Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Peak Into My Classroom - Autumn

My classroom is always changing. I have had a total of four classrooms in my teaching career of almost five years and each of them have looked different and provided different opportunities to me as a teacher. For the past two years I have been outside in a double wide modular, with no space for storage and very open to the elements. So when I finally moved indoors...needless to say I was in heaven. I finally have storage, cabinets, a sink and a middle room that connects my classroom to my partner teachers classroom. This provides more hidden storage and it is where we have our five computers that we share.

So anyway...come on in :)
One things I was so excited to finally do was decorate my door. Here is my latest creation for fall. The scarecrow took a while to color. Especially creating the plaid on the patches.

I don't have a picture of everything, but here are a few of my walls. When you first walk in to your right, I have a whiteboard and then I have a resource and supply area.
To the left you see my monthly spelling words. Underneath those you see my green "Writer's Chair" in which my students sit when they are sharing their writing. I could probably do without these two tall bookcases, but they are what I have taken from my numerous classrooms when I had no storage. I mainly use the black one to hold student's writer's notebooks (on the bottom). On the brown shelf are all my social studies text book resources. I am not a text book these only come out when I want them to see a picture or there is a good passage for a lesson. Further to the left is the student supply area.
My favorite piece in this area is my mailbox :) My husband and my father in law made the stand and helped me spray paint it white. I love it for for the love that was put into it and the purpose I use it for. This is where students turn in any notes from home, or if they want to tell me something and I am busy they write me a note about it or just say "can we talk". It has been a great tool for communication. Student's love the fact that it is a real mail box too. 
The storage shelves I purchased from Target, and the storage totes from Walmart. I added numbers to them to coincide with students table numbers. Students store all their coloring supplies in these totes. Which keeps desks sooo much neater. We also have a community tote for all the glue and a another for scissors. Above this you will see our planner which I have all filled out on Monday for the week. 
To the left there is another whiteboard that is attached to my first bulletin board.
This is all devoted to reading. On the right I make anchor posters for all of the reading strategies we learn. I add them as we learn them. On the left you see my CAFE menu based on the The CAFE book. It is a way organizing my reading workshop. Each letter stands for a different type of reading skill : C- Comprehension, A-Accuracy, F-Fluency, E- Expand Vocabulary. When I teach my minilessons we focus on each of these areas. When I teach a new concept we write it on a sentence strip and add it to our menu under the correct category. During their reading, each student has a goal which we have a established through conferencing and hearing themselves read. Student's chose an area they want to focus on in their reading in which they know they need work on. The menu provides them a menu of strategies to use to work on that goal. 
This leads to my reading corner:
This is where my students sit and listen to read aloud and check out books. This summer I took on the project of separating all my books into genres. Each genre is in a separate tub. I also have separate tubs for certain authors. I have noticed that my student are having a lot easier time finding books they like this way. Above my rocking chair I started a vocabulary collection for the month. I teach 10 new vocabulary words a month. If students find those vocabulary words in their reading they write that sentence on a post it note and put it on the word. I also give them a reward sticker for their awesome readers eyes.
Turn around from here and you will see my teachers desk area:
I have read so many sites that teachers should do away with their teacher's desk. So I have tried to utilize it as part of the classroom. I put my kidney table for small group instruction right in front of my computer and document camera. This really helped save space. Above my desk is my calendar to schedule reading conferences, and my "Vocabulary Treasury" box where the "old" vocabulary words go after we introduce the new words for each month. The closet and file cabinet hold all my teacher's materials. The stop sign with buses is our discipline system. Students move their bus up to yellow for a warning, if they get to red it is a write up and they have to miss a part of recess. 

We really emphasize students uniqueness to our team and acceptance of each other. At the beginning of the year we had them create self portraits, which we hung around this corner of the classroom. This really gives them a sense of belonging...that this is their space too for the year. They also saw how they had some connections with their fellow classmates. We loved how creative they were:

Take another step to your left and you find our middle room door and my writing center:
I have coloring supplies and paper set up for student use as they go through the writing process. I post all of anchor charts from our writing units on this it is always evolving. Our latest unit is "Memoirs". 
After looking at examples of memoirs, students made these observations about what they should put in their own narratives. Our mini lessons have focused on these.
Another thing we like to do is award students for the amazing character. Each we we do a mini lesson on a character virtue to stress good character practices. Students then nominate a student they think has shown that virtue during the week. They then receive a star on our board and are invited to our Star Lunch, which is held every other month. 

My room is always changing depending on what is going on during the year. I hope to include that here :)

1 comment:

  1. Very organized room Laura! I especially like the self portraits & what you are doing there & also your recognition of character!! Your kids are blessed to have you as their teacher!!