Posts Tagged ‘classroom organization’

How Do We Go Home Bulletin Board

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Hi all! Jennifer here from Kinderama. Back to school is just around the corner so I picked up some classroom supplies at a dollar store for my kindergarten classroom. The colors of these supplies and decorations this summer are perfect for any classroom. I put together a “How Do We Get Home” Bulletin Board with some decorations from Teacher Created Resources. My favorite is the Ribbon Runners! They are double-sided and have so many uses.

Here are the decorations and supplies I used to create the bulletin board. I picked up the magnetic containers, floral foam, and popsicle sticks from a dollar store.

How Do We Go Home Bulletin Board Supplies Teacher Created Resources

Supplies:
Zebra Colorful Circles Accents
Zebra Colorful Circles Mini Accents
Lime Chevron Straight Border Trim
Zebra Chevron Dot Ribbon Runner
Big Bold Black & White Circle Letters
Magnetic Containers
Floral Foam
Popsicle Sticks

How Do We Go Home Bulletin Board - Teacher Created Resources

This project was quick and easy! I chose to create a bulletin board, but the containers are magnetic so you could use them on your whiteboard or classroom door if they are magnetic.  The floral foam is great to use when you want the item to stay in place, I will be using it to hold the popsicle sticks in place.

Instructions:

1) Apply the ribbon runner to the containers. You could use either side which is so perfect! I laminated mine so that they were durable and I could reuse them. I used glue dots and double-sided tape to secure.

2) Next, create the circles using the large Zebra Accents and Circle Letters. I used letters to represent how students get home: W-walker, P-pickup, A-After School Program, and B-bus. I am always finding ways to work on sounds, and this is the perfect way to end the day with a little sound review. Students are always excused by the teacher in these small groups, one group at a time. After you put the circles together, adhere them to the front of the container.

3) Cut the floral foam circle in fourths and place one piece in each container. This will help to hold the popsicle/craft sticks in place.

4) Then create the bulletin board by adding border trim and ribbon runners around the edges and spell out “How Do We Get Home” in Circle Letters.

5) After the bulletin is all setup it is time to staple on the holders, add some tissue paper, and add the popsicle sticks with students names and how they get home.

I can’t wait to receive my class list and writing names. I will coordinate the small accent circles to coordinate with the large accent circles. I created this bulletin board because at the end of the day in Kindergarten, ensuring that all students get to the right place can be pretty hectic.

I have tried using a poster with labels, a list on a clipboard, and a clip chart using clothes pins but none of those have worked for me. Parents often change the way students get home throughout the year. I wanted an easy way to change it if needed. Using the decorations and supplies, I created a bulletin board that will work for my classroom. I love how it turned out! It is located in the back of my classroom right above our cubbies and next to the door we exit from.

For more classroom decorating ideas, visit my blog KinderDrama.

Fast and Easy DIY Class Organization Ideas

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

The new school year is here, and teachers everywhere are trying to gear-up for the long haul.  Every fresh, new start, we hope to create space that will inspire the little minds we teach.

Organizing a classroom used by, at the very least, 20 students and keeping it running smoothly without having it look like a tornado hit is no ordinary feat.  Sometimes incorporating just quick, little ideas can make quite the difference.  Here are a couple DIYs that are easy and inexpensive to make.

Lost Things

Creating a designated space for all the “lost things” found on the floor can be quite a time saver in a busy classroom.  Blogger Leslie, of kindergartworks.com shares a great solution for this daily classroom happening.

lost materials

 

In her blog, you can download free labels that have, “lost pencils,” “lost erasers,” “lost crayon,”…well you get the idea.  The labels can then be put on cute containers you can purchase in the $1 bin at Target.  This way, students know automatically, without having to go the teacher, where to put items they find on the floor.  Students can also go straight to these containers if they ever need or lost an item.

http://www.kindergartenworks.com/filing-cabinet/responsibility-in-bucket-kind-of/

Reusable class list

Another easy DIY project is creating a reusable class list.  It’s a great time saver not to have to make multiple class lists, only to hope that the list doesn’t change too much.  Christy of Crayons and Whimsy shows a creative example of this idea in what she calls, “Class List in a Frame.” 

class listTake any picture frame that can be purchased at a Dollar Tree store and paint it any color your want.  (If you’ve become the Pinterest-crazed teacher, I’m sure you have a color theme to your classroom.)  Use scrapbook paper or fabric as the background and glue on a class list.  The list goes into the frame and voila! A very eco-friendly class list that can be utilized in many ways.  When you call students to the back table for craft projects, you can check off their names when they are done.   This list can be used for homework, for permission slips, or anything else you need to keep track of students.  I suggest actually making 2-3 of these to use.  Christy explains this DIY in full detail in her blog.  

http://crayonsandwhimsy.blogspot.com/2013/08/a-diy-class-list-check-off-plus-two.html

 

Wishing teachers everywhere, a fantastic school year!

Thank you for cramming 365 days of knowledge into 180 days.

Let’s Talk Centers

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Hello!  I’m super excited and honored to be a guest blogger for Teacher Created Resources!  My name is Staci and I am the author of a  blog called “Let’s Teach Something”.

I teach Kindergarten and I do lots of centers in my classroom.  I do reading centers in the morning that focus mostly on our sight words and spelling words for the week.  I have literacy centers that focus on certain literature (both fiction and non-fiction) and phonics skills.  I also do learning centers in the afternoon.  These centers are a hodge-podge of skills that still need to be taught and/or reinforced in any subject area.  These learning centers include math, computers, puzzles, writing, sensory, art, listening, and surprise.  Surprise center is one of my favorites because I can make it anything to meet the curriculum needs.

Today, I’m here to talk about how I organize my centers- more specifically my afternoon learning centers.  I have 8 centers, so I rotate the material every 8 school days- which could be intimidating, but is really very easy once you get started.  Here’s how I do it:

Cereal Box Centers

Cereal boxes.  Cereal boxes?!?!  You got it!  I put the materials for all 8 centers into a cereal box- then when it’s time for a certain theme, I grab the designated cereal box and it’s all right there!

Here’s how it works:

Learning Center Materials

 

I have an index card listing all the centers- and the skill/activity the students will be doing at that center.

In the above picture, you will notice that it’s “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” theme.  So, here’s what the kids are doing:

Learning Center Activities

Listening:  Listen to a book on tape/CD.  Be sure to leave the CD and books in the cereal box.

Writing:  Students always get a writing prompt.  At the beginning of the year, it’s simply copying the sentence I have written.  As they become more independent, I omit words for them to fill in such as “A tree is ______ and ______.”  Towards the end of the year, all they get is an open ended writing prompt that allows them to be as creative as they want in their writing such as “In the spring, I like to ________________.”  The writing prompt/example is the only thing that goes into the cereal box.

Art:  Students do an arts/crafts project related to the theme.  Here they are making a mouse puppet.  Be sure to include all patterns, master copies, and a finished sample so the kids know what their end goal is to look like.  I do not include supplies, those are stored permanently at the art center itself, plus the cereal box isn’t big enough to hold all everything.

Puzzles:  Students put together a puzzle or do a higher level thinking activity.  I do not include the puzzle in the cereal box.  I only list what puzzle it is, and I grab it from my puzzle bin when it comes time for that theme.

Math:  If it’s an activity meant specifically for the center, it’s kept in the cereal box (like this math activity where they match the number on the cookie to the chocolate chips on another cookie).  If it’s a math activity I use a lot, it’s kept with my other math curriculum materials.

Sensory:  This center is the easiest to plan and probably the students’ favorite.  I have a supply of sensory materials that I rotate through this center: sand, water, rice, tire shreds, plastic Easter eggs, jingle bells, Legos, water beads, etc.  I also have two dust pans to encourage responsibility and it allows the students to help in the clean-up!

Computers:  I have two classroom computers as well as three iPads.  The students are given a computer program or an iPad app to do during their time at this center.

Surprise:  This center is very flexible in that you can put anything you need your students to work on.  Sometimes it’s a holiday craft, other times it’s a skill that wasn’t mastered or just needs a little extra practice.

“I’m finished with my center, what can I do?”
I used to get this question a lot from my students.  Now, I have jobs that they can do when their center task is complete.
Writing:  Students can draw/write with stencils.
Art:  Students can color in a coloring book.
Listening:  Students can use magnet letters to spell words found in the book.
The rest of the centers are un-ending, meaning- they can rebuild the puzzle, keep playing in the sensory tub, or keep playing the computer game/app until center time is over.

Centers are very beneficial for students because they teach the students the skill presented at that center as well as teaching the students how to work together.  If they come across a question or are unsure of something, they are first to ask their center partner before asking me.  It also gives me an opportunity to catch up on any work a student might be missing, do assessments with students, or reteach a concept that was not mastered in a small group.
So, there you have it- my management and organizational tips for the centers in my classroom.  If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.

And don’t forget to visit my blog for other tips, tricks, and tidbits I use in my classroom.  Don’t forget to look for all the freebies I post!

See you soon and thanks to Teacher Created Resources for having me!
-Staci
www.letsteachsomething.blogspot.com

 

Staci Schutte, is a Kindergarten teacher and the author of a popular blog called Let’s Teach Something, where she shares tips, tricks, and tidbits that she uses in the classroom. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband, two sons and daughter and enjoys running, scrapbooking, and most recently shopping for pink things after having a baby girl a week ago.

 

More Tips for Setting Up Your Classroom

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Teacher’s Manuals
Determining where you place your supply of teacher’s manuals will depend on how much you rely on the manuals. If you rely on them often, then they should be placed wherever you use them the most. You might obtain two copies, keep one set where you meet with the students or where you teach from, and keep the other set on your desk to use for correcting students’ work or planning new lessons. Place tabs in the manuals so that you may quickly and easily refer to the pages where you are working. Label each with a color-coded bookmark to help you select the current resource quickly and readily.

Library
You will need to keep the free-reading resources for your students easily accessible to them. You might use shelves up against a wall or, even better, standing out in the open so that you might use both sides. (Make sure the shelves are sturdy and won’t tip!) Alphabetize your books so that students practice library skills when searching for books as well as when replacing them. As divisions for the books, use large tag tabs with the letters clearly marked. You might also want to arrange the books by subject to help students make their selections.

Group Space
Arrange an area where students can sit on the floor in a large group to meet with you. This is where you would read stories to the class, have group discussions, do experiments, etc. The area should be near the chalkboard or whiteboard with chalk or markers always available. Also have paper, pens, teacher resource materials, and student copies of materials nearby. The chapter book you are reading to the kids, mind puzzlers, seating charts, and grade books might all be resources you will find useful at this spot. It would be ideal to have this area near a window for the benefits of natural light and fresh air.

Colored Carpet Samples
Depending upon the age of the students, you may wish to use colored carpet samples in your classroom. You can place them in certain areas, depending upon where you’d like the students to sit. If they are to be reading silently, spread the samples around the room and have each student choose the one he or she would like. If they are to be sitting with partners, place the carpet samples in twos throughout the room. It is ideal to have the carpet samples set on the floor before the students come into the room. When they enter, they know they are to go directly to a carpet sample and get to the task—free reading, practicing with flashcards, going over a script, etc. This is an excellent method for starting out the class with DEAR (Drop Everything and Read). Students will quietly be getting to work while selected students are handing back papers, and you have a chance to meet with students who were absent the day before.

Chalkboard/Whiteboard
Divide your board according to your lesson plans. You might have an area to post the day’s schedule and date. Another area might be used to post the reading lessons. The next area might be designated for math figuring. And yet another may be for penmanship. You can divide the board with colored rubber tape (don’t use masking tape because it won’t come off very easily). Then consistently use a different color of chalk or marker in each area of the board. For example, always write the reading lessons in blue, math in yellow, etc.

Besides having a supply of white and colored chalk or markers and clean erasers, you might also want to purchase or make board cups. These are simple plastic cups with magnetic strips attached. Place these on the board and keep pens, markers, a pair of scissors, and pencils in them for use if your large group area is near the chalkboard. You can demonstrate art projects, jot down notes, and edit lesson plans from your large group teaching spot by using these materials which are stored on your chalkboard. You may want to make sure the students know that these materials are teacher materials and not to be used by students. You may use strong magnetic tape to keep a clipboard with notepaper attached to the board as well.

You may also have a portable board. This can be used as a versatile divider or a two-sided resource—board for writing on one side, bulletin board on the other. Either way, place this portable board/bulletin board where the students can see it from their seats, but where it does not block the view to the main board or to your desk.

Bulletin Boards
Have bulletin boards available for seasonal projects as well as extra-credit projects and a special section called “Student Choices.” Student Choices will be an area designated for students to post any project or piece of writing of which they are particularly proud. The areas can be divided by children’s last names (for example, an area for A–L) or specific academic groups so that when students place their work on the board, they know which area to use. This ensures that everyone always has a spot to put his or her work, and, with a glance, you can keep track of the posted work.

Special Room Organization Tips
Out and In Bins: Have one area on your desk that is for projects or assignments kids hand in, and another for those papers that have been corrected and need to be handed back. If you teach several subjects, you will need to have an in and out box for each class. You might use stackable metal or plastic baskets. Let the students know about these in and out boxes on the first day of school. The students should be taught to hand their things in when they are completed. You will take that pile at the end of the day, correct the papers, and put them into the out bin by the next morning. As soon as students arrive in class, the first student is allowed to come to the out bin and distribute those papers while the other kids are settling into their seats. Kids love this “duty.” It also saves valuable time collecting or handing out papers during the middle of class.
Mailboxes: You may use one or two cardboard shoe dividers that you can buy in your local department store for your students’ mail. In these mailboxes, place papers to go home, special notes to kids, finished papers, and homework that students miss when they are absent. Label each cube with a child’s name, using laminated colored labels and permanent markers. When you need to reuse the labels the following year, use hair spray on them and the marker ink can be wiped off. Another suggestion is to put a small mailbox on your desk for students to reach you if they need to jot you a note or have a concern or a question.
Coat Hangers: You may want to assign your students coat hangers in alphabetical order by their last names. This will help you at the end of the day by allowing you to take just a glance to determine who left a hat, coat, backpack, etc.
Lunch Tickets: Instead of allowing your students to keep their tickets in their desks where they can easily be lost, create a pocket poster with the names on them for students to store their own tickets in. Place it at a height in your room easily accessible by each student. Be sure it is on a wall that is away from where the students line up so that they don’t have to push through a line to retrieve their lunch tickets.
Pencil Sharpener: Keep this away from all students’ desks and your desk, if possible, so that the sound of grinding won’t disturb those who are working.
Computers: Chances are that you won’t have much choice about where to place computers or tape recorders in your room; you will need to place them where the outlets are and where students won’t trip over the cords. However, give some consideration to the angle at which you place the computers. Will the students working at the computer be able to see the board that you want them to reference? Are the computers located far enough away from individual desks so as not to disturb those working at their desks? The software itself should be well labeled and located near the computers.

Summary
It is essential that you spend time and thought as to how you arrange your classroom. If placed strategically, furniture, materials, resources, student desks, even the writing on the chalk or whiteboard will enhance your teaching by providing an organized and pleasant environment.