Saturday, August 25, 2012

Back to School Sneak Peak

I can't believe how quickly time slips away from us in the month of August.  Add in one week of Orton-Gillingham training and numerous late nights setting up our classrooms and POOF! The first day of school has arrived!  I am so thrilled to kick off this new school year with many new programs and ideas to try!  This will be the first year of my new Critter Cafe along with introducing the 6 Traits Writing and Whole Brain Teaching!  (Perhaps I bit off more than I can chew but those teachers already using the WBT approach in their classrooms already know the joys of what I am striving to accomplish in my classroom!  It really does WORK and out of 26 firsties this year, I have 90% participating already consistently!  YIPPEE!!  But before I go rambling, take a sneak peek into Room 102....

Twas' the first night back in my room, and what do I see?

Oh boy, it will be weeks before I sleep!

But she worked and she worked,
round the clock,
day and night.
And soon,
her room,
was a magical sight!

30 new book baskets ordered online from the Dollar Tree!

I think I may have the kiddos make book labels this year to give them some ownership!

New Math Corner Focus Wall 

More GREAT finds at the DOLLAR TREE!  Sorting Sticks, Foam Cubes (That Amanda Nickerson suggested using for Making Words), Sentence Strips for 6 Traits ideas, and post-its for Learning Targets!

Daily 5 GREAT BUYS for Word Work!  

Fun Math Games on Clearance at Meijer.  Thought these would be a great add-in for Math Daily coming soon!

Bubbles for the first day!

Meghan over at First Grade with a Cherry on Top had this FABULOUS idea !  Instead of giving the usual welcome  treat bags for the first day, I chose "Blowing your Jitters Away".  We read "First Day Jitters" and then drank some Jitter Juice to settle our tummies, and then went outside to watch the bubbles carry our jitters away!  SO FUN!

Hop on over to First Grade with a Cherry on Top for this fabulous freebie!

I have done STAR STUDENT of the Week for many years now.  When I got wind of the Celebrity of the Week idea from Mrs. Bainbridge, I went straight over to ABC CENTER and bought everything they had!  Because I have ran out of wall space in the classroom, our new CELEBRITY focus wall is right out in the hallway!  No more paper or posters to buy!  I laminated these and on Mondays, the Celebrity takes a dry erase marker and writes on each star to answer a particular question about themselves!  A portrait will be taped to the red carpet and they get to write their name really big on the feature board!  Each day they can bring in a share item for share time.

On Friday, they get their picture taken with an OSCAR and get featured in our weekly newsletter!  They also get to sign our Hollywood WALK of FAME!

Open House WELCOME wall.  The vine says "Swingin into First Grade!"  Each animal has a student's name on it!  

My new CLIP behavior system!  LOVE IT!  Was so excited that I took the picture BEFORE the clips went on! hahahaha!
This is a freebie on TPT so hop on over to my store and grab it!

BLING and cubby envelopes with incentive charts from  JoAnn Fabric and the Dollar Tree!  Meghan over at Cherry on Top had the most REVOLUTIONARY idea for CLIP system incentives!  Be sure to check out her post!  She suggested when a student earns a Pink clip UP, they can choose an award out of the class Behavior Catalog!  If a student earns a Purple Clip Up, which is the highest honor, the student earns a piece of BLING to stick on his/her clip!  Fancy Dancy!
When I explained this program to the kids on the first day, they we SUPER excited about the BLING!

On the left is TRUDY the Tattle Turtle!  For the first few weeks of school, we have many discussions on how to tell the difference between a tattle and an emergency.  If it happens to be a tattle, students should draw or write it down on a post-it and place it in Trudy's special basket.  They can also tell Trudy their tattle by "whispering it" in her ear!
If students find loose change or money that is not claimed, we save it in our Hershey Man Bank!  Once it's full we can buy a sweet treat for the class!

This is my "At the Restroom" sign.  Laminated by the door, each student has the opportunity to earn a bathroom clip with their number on it.  Through good deeds and showing responsible behavior, they can use this pass privilege to leave the room, stretch their legs, walk to the hallway restroom and grab a drink on the way back.  We allow one boy clip and one girl clip to hang on the sign at a time.  For this easy management freebie, hop on over to my TPT store and pick it up for FREE!

This wonderful little unit houses our electric pencil sharpeners and our "privacy walls and box of mints" for testing days.  

I have had this Mailbox system for years and I absolutely LOVE how it builds ownership and responsible behaviors with my first grade students!  Any mail, newsletters, or information that needs to get home is sorted and put into each students mailbox.  Each mailbox is numbered 1-26.  That is the numbering system I use for EVERYTHING in my room!
I have fifth grade helpers that come down everyday to work as Teacher Helpers and I give them the job of distributing the mail.  At the end of each day, the students pick up mail and put it in their green GO HOME folders to take home!  EASY PEASY!
With newer desks and chairs, the old way of taping down nameplates was harsh and nothing seemed to STICK long enough!  So this spring I wrote a grant to our wonderfully amazing PGA and check out these babies!  New Prop and Parks by Really Good Stuff.  

I suggest staying away from the really LARGE nameplates and going with an average size like this one!  Laminate and it will fit perfectly!  Students already love the deep pencil wells because nothing rolls of the desk anymore!  HOORAY!  

My incredibly wonderful boyfriend Chris brought this to me  as a surprise!  He grabbed it from his work as they were cleaning out the warehouse.  How lucky am I?  And it's on WHEELS!  This is better than dinner and a movie!  It houses all my Daily 5 Word Work materials to start the year!  Isn't it fabulous!  Top shelf has POPCORN sight words games,  inside the pink box is the Play-Doh, Green Stripe box has Wikki Stix, and the red & clear dots boxes have magnetic letters.  The yellow box to the right is PYRAMID game for practicing sight words by Really Good Stuff.
Second row is ROLL a DICE (making words game) green polka dot box has  The red dot box and red sleeve holds my WORD LADDER games.  There are bingo dotters and scented markers on the right for writing RAINBOW words!  The Bottom shelves have SCRABBLE tiles, CHUNKS game, Boggle, and Jr. Scrabble.  To the right are card decks that include SOUND HOUNDS, Hula Hoop Contractions, Rhyming Memory, etc.
My launch will include the top shelf first quarter.
Second shelf during second quarter.
Third shelf during third and fourth quarters.
The only thing that is not shown are the white boards.  Students have assigned white boards that stay inside a fabric bag for durability.  These bags hang inside each of their cubbies along with their own dry erase markers and a sock for erasing.

This is my new Daily 5 Listening Center Cart.  It has 2 sides.  One side has all cassette bags.  The other has CD bags.  I have collected more than 150 from Scholastic over the years!  The kids LOVE the LISTEN to READING choice!  I wrote a grant through our district and am patiently awaiting the arrival of my new wireless Listening Center and Carpet to designate this area with!
I was just having a good laugh my with dear teaching friend Michelle over our PILES!  Well, here's to all the teachers out there that have PILES like mine!  YOU ARE AWESOME!  Unfortunately, the piles would probably crush a little one so I needed some organization, and FAST!  

I worked in the basement all summer to organize my Daily 5 materials, my new Critter Cafe materials and my 6 Traits.  I found these awesome tubs at Office Max, used my teacher coupon and got them cheap!
Now I have a counter top that is super neat and free from clutter.

This is a peek inside my EXPAND Vocabulary tub.  It has the CRITTERS  in front and files containing each of the strategies for the lessons.  Anything and Everything that I have collected on Expand Vocabulary is now in this tub!

A peek inside the file folder of Turtle Tunes (I can tune into interesting words)!  I have a picture of the anchor chart, the beanie critter, and the CAFE's strategy lesson copied and ready to go!

Here is my cutie-pie working late one night giving my Read to Self chairs a bit of pizzazz!

How fun with this be to sit in and read!!!!
Notice the anchor posters above for Daily 5 are not for I charts.
I am using these to launch each ROUND of Daily 5.
As we get going, the kids and I will CONNECT each part of Daily 5 with animal print duct tape.  Eventually it will make a ROUND graphic organizer that they can use as a visual to help them choose which part of the D5 to select next!

If you are interested in our First Grade Critter CAFE, email me for more information!  With a special $7.00 donation to my classroom, I will share the Critter CAFE with you for free!

I have the color scheme of the Critter Cafe to match the cue cards and strategy cards on the board menu.  Comprehension materials will be in Green.  Accuracy materials will be in Orange.  Fluency will be in Blue.  Expand Vocab. will be in Pink.  The black tubs below the board have color labels to indicate what type of books they have inside.  I am trying to sort and collect my book collections according to the four components of CAFE.  As a new critter is introduced, we will place it in the corresponding baskets.  When students are doing Read to Self or Read with the Teacher, they can grab the critter they want to "get to know better" and practice that strategy while reading.

I have ALWAYS wanted to have a meaningful writing focus wall.  11 years later, here we go!
The Down Under Teacher has a wonderful 6 Traits Writing VOICES packet on sale at TPT.  I was fast to grab that, laminate it and presto!  I have the famous PINTEREST inspired RATE your WRITING in the middle.  We don't have the star ratings up yet because I want the kiddos to connect with that when we introduce it.  To the right is my Daily 5 Work on Writing Choices.  This is a merge between beginning Writer's Workshop and Work on Writing.  Each day of Work on Writing, my mini-lesson will include the How-to on each of those 8 writing choices.  We will hang up the example we made together as a class and then the kids can add that choice to their Work on Writing options.  

My goal this year, is to connect all the themes running in the room.  Since the Critter CAFE functions as a menu, this writing focus wall also serves as a menu.  The idea of having choices when reading and writing is inspiring and the kids are going to love it! 

I will definitely add this writing choice headers to my TPT store for Free!  Check in soon to grab them!

Best Buy of the year!  Did you know this cart is 89 bucks in the Really Good Stuff catalog.  Did you also know that it is only 34 bucks at your local Wal Mart!  I plan on using it for my Work on Writing choices.  Since students have 8 choices, Each type of paper choice will be housed in each of the labeled drawers.  The fun pink toolbox on top is for morning meeting and strategy instruction!  I use the Hula Hoops for just about everything from graphic organizers on the board to understanding personal space on the carpet!  LOVE them!

This is my Mystery CRITTER box!  It will help me introduce each new Critter for the Critter CAFE!
I got this precious inferring idea from Babbling Abby.  Check out this great buy at her TPT store!
I took a bright orange NIKE box and spray painted it with white and black.  Definitely not perfect but it looks so much fun, who cares, right!

Open to the inside and find some extra animal print fabric left over from the chairs.  It is now a nice liner for the box!

Oh, here is a bit more organization for my Daily 5 resources!    I made the blue binder for the first 30 days of the launch.

Inside my Daily 5 tub is anchor charts from TPT for reference,  assessment materials, etc.

A peek at my binder.

Daily 5 for Dummies is very helpful!

Well I am late for dinner with the cutie-pie so more to come very soon!  xoxoxo


  1. What a fabulous post! I love all of your organization ideas. And thank you so much for the little shout out! Your classroom looks GREAT!

    First Grade with a Cherry on Top

  2. I love your target goals board! And I saw that you have the Phonics Dance cards up too! I started the phonics dance this year and I'm LOOOOVING it so far!
    Rowdy in First Grade

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Oops...I meant to say that I love your classroom! It is so creative and organized!

  5. You are blowing my mind with all that you do! Such an inspiration, thank you :)


Pin It button on image hover