Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Back to School Student Gifts- with a FREEBIE!

For my student gifts this year, I wanted to do something I hadn't seen already on Pinterest. 

After searching the Oriental Trading site for some things 2nd graders would like, I came across various smiley face items, and then thought of the phrase I could use for the gift. 

You've got me smiling ear to ear since you'll be in my class this year!

After making the baggie top, all I had to do was stuff ziploc bags, cut out the tags and staple them on. They are ready to go for my new students at Meet the Teacher night. :)
You can click the button below to grab this FREE printable for yourself!

Just don't be like me and forget to unclick "Black and White" when printing. I think they would have been much cuter if the yellow had printed behind the letters!
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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Birthday Bags

I haven't always been great about doing things for student birthdays, so I wanted to do something easy that wouldn't require me to prep or remember too much throughout the year.

One of my sweet colleagues used birthday bags last year, and I borrowed her idea! :)

Inside each of these bags is a pencil, a happy birthday blower, and a few toys. I stuffed the bags with items in the picture below.

Each bag has the items on the right inside as well as 2 of the items from the left. I purchased the pencils from Oriental Trading, and found everything else at Party City.

Since they are all stuffed and on the wall, all a student has to do when it is his/her birthday is pick one from the wall and take it home.

The students will be so excited for their birthday to come throughout the year so they can pick their bag! I won't have to write out any personalized certificates or anything like that. I love that it is something I can do before I have my class list.

You may be wondering what to do with the extras on the wall... well, that is just something fun that someone may win at the end of the year! :)

Don't forget to check back later this week to hear about my favorite GT strategies that I wish I knew about sooner! And no, these are not just for a highly gifted classroom. I would have used them with all learners in my classrooms before if I had known about them!
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Monday, August 10, 2015

My New Cozy Classroom!

I'm so excited to share my classroom photos with you, as promised! So glad to be done decorating before we have to be back at school so I can focus on other things then. There's always plenty to do!

My goal was to have a warm, cozy and inviting classroom where students feel instantly at home. I'm happy to say that everything has a place! Organization has always been a goal that I was close to meeting, but wasn't able to reach until I purged a bunch this year. Can't wait to start teaching in my new room!

Here's a view of the front of the room:

I love my teacher chair area! 

It's complete with a comfy chair, side table with storage crate underneath, a basket with files for my materials I need close by, a homey lamp, and the framed saying, "Everything says something!"

I learned this saying from a mentor I admire very much. I want my students to remember that the way they react, carry themselves, answer questions, sit, etc. says something about them!

My favorite cozy spot in my classroom is still my classroom library.

I have a new organizer from IKEA for my math games for math workshop. The labels are laminated and on velcro. They are ready for me to write on with Vis-A-Vis markers so students know exactly what is inside.

I made this welcome banner to keep up for Meet the Teacher Night and the first day of school. I just love how it turned out!

And, of course, my interactive Thinking Hats board is ready to go!

I found these adorable baskets at Big Lots and put mason jars with only the ring piece of the lid on to organize community supplies. I love how they add to the homey feel!

Next to my board I have my calendar, our class jobs chart, our stools for another option for seating, and storage for some book boxes. I am trying to spread the book boxes out this year to help with the class "mob" that always happens when everyone goes to the same place!

I also have our birthday bags along this wall. I'll tell you more about those tomorrow! :)

Along the side wall I have storage for the materials they need for our STEM-like passion projects and a display for work they are proud of.

Along the same wall, I also have more storage for classroom supplies and book boxes.

I also laminated the labels on the book boxes on the top shelf. These are for me to organize things and I wanted the flexibility to change what I wanted to use them for.

Here is our Bloom's Taxonomy bulletin board and the turn it in basket area. This also has more storage for book boxes as well as blue baskets to store clipboards and whiteboards. I LOVE this organization system from IKEA!

Here is a view of my teacher area at the back of the room.

I love how the labels turned out that I created for my organizational tool chest. A little spray paint and matching labels goes a long way!

 I love this file organizer from Scholastic. It will be nice to have all of the forms, stacks of papers to be graded, etc. close by without cluttering my desk!

I cannot express how happy I am with the way my classroom turned out. It's not often that I'm able to make my vision a reality!

Come back tomorrow for my post about the Birthday Bags, and come back later this week to hear about the GT Strategies I love and wish I knew about/used when I first started teaching!
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