On the first day of school, my plan is to have students complete a worksheet listing their favorite books, colors, and other basic information. I will take a picture of them holding this blank chalkboard and then I will use a digital photo editor to personalize the board based on their answers. I will use this as their first page in their 1st grade memory book. (Chalkboard Sign $5)
I love finding a great bargain and a chance to personalize items, the Target Dollar Spot is always a great place to find affordable things that leave room to be creative. Here are just a few of the items I scored this year!
The bus sign was the perfect back drop to list our classroom Dismissal Plan. I'm not yet sure if I will hang a paper with our bus assignments below it, or hang ribbons and use clothes pins to mark students dismissal plan. We shall see this September when my room will be ready for my first group of firsties! (Decor Sign $3)
Things are about to change, I'm moving from 5th grade to 1st grade this fall! There are so many differences between the way a 5th grader and a 1st grader works and thinks, am I prepared? I'm moving into a (gorgeous and huge) new classroom, which means the cabinets are empty (a blessing and a curse).
During this past school year we celebrated Read Across America Week. The first day had a theme of "Bring a Book Buddy" for D.E.A.R (Drop Everything And Read). I was surprised of the amount of 5th grade friends that brought a stuffed animal or baby doll from home to read with during D.E.A.R time. Sometimes teachers forget that, as big as our 5th graders are, they are still children. I want to bring play and fun into my new classroom as much as I can, Book Buddies are an easy way to incorporate reading and fun at the same time! Here are some Book Buddies that I found at Kohl's this week. The proceeds raised benefit children across all of our communities (which is a great reason to explain why I needed ALL of the Mo Willem book characters). I also lucked out by finding some of the old Dr. Seuss Kohl's care line at a clearance price!
"It takes a village"
If it 'takes a village' to raise a child, it takes a city to support a classroom! I WOULD NOT be the teacher I am today without the schools, leadership, coworkers, and teams that I have had working with me the past six years.
In my school, things tend to change dramatically over the course of a summer. We expect to have some changes in our staff, some grade level changes, and a few new hires. Before the school year lets out, I wanted to take the time to thank the teachers (aka the village) that have helped me so much.
The It's 'Worth It' Box
For six years, I have kept a "Binder Full of Sunshine". My binder has clear sleeves that are full of positive student letters, cards, notes, parent emails, art work, or whatever else crosses my desk. I hang onto these things that make me smile, because every day is not as easy as the rest.
My first principal suggested I keep these items that make me smile, to hang onto in the years to come. It has been something I truly value and it has helped me through some harder days.
All humans can be readers, if they find the right book! Harry Potter opened up the world of reading, magic, and possibilities for me. Being a classroom teacher, spending 30+ hours with young minds, it is my job to expose students to their type of book.
With testing and curriculum, how do you find time to do a read-aloud? Easy, reading aloud is learning and curriculum! Reading together allows GREAT class discussions on important topics in addition to exposure to vocabulary, quality writing, fluent reading, new text structure, genre books, author studies and more. As we read we monitor comprehension, make predictions, and connections! So I ask you, with testing and curriculum, how can you NOT do a read aloud?
Certain days allow more time to invest into a novel as a class, but when we are doing a class novel we take some time every day to read together. Sometimes this is as they are unpacking in the morning, as transition from recess, at dismissal, or taking the time to read as we relax to soak up reading.
Turn off the lights, close the curtains, shut the door, and READ! This is the first year I have tried flashlight reading! The students LOVE it! We usually work to earn this as a reward over the course of a week in our reading blocks. Students can earn minutes towards flashlight reading by meeting our small group expectations (6inch voices, on task, keep teacher time special...). It's so catchy to say flashlight Friday, but our schedule makes it easier to work into on Wednesdays when we don't have RTI reading (Response to Intervention).
Within 30 minutes of meeting my new coworkers, I was warned how serious they take Read Across America Week. Each year our building hosts guest readers, has dress down days, decorates doors, does Seuss trivia, and many other fun activities. I'm so excited for the events we have planned for our students across the school and in the classroom!
Seuss Week Activities
Now that I've been in the same school for two years, I've learned to keep my eye out for Seuss finds throughout the year. Target also has a great selection towards mid-February or the start of March.
Door Decorating Contest!
What is Valentine's Day when it comes to the classroom? For me it is a community building opportunity to notice the things we love about our school and classroom and the people we share it with.
The Children's Book World is a locally owned business, that may love books just as much as I do! Through their shop and author programs, I have had the opportunity to meet many beloved authors, hear them speak about writing, and get signed books for our classroom library. (It is also a GREAT way to get student motivated to read a new book or genre!)
Bulletin boards are great way to encourage community and school spirit. They can be educational, motivational, or just pure decoration. Either way, when the kids see something new they get excited (especially when their name or face is on it)!
Avery Labels are addicting, seriously I may have a problem. Our school uses a Wednesday folder system to communicate with families. We have a great waxy folder to use that has our school logo on it, but sharpie wears off or blends in. The Avery label lets me neatly type each name and clearly label each folder.
Inside the folder, I placed two small labels to sort the items that can stay at home and which items need to be returned RIGHT away (can you guess which side gets returned).
Current 5th grade teacher and former middle school educator trying to be techy, Reading Specialist, Science Coordinator, Student Government Coordinator, life long learner, and avid reader