Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Classroom Transformation in Progress!

After eight years of the same old classroom décor - it's time for a change!  I am in the process of changing my classroom décor to black and white polka-dot with a red accent color.  There isn't much polka-dot themed bulletin board décor at any teacher store so I have had to make most of my new décor.  Today I went up to the school for the first time this summer and got started with the transformation.  I definitely have a lot more work to do, but I thought I would share a sneak peak.  I can't wait to post pictures of the final project!

Out with the old bulletin boards and in with the new!
It's hard to tell in the pictures, but each board has a polka-dot border.


New birthday banner!  Each month will have a picture of the students with a birthday in that month.  They will also receive a birthday balloon treat on their birthday!
Click HERE to download my Happy Birthday Unit!

My new How We Go Home clip chart!  All I need to add is the student's names on clothes pins.  I think this will be very convenient to have displayed in the classroom for my first graders who forget how they go home at the beginning of the school year and also any time we have a sub!
Click HERE to download my How We Go Home chart!
My new welcome banner for my door!
Click HERE to download the banner for any grade level!
More pictures to come in the next few weeks!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New and Improved Blurt Chart!

I had to redo my old Blurt Chart because my class size has grown from 22 to 25! AHH!  Anyways, I made this super cute polka dot Blurt Chart so I thought I would share it!
New Blurt Chart:
I use Velcro dots to make the stars easily go on and off of the chart.
 Old Blurt Chart:
Here is how the Blurt Chart Behavior Management System works in my classroom:

The B.L.U.R.T system discourages students from interrupting the teacher from teaching or interrupting other students from learning.  Each day the students start with three stars next to their number on the chart.  Anytime a student Blurts out, makes a Loud noise, interrUpts the teacher from teaching, a student is out of theiR seat talking to others, or Talking too loud they will lose a star.  If a student loses all three stars they will receive a consequence.
Click HERE to download the Blurt Chart from my TpT Store!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Binder Covers and Spines!

Due to popular demand I have put my unit binder covers and spine labels on my Teachers Pay Teachers store!  Use these covers and spines to help organize, manage, and keep your files looking professional.  There are 98 different covers and spine labels to fit your classroom needs. 
Click HERE to Visit my TpT Store to Download!

I have also had requests for the editable templates to my binder covers and spines so I have also added those on my TpT store!
Click HERE to Visit my TpT Store to Download the Editable Version!


Here is an inside look of one of my binders.

Each of my binders have my worksheets, activities, etc. in a clear page protector and placed inside each unit binder. 

By keeping my files in the binders it makes looking for things so much faster and easier!  It is also easy to store - you don’t have to worry about all the file cabinet space.  When I transformed my files into binders I took it slow so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed.  I just took the unit I was working on that week and placed my files into the binder.  It was not overwhelming and it didn’t take much time since I took it a week and a unit at a time.



Thursday, December 4, 2014

Trigraph IGH Word Practice

Today during our phonics lesson we learned about Trigraph IGH.  We practiced sounding out and reading different words with IGH.  I made these light bulb flashcards that made it easy for the students to see the different chunks in the words.  Each light bulb is connected together using a brad fastener.  My students were able to sound out and read some really hard words through this method!

Click HERE to download this activity from my TpT store!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Anchors Aweigh - Anchor Charts for Thanksgiving!

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is just right around the corner!  I have been busy making these new anchor charts for my upcoming Thanksgiving unit.  I must admit- I have an addiction to making anchor charts!  These turned out super cute - so I decided to share them.  :)

Thanksgiving KWL Chart

Things that Were and Were Not on the Mayflower 
Mayflower Facts

Pilgrims vs. Indians Venn Diagram
Boys and Girls Then vs. Now Venn Diagram 

Click HERE to download all the pieces to make your own anchor charts from my TpT store!


Friday, August 1, 2014

The Ultimate Classroom Tour


Here is the view of our first grade hallway at Wayland Bonds Elementary!  This year we decided to go with a camping theme.  We made our doorways look like log cabins by making logs out of butcher paper.  We all bought a pine tree from Mardels.  I also had my mom sew red and white checker curtains for each of our windows.  Each one of our doorways has our names on them out of the wooden letters you can purchase from Hobby Lobby or Michaels.

Here is the camping welcome sign as you enter the first grade hallway.

We each took laminated scrapbook paper and glued it to the wall with a cloths pin.  Now we can easily hang the student's work in the hallway without having to use a lot of tape!  This awesome idea came from my teammate Ms. Fleming!


My Classroom Pictures

Here is a look into my classroom!

 This is my teacher desk.  I got rid of the traditional desk I had in my classroom.  I never sat at it and it took up a lot of space.  I love using this table as my desk!  All my office supplies are stored in the drawers that are located behind my desk.  Pictures of the drawers are below.



I have each pod of desks labeled with group signs.

Click HERE to download my group signs from my TpT Store!


The baskets on the shelf are each student's individual book basket for their independent reading books.

I use this pocket chart to store the student's library and lunch cards.

Weekly Activities and Worksheets
This is how I organize the week's worksheets and activities.
Sharpened Pencils
When my students need a sharpened pencil they just come get one from the drawer.  This prevents the students from interrupting my lesson using the pencil sharpener.  To keep sharpened pencils always on hand I have my student helper help me at the end of the day sharpen all the pencils.  I found this storage container at Wal-Mart.

Need a Color/Found a Crayon

When there are crayons found on the floor, the students simply put them in the bin.  Then whenever someone needs a color they can just come to the bin and get the color they need.  This helps prevent a big interruption when a student needs a certain color crayon.  I purchased this storage container at Wal-Mart.

Click HERE to download my pencil and crayon system labels on my TpT store!


In order for the students to know what math or literacy centers they go to each day they look to the center wheels.  Each section of the wheel has 2 to 3 names written in it.  Each day the students go to the center that their name is located.  When that center rotation is over (about 20 minutes later), the students follow the arrows to their next center.  I have a total of eight centers.  The students do two centers each Monday through Thursday.  Then, Friday is used as a day to finish any unfinished work.  I found the storage containers that I put the worksheets and games in at Mardels.


Each center tub is labeled with a sign.

Click HERE to download my literacy and math center signs from TpT!

Each student has a math and literacy center folder that holds their center work for the week.  They take these folders to their centers each day.  All center work stays in these folders until it is due.  Anytime a student has extra time they are to check their center folders and finish any unfinished work.  These folders are stored in the pocket charts to prevent a desk full of folders and paper.

FREE Centers!

The writing center has many different supplies for the students to be creative in drawing, coloring, and making stories for their writing.  I have included stencils, colored pens, stickers, markers, stamps, shaped scissors, etc. for the students to use.  In the Science center I have scales, measuring tapes, magnifying glasses, etc. for the students to explore with.
Morning Work Drawers

Planning morning work can be so time consuming and also take a lot of copies - so I needed a new system.  My teammate Mrs. Fletcher from Fletchtastic in First came up with this awesome idea!  Each morning the students come in and get their morning work drawer for the day.  The students know which drawer to get for the day because they have a folder with a morning work calendar that is labeled specifically for them.  Each day on the calendar has the morning work drawer number they are to complete.  The drawers are filled with file folder games, worksheets, and activities.  Each activity is meaningful and reviews the skills that have been taught in class.  After morning work time is over, I go around and check each worksheet and activity the students completed for the morning.  If they missed any problems they get immediate feedback.  Also if they complete their morning work on time they receive a small sticker on their morning work calendar. I couldn't believe it when my first grade students learned the morning work system and got it down so quickly!  I bought the drawers from Michaels.  They were so much cheaper than the drawers Mardel's sells!
Click HERE to download the Morning Work Calendars and Teacher Planning Pages from my TpT Store!

I have organized my math and literacy worksheets by skill.  This makes pulling a worksheet for a center or activity really easy.
Click HERE to download my Math File Folder Labels by Skill on my TpT store!
Click HERE to download my Language File Folder Labels by Skill on my TpT store!
I also use these boxes to store my files in.  I got them for free using my Scholastic points!

My themed worksheets and activities are stored in my unit binders.  Using these binders to store all my unit stuff makes it so much easier to find and pull the things you need.  I can't even imagine how many file cabinets and what a big mess of paperwork I would have if I didn't use these binders!

Click HERE to download my unit binder covers and spines from my TpT store!

Construction Paper/Fancy Paper


All my construction paper, writing paper, border paper, etc. is stored in my file cabinet in hanging folders.

Teaching Carpet Area

 Each of my students have an assigned square they come to each time we meet at the carpet.  This prevents many problems like students sitting by other students that they talk to, sitting far away, fighting over where they sit, etc. 

Cubby Boxes

Each student has their own cubby box.  I use these cubby boxes to place each students graded work in.  I placed it right behind my desk, so I can easily turn around and place their work in their cubby box!  I got these cubby boxes at Sam's.

Read Aloud Books

To keep the books I use as my read aloud books separate from my other books, I have organized them into these magazine holders.  Each holder is labeled with the unit or theme of the books.  I got these holders at Mardel's.


This holder has all my fall themed books that I use during my read aloud time.
Click HERE to download the labels I use for my book holders from my TpT Store!

Organizing Books

I have the books that the students read organized by reading level.  I am really particular that my students are reading books that are within their ZPD range.  By organizing my books by reading level it really helps the students be able to easily find and read books that are on their level.


Click HERE to download my leveled book bin labels from my TpT store!
Organizing Supplies

To prevent my students from playing with scissors, glue, etc. when they are not supposed to- I do not allow them to keep their supplies in their desk.  Instead many of the supplies are kept together in certain parts of the classroom.


Each one of the bins has the different supplies stored in them.  I bought these bins at Lakeshore and they came in a package of four.
Click HERE to download my supply labels from my TpT store!

Each one of these supply tubs are assigned to a certain group.  This has a group supply of red pens, glue bottles, scissors, etc. in them.  This is a fast way to pass out the supplies when needed!  I bought these tubs from Target for $3.00 each.
These numbered bags are used to place different student materials in that you might need in the middle of a lesson. Instead of having to pass out each of the supplies you can have what each student needs in their bag at all times. They just grab their bag and come to the carpet or to their desk. It makes things so easy! I bought these bags from Oriental Trading. I cut the numbers out of material and then had my mom sew them on.

Organizing Manipulatives

My manipulatives are stored in these storage containers I purchased from Mardels.  It is very nice having the storage containers with the lids.  It prevents the manipulatives from spilling out when bumped into.  I can easily pass out manipulatives or have the students come get what they need from the bins.
Click HERE to download my math manipulative labels from my TpT store!

Storing Games

I had my husband make this cabinet for me.  Inside the cabinet I have many storage boxes.  Each storage box is labeled with a specific math or language arts skill.  For example, one of my tubs is labeled rhyming.  All my rhyming activities and games are stored in that storage box.  I can easily find and pull out games for centers or activities since they are organized by skill. 

Keeping Desks Together

I was tired of my desks looking like a train hit them by the end of each day, so I found a great and cheap way to keep them together.  I use medium and large sized zip ties to keep them together.  I place the zip ties on multiple places on the desks.  It works really well!

Here is a look from under the desks where the large zip ties were placed.

I used the medium sized zip ties on the legs of the desks.  I bought these from Lowe's.

Here are the actual zip ties I used.

My husband is really good at fastening the zip ties really he's the one that puts them on the desks for me.  :)

I am getting to borrow these awesome table tops from one of my teammates that went on maternity leave this year.  She had them made to fit a group of six desks to hold them together.  I am not going to want to give them back next year!!
 I've had a lot of people ask how the table tops were made.  Unfortunately since I just borrowed them I don't know exactly how they were made.  I think they were made like a countertop.  Here is a picture of what they look like underneath.  Hopefully that will give you a better idea...
Keeping Items Organized Inside Cabinets

The best way to keep my things organized inside my large cabinets is by using baskets.  These baskets can be found at the Dollar Tree for $1.00!

Here is an example of some of the baskets I have.

Here are all my large books stored together.

Inside this cabinet I have my anchor charts hanging up.  See my blog post Storing Anchor Charts to see how I did this.

Here is a look at my other large cabinet.  I used more baskets, storage containers, and boxes to store my items.

Keeping Items Organized Inside Drawers

To keep my office supplies inside my drawers organized I used baskets and storage containers to keep the items grouped together.

Since I don't have a traditional desk in my classroom, I use these drawers to hold all my office supplies.

Inside Cabinets
This cabinet holds my monthly bulletin board bags. Each bag holds monthly supplies, decorations, activities, etc.

I have a free center and inside recess game cabinet.  This prevents me from having to pull from different places to get out games for the students to play.  My students can easily find and get out the games they want to play with during indoor recess or free center time.

Free center games and activities cabinet.

Inside recess game cabinet.

Bulletin Boards

Changing out bulletin boards during the school year can be very time consuming and expensive - so I came up with bulletin boards that I can keep the same during the school year and also ones that are good to have.  Here are pictures of my different boards.

Birthday Board

Each student receives a birthday certificate and bag full of goodies on their birthday.  This makes celebrating each student's birthday so much easier and a good way not to forget.

Classroom Rules Board

On the first day of school we sit down as a class and make our own classroom rules.  These rules are created during a discussion by the students, while being facilitated by me.   Surprisingly, student created rules are often the same as – or even tougher than – rules a teacher might create.   The rules the students create become the standard for expected behavior by which all students agree.   When students actively participate in establishing rules for the classroom and agree to them, they are more likely to follow the rules because they take ownership and know the importance of them.   In turn, this leads to a more conducive learning environment with fewer classroom disruptions. These classroom rules, also known as our Classroom Constitution are signed by the students and posted in our classroom for all to see!

Accelerated Reader Board

Visit my blog post on Accelerated Reader Rewards to see what I do to keep my students motivated to read and take AR tests!

Click HERE to download my AR Rewards from my TpT store!

Star of the Week Board

Each week one child in our class is chosen as the "Star of the Week." This is a special opportunity for that child to be highlighted throughout the week and share some important parts of his or her life with our class.  Each student will be asked to fill out some information and collect some special items to display on our "Star of the Week" bulletin board.

Calendar/Schedule/Behavior Management Board

This bulletin board used to have all my calendar stuff on it but I have now begun doing my calendar routine on the smartboard.  There are tons of great smartboard calendar lessons on the internet and on TpT that you can use!

Click HERE to download my Daily Schedule Cards from my TpT Store!
So instead this bulletin board has been changed to display many different useful tools that we use each day.  First, we have the calendar with important dates listed.  I also have our schedule posted for all the students to see.  I think it really helps the students when they can see what is planned for the day.  It also prevents questions like, "When is lunch?" or "Do we have PE today?". 


I have a tree made out of butcher paper.  This tree gets changed out each season to reflect what a tree really looks like during that season.

I also have our behavior management pocket chart posted here.

Restroom Break

This is a picture of the restroom break system I use. When the green sign is posted the students (one at a time) may move their number next to the restroom sign and take the pass and go. If the red sign is posted, then they may not leave the classroom to take a break. (Unless of course it is an emergency.) This prevents students from raising their hand and asking to go to the restroom in the middle of your lesson.  Eventually the students catch on to when is an appropriate and inappropriate time to leave the classroom.

Click HERE to download my restroom break signs from my TpT store!

Outlaw Word Wall

I don't have a traditional word wall.  The words that we post on our word wall are words that cannot be sounded out to spell.  That's why our word wall is called the "Outlaw Word Wall."  These words are outlaw words because they break the traditional spelling rules.

Anchor Chart Wall

I use many anchor charts during my lessons.  I found that I needed a place to display them so the students could refer to them if they needed to.  I hot glued clothes pins on my back wall.  It makes it so easy to hang and switch out the anchor charts when needed!


Numbered Chairs

Weeks into the school year the nameplates I place on each student's desk begins to take a turn for the worse.  So I eventually tear them up.  The students just rely on their numbered chair to find their seat. 

Click HERE to download my chair numbers from my TpT Store!

Keep checking back year to year as I continue to update and add more things to my classroom each year!