Sunday, September 29, 2013

Classroom Tour 2013-2014

Wow, I know I'm a bit late to the game but figured I'd post pictures of my 2013-2014 5th grade classroom.  My favorite time of the year is when we are able to get into our classrooms to begin working on set-up.  Usually I'm all ready to go a week prior to the first week of school. However, my new position (in addition to being the 5th grade teacher) of Director of Technology had me extremely busy getting our iPads ready for the school.  So I was working up until the day before school started to make sure my classroom was ready for my kiddos.  But I must say, this is probably the best it's every looked. :-)

When you walk into my classroom, the first thing you will see is my desk.  This year, all teachers were required to have their desk at the front of the classroom because we now have short-throw LCD projectors that needed to hook up to our desktops. I decided that since my desk was going to be in the front and a focal point to paint it.  So I primed it up and painted it with chalkboard paint.  I then used liquid chalk to draw on my design.  The lion was actually replicated from Scrappin Doodles Little Lions.  I love him!

 Above my desk are Spanish Posters for Numbers and Colors.  All of our students take Spanish as a foreign language and while I'm not required to have those resources up, the students like them when they need to know something.

I also have all of my photos from all the classes I've taught in years past. As well as personal pictures of my wedding, husband, and daughters.  The closet is where I hoard store all of my teaching resources.
Next to the closet door on the right side is our calendar and classroom rules.  I absolutely LOVE my calendar this year. I got it from Really Good Stuff and it comes preprinted. It also came with a bunch of stickers so I could mark birthdays, holidays, etc.  Love, love, love it!

If we continue to go left around my classroom, you will see all our windows and built in shelving. This is where I store all the classroom community supplies, games, manipulatives and other things. 
 All the classrooms at my school are required to have a prayer table.  This is ours.  Above them are the Ten Commandment posters I made. 
 Here is a view of the classroom looking back at my desk area. (Calendar wasn't there yet, so it's missing.)
 Another view.
These are our morning work folders. You can read what is in these here.
 This is my classroom library. It contains over 2,700 books - all owned by me.  This year I am completely overhauling the organization of it with the help of my classroom librarians. 
 The other side of the library. And a view of my awesome USA rug I got from Big Lots.
 I also received ten stability balls, so I have three of them in the classroom library for the students to use. 

 My genre posters that I created.
My book theme posters and special paper for penpals, etc.

On the other side of the bookshelves is a small couch and my computer which manages the check-out system for our class library.

Next you can see the puppet theater that I refinished to use as our classroom bank and to film "news shows" during the school year.

I also have another six stability balls around our back table. 

Our stability ball rules. :-)
 A poster on our classroom culture - you can see more about that here.

And a brief students survey activity they did the first week. 

 My writer's workshop board. Students move their dot down as they complete each section. This allows me to know where they are in their writing at all times.
My Author Purpose posters and art closet.
 Our homework board and art drying rack.  The black pocket holder is where I display our schedule for the day.

 This is where students can find a majority of their supplies and paper. 
Here are the students' privacy folders and some other things.
Not that best photo as this was taken during set-up but on the right side is the door into the classroom.  Also, that white cart holds the laptops for the school.  Those are used primarily on Tuesday and Thursday during formal technology class. All classes 3-8 have 1:1 iPads in addition to that. 
 Here are a bunch of random shots of my classroom. I made that penent banner. I love it!

 This was from Back to School night. The folders contain all the paperwork I was handing out to the parents. The students also wrote a letter to their parents and I provided apples for them.
A note from a student to their Mom and Dad. :-)

And that is my classroom tour.  Hope you liked it!  Share a link below so I can check out your classroom!

A majority of my classroom resources can be found in my TpT store for you to get. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I Am Poems

Ahhh....Back to School. The time of year when the walls are bare waiting to be filled with student work.  The supplies are fresh and the students and teachers are energized ready to learn and teach.  Quite frankly, it is my absolute favorite time of the school year.  I always look forward to getting to know who my students are and what makes them tick.  One way I learn about them is through my yearly project of I Am Poems.

I didn't create the poem itself but was given a copy of it many many years ago during my first year of teaching.  And each year, I look forward to having the students complete it.  Plus it always makes for a fabulous first project to hang up each year.

First, I always give my students a sample poem I wrote so they understand how the poem is written.  We talk about the overall theme of my poem, which is about me being a teacher.  As a class, we brainstorm different themes they could write about.  They always come up with a ton....being a friend, students, son/daughter, baseball player, volleyball player, etc. The list goes on and on.  I always try to make them focus perhaps on a hobby that is important to them.

Download the Poem Outline and Sample here. 

Once the students have identified the "theme" of their poem, they complete their rough draft.  This also allows me to catch a glimpse of their overall writing.  Once editing is done, I have my students type up their poem with the title "I Am Poem".  However, I don't have them put their name on it.

While students are working on their poems, I take a profile picture of each child.  I print the picture out in black and white on 8.5x11 sheets of paper and carefully cut out their profiles.  I then trace the profiles onto black construction paper and cut those out.  Their shadows are then glued onto white construction paper.  In years past, I've actually had the students do all the cutting and tracing.  By 5th grade, I think they are pretty good at it. I used to have the students sit in a chair and use my overhead projector light to cast their shadow behind them onto paper which I would trace. But more often than not the students would move and it was difficult.

Once the poems are typed, I print them out and we attach them to the bottom of each profile.  The students love to guess who wrote the poem and look at all the profiles.  Many times it's quite easy to figure out who is who by just looking at the shadows! This is one of the first projects I hang up in the hallway in time for Back To School Night.  The parents LOVE coming and trying to find their child's work.  I also snap pictures for their Artsonia portfolio so parents can purchase items if they wish with their child's shadow on them. 

What Back to School project do you do every year? Share below!

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