Wednesday, July 29, 2015

An Organized and Cozy Classroom Library

I had to change rooms this year, so I decided to take advantage of that. I'm getting SUPER organized and went ahead and changed up my classroom theme. I don't have it done entirely yet, but I wanted to go ahead and share my classroom library with you.

My goal was for my classroom to feel warm and homey. I decided on a light blue, gray and black Moroccan style Quatrefoil, and went with it!

My bookshelves are from Walmart, the baskets were a GREAT deal at Big Lots, and I made the labels. The curtain rod, circle rug and curtains are from IKEA.  I just love the way the curtains turned out! 

The back of my bookshelves wasn't so pretty, so I added matching wrapping paper. I'm hoping it will be out of the way enough that it won't get torn apart.

I also wanted to make sure I had lights to add to the homey feel. This floor lamp was just under $8 at IKEA!

Here's a peek at the front of the room. I purchased this beautiful rug during a sale on Zulily, the chair was an awesome clearance find at Target, the lamp is from a friend and the basket is from Hobby Lobby.

I can't wait to finish the room and show you all of it!
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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Engineering Design Process

After moving to the highly gifted academy in my district, I realized quickly that the Engineering Design Process was something I needed to teach my students. Although we are not a STEM program, many of my students LOVE to design things and needed a guide to help them see the importance of creating a plan and redesigning.

After researching the process and coming up with kid-friendly language, I settled on six steps:
  1. Ask- Where students identify the problem
  2. Imagine- Where students brainstorm solutions to the problem
  3. Plan- Where students create a plan
  4. Create- Where students design their product
  5. Improve- Where students redesign their product after testing (redesign as many times as needed!)
  6. Share- Where students share and reflect on what they have learned
I cannot stress enough how important seeing the words "plan" and "improve" were to helping my students see that just because you tried one time doesn't mean you've solved the problem as best you could. 
Here is what the bulletin board looked like in my classroom:
I had Staples print the large poster for me. I believe they called it an "engineer print" (fitting, isn't it?). It was the cheapest way to get such a large poster.
The Engineering Design Process is something that can be incorporated into so many science activities. Instead of having students experiment with motion, why not have them create something using the design process like mine did with their marble roller coasters?
If you're interested in these posters, you can check them out here!
Can't wait to share more about this with you.
I also have my favorite GT strategies coming. I just taught a professional development on this (first one ever... EEK!) and am so fired up to share! 
And just in case you're wondering, working in the new gifted academy in our district and this little guy have taken up my time that I used to blog. I'll get better, I promise! 
I have so much I SO badly want to share! :)
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