Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Teacher Week: Why

Being organized is something I have to have. Most people would probably say I am an extremely organized school, at church, at home. You name it; I try to organize it. ;)

Here are some things in my classroom that I have done to help me stay organized and why they work.

These drawers are one way I stay organized. Why? Well, the large set kind of takes places of having a desk and desk drawers. I keep all my supplies in it, along with all my teaching materials I need throughout the day. The labels make it super easy for anyone else coming into my room, like an assistant or substitute, to find things.  The small set is where I put daily work, materials, etc.; labeled by date. I also have a draw for things to copy, things to grade, sub plans, paper, and band-aids (cause we know in first grade you go through hardly any a ton of band-aids). 

My classroom library is something I strive to keep very organized and try to make it easy for my kids to help. My first year teaching, my books were organized by level. Now, that I do Daily Five, I decided to change to organizing books by topic. That way kids can use the I-Pick method for choosing books. Each book topic has a box that is numbered. Then the books have a corresponding number written on them. 

For example, my Franklin and Bernstein Bear books are basket 4. So, all those books have a 4 in the corner so when a kiddo is done with that book, they know to match it to box 4. This works great with my first graders and is something they can actually do and help keep organized.

My final organization tip is my student mailboxes. My first year teaching I purchased some cardboard mailboxes, but they didn't hold up well. After that I thought about buying the nice wooden ones, but a. they cost a lot and b. they take up a lot of room. So, this is my solution. I have a file box with a hanging folder for each student. That is where there graded papers go (they take them home on Fridays). For notes, etc. I put them in the black basket on top of the file box and just place them in each folder, which are kept in the white container. 

Each student in my class has a number, so their folder has a number (so I can reuse them each year without renumbering them). 

I hope you can use some of these organization tips in your classroom. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teacher Week: Where

Today, for Teacher Week, we are sharing where we teach.

This is my fourth year teaching...for the first three years, I had a Dr. Seuss theme in my classroom. I loved it, but after three years was ready for a change. Rather than choosing a specific theme i.e. beach, jungle, Dr. Seuss. I decided to just do a "colorful" theme.

Here's the final product... (sorry the pictures aren't the best quality...taken with an iPhone).

This is the view you see when you walk into my classroom.

This view is from the front of my classroom; right in front of my Smart board.

This is where I meet with students for Guided Reading, Math, Writing Conferences, etc. It's also my teacher area instead of a desk. 

My classroom library. 

Our meeting area and word wall. This is probably my favorite area in my classroom. I am also in LOVE with my carpet from Kid Carpet. It is the first year I have been allowed to have a carpet in my room. Above the word wall is another bulletin board that has my alphabet, number words and color words.

This is one of my favorite things in my classroom this year. I wanted to add pictures of my kids and this was the perfect solution. I plan to change it once a month. My littles loves seeing pictures of themselves hanging up. :)

That is all the pictures I have tonight. 
There is lots of white space and empty boards, but that is reserved for student work and anchor charts. The other thing I really wish I could have in my classroom is things hanging from the ceiling. The fire marshal won't allow us do all my blogger friends out there get by with it?? I'm super jealous!

Have a good evening!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Teacher Week: Who

I am so excited to be linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week! Today started my second week with kids at school (third week for teachers). So, today is a great day to kick-off Teacher Week.

Today is all about Who...

This picture was taken this summer when I was at the beach for a family vacation; two of my favorite things the beach and family.

Here is my family and I at the beach. Love them all. 

My sweet niece and I. I get to keep her 3 days a week after school until my sister and brother-in-law get off work. I have another niece on the way. 

Another HUGE part of my life is my church and church family. I work with the kids and youth each week at church. This is when we took our youth to the beach for a retreat this summer...I told you I LOVE the beach :)

I went to college at Carson-Newman. Go EAGLES!! These girls made my college days AMAZING and are still dear friends; even though we all live in separate places now. 

When I am not teaching, spending time with my family or church family, I am often cooking and party planning. I LOVE to plan fun parties for people and LOVE to try new recipes.

This is from my sister's Baby Sprinkle I threw her this weekend.

Other random facts about me...
*I am not married; still praying for my Mr. Right.
*This is my fourth year teaching. 
*I took the place of my 1st grade teacher (she was retiring the year I graduated from college).

Can't wait to meet many new bloggers this week. Be sure to link-up.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Currently August

It has been several weeks since I blogged and a few months since I participated in Farley's currently.

I am excited to be linking up for August's currently. Now, that my brain is in full school-mode, I hope to get back to blogging regularly. 

Here's my currently...

Have a great weekend!!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Donors Choose Winner form Website Wednesday

What a beautiful weekend we are having in East Tennessee! I am so thankful to see the sunshine and Spring-like temperatures.

This Wednesday my website to share about was Donors Choose.

If you have never given Donors Choose a try, click on the picture below for some advice on using it.

Along with my post, Donors Choose allowed me to give away a $50 gift card to one lucky reader. 

20 people commented, so I used the number generator.

The eighth person to comment was MJ from Kindergarten Rocks. Congratulations, MJ.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Just a cheesy, little idea...

Today, we played one of my littles' favorite games and I thought I would share.

Two things I think are hard to teach in a exciting way are 
1. spelling
2. handwriting

So...this little "game" formed around those two concepts.

We call it "Here comes the judge."

Every kiddo gets a dry erase board and marker. Then I choose a girl judge and a boy judge; they have the spelling sheet for the week and pick a word.

Then everyone else, writes the word with correct spelling and in their best handwriting. 
(this is a superb example)

Then we sing this little chorus to the tune of "Here comes the bride" (in a very dramatic way, that makes the kiddos giggle.)

"Here come the judges,
here come the judges.
Whose word will they choose with neat handwriting?"

Then the boy picks a boy and the girl picks a girl. We play till everyone gets one chance to be a judge. They never realize they are practicing spelling and handwriting. 

Hope you can use this cheesy, little idea.

Also, if you haven't checked out this week's Website Wednesday click here. There is a $50 DonorsChoose gift card up for grabs until Saturday.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Website Wednesday (Giveaway Included)

Happy Wednesday, friends! I am extra-happy...their is no snow this week. In fact, it's supposed to be close to 70 degrees tomorrow. The sunshine sure does make me a happy girl.

This week, I am featuring what has become a wonderful resource and website for my classroom. And, it has saved me a TON of money.
Click here to go there.

A while back I did a post on tips for using DonorsChoose and it was pretty popular. 

Here are those tips...

So, here are my "Top 10" tips for using and getting projects funded on DonorsChoose.

1. Sign-up
You have to sign-up to ever get a project funded. It's worth the try. You CAN do it. Click here to sign up.

2. Keep your first several projects under $200
I have found that it is easier to get several $100-$200 dollar projects funded than it is to get a $450 project funded. Plus it uses less points.
For example if you need 2 iPods. Try getting one iPod funded, then after it is funded, do another one.

3. Say "thank-you" often
Each time someone makes a donation, reply to them personally on DonorsChoose whether they commented on why they donated or not. Then be sure to thank them promptly once it is fully funded.

4. Be prompt
Anytime DonorsChoose sends you an e-mail that requires your attention, check promptly. The more prompt you are the better. Also, if you don't post pictures, send thank-yous, etc. in a prompt manner, you can be penalized by losing points.

5. Only have one project going at a time
Some people may disagree with me, but I think one project at a time allows you to focus on that project. You can focus on publicizing that one, replying to donors, etc. I usually start a new project once one has been fully-funded, while I am waiting on the materials from the first one.

6. Get permission
Be sure to get permission to use your students' photos. DonorsChoose has done the work for you and created a permission slip you can print (plus,that is a good way to let parents know about your project.)

7. Have a project up during the end of the year; November and December
Donating to DonorsChoose is a tax write-off. Therefore, people will be donating extra towards the end of the year. 

8. Share your project with others
At first, I didn't want to do this, but I learned that my family and friends want to help my classroom, especially if their donation can be doubled.

9. Give to your project, if you have to
The first seven days of each project, donors can use the code INSPIRE to have their donation matched up to $100 (do #8 during this time). If by day 6 no one has donated to your project, be sure to give yourself a donation (even if it's anonymous and only $5.) The donation will be matched and it seems once you get one donation, it moves things along quicker.

10. Give to others
When you can, give to others. Even if it's only $5. Pay it forward.

If you have never used DonorsChoose you should definitely try it. It is a great way to get things for your classroom, and at no cost to you.

DonorsChoose has given me a $50 gift card to give away to one lucky person. So, to be entered to win, comment below with the name of my current DonorsChoose project. Click here to go to it. 

You can be entered again by sharing a link to this post on your blog. (Give a link to your blog on your comment.)

I will pick a winner on Saturday. Good luck!