day turned out to be anything but!  I woke up this morning feeling like my skin was on fire – it turns out I had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics I was taking (yes, the one for the spider bite turned staph infection I had gotten earlier in the week) and developed hives all over my body!  Yuck!  So I made a little trip to urgent care (we’re on a first name basis now – haha) and made it out of there in record time – one hour!  Woohoo!  Lol.  I then stopped by Target to pick up some soothing lotion, vitamin E oil, and antihistamines to go along with my new prescription, returned home to load my car full of books, and finally made it to school (4 hours later than expected – ha).  Anyways, that’s neither here nor there; the fact is that I made it and have some pictures for you! :-) 
Here are the before pictures (to get you prepared for the amazing-ness that you are about to witness – hehe):

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… (Are you ready for this?!?  Brace yourself!)

Welcome to the Olympic Training Center! 

(I'm hoping you shouted some Ooohs and Ahhhs after seeing these pictures!) :-)

And now for the details (sorry for the poor picture quality, most of these were taken with my new iPhone)...

The Olympic rings were created from colored posterboard, laminated, and hung up as the main focus in the room.

Sound/Spelling cards - organized by category (consonants, short vowels, long vowels, vowel teams, r-controlled vowels, and diagraphs)

I hung the sound/spelling cards using string and clothespins, that way I can take them down and hang them up when needed

The Focus Wall!  This bulletin board is home to most of our reading strategies and skills that we will use on a regular basis.  The blue paper in the center is for the story we will be reading and the red and blue pocket charts are for our vocabulary (current vocab words displayed on red chart, last week's words displayed on blue chart).  This bulletin board is still a work in progress, but I'll be sure to show you an updated picture once I get it up and running!

 And now, the Word Wall of Fame!  This is where we will hang "no excuse" words or words that the students must know in their reading and be able to spell correctly in their writing.  This is also a work in progress, but I'm hoping to have the kids write some words to display this week! 

In between the two walls of the Word Wall of Fame, you'll find our easel and floor space (with the blue and yellow tape clearly marking the boundaries of where to sit during "carpet time"/whole-group instruction - I quickly realized that boundaries were a skill we needed some work on after the very first day! Haha.

Next stop, Hopes and Dreams...

I had heard about this great idea from a teaching blog (Thank you Mrs. VanDyke!) and adapted it to fit the needs of our class.  Here's what we did:
We started with brainstorming a list of things we hoped to accomplish in class this year.  I then gave each child a dream cloud to write what they personally hoped to accomplish in school this year.  Once they had turned these in to me, I compiled a list of hopes for each class and turned it into a graphic organizer.  The following day, I shared all the students' hopes and dreams with each class.  I then asked them,"What do we have to do every day in class in order to accomplish our hopes and dreams?"  This is what they came up with:

 Our class promise (Thank you Mrs. O for helping with this wonderful idea)! Every time the students enter the "Olympic Training Center," they must adhere to these rules (after all, they made a promise) ;-).  It was a fun way to get the students involved in creating the classroom rules/expectations and helped establish a classroom community.

Here are a few examples of what the students wrote:

and my personal favorite...

(I hope I could win the mortal kombat!)

Haha.  It puts a smile on my face every time!  :-D

Since my classroom is housed in the conference room, I have this wonderful cabinet in the middle of the wall.

When you open it, this is what's inside: some chart paper, a white board, and a bulletin board!

 This is great, however, it takes up a lot of wall space and covers all my wall decorations when open.  I tried putting posters on it, but the finish on the wood would not allow for any sticky-ness.  Needless to say, it will remain a block of wood for the time being...

Moving on...

These are the lifeskills that I expect my students to use everyday in my class.  They include skills such as hard work, friendship, self-control, team spirit, confidence, and personal best (at the very top of the pyramid because that is the overall goal).  Here are a few zoomed in:

Now onto the front of the room... 
HOWL - our  school's Positive Behavior Support (PBS) acronym (the yellow blurbs tell students what each letter looks like in a classroom setting)

 Happy and Sad Pencil Cups - that way students won't have to get up to sharpen their pencil in the middle of class, they can just trade out their sad one for a happy one!  :-D  Also, check out my awesome electric pencil sharpener that I purchased from Target (on sale for $10)!

 The white board at the front of the room (notice all the lovely magnets on my board!).  Above the board are some inspirational quotes and more (accompanied by pictures) next to the board (all fitting the "Olympic Dream" theme)!

 Some ways to keep my small space organized! 

My happy little bathroom, hall, and office passes

And lastly, rounding the final corner...

   Writing expectations


How to choose a "just right" book (Thanks Mrs. Carroll at the First Grade Parade for these fabulous print-outs using the Daily 5)

Just a few more things to go...

This chart will be used for "Hot Tamale" words - words that will spice up our writing!

Last but not least, just a small sample of the books that make up my classroom library (I still have quite a few more boxes to unload and organize).  The blue bins will hopefully expand to each of their own letters (space permitting), but for now they are grouped together (practicing their lifeskills of friendship and cooperation - haha). 

I hope you enjoyed the tour!  Happy almost Monday!


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