Sunday, August 31, 2014

Classroom Reveal... FINALLY!

I literally CANNOT believe that school is starting in two days... I know that many of you all have started back within the past few weeks, but I am finally ready for my kiddos to come on Tuesday. Of course, there are a few areas in my room that I want to spruce up.... our Have you Filled a Bucket Today? board and our story writing center, but I'll post about those things in the future.
For now, here's a peek into my classroom!

The view from the hallway... On the bright side, our fabulous janitor painted over a parrot mural that wrapped around my door frame. I plan to put a mini-bulletin board display above the door, but again, that's a project for another day!
My guided reading/ small group table... set up with Open House goodies! Notice our class pet, the puma (we are the PUMAS).

Guided Reading Organization! The big crates hold my own personal guided reading book sets! the cart has lots of my math games and manipulatives!

Finally got this set up in my classroom! I've been posting about this for weeks and I'm excited to see it come together!
My mother-in-law covered these throw pillows for me! My students will pull out a pillow and grab a clip board at the writing center since it's not big enough for a small group to sit at the desk at the same time!

The baskets hold postcards, list-making activities, and word lists that the students can use at the center. On top of the desk, there is different paper for letter writing as well!

Grab my writing center paper and materials in a BUNDLE HERE or as separate items here: list-making, postcards, letter writing, and yearlong writing portfolio.
This cute little area on the floor is going to be my story writing center! If you notice the empty white shelf on the book shelf... that is where I will put materials for the kids to use! Still need some ideas for this area... Hope to get it up and rolling in October!

When I got my classroom, there were two of these "library" carts in it and I finally found a way to make them a little more functional for myself and my students. This year, I am using them to store our writing portfolios, math workbooks, and our "I'm Finished' basket for completed work.

Moving on to the classroom library/ whole group area...

Daily 5 book bins and my tubs that I use for math workshop!

My library is organized by topics and also by levels. When students choose books for their book bins, they chose out of these lettered bins. They also pick one "free choice" book out of any bin in the library. 

Ordered these awesome new book tubs from Really Good Stuff this spring! Love them!

Recreated all of my labels this summer! So much more organized!

Our word wall... with the kids' names up... waiting for our sight words as the year begins!
The whiteboard at the front of the classroom! I use my projector right in that big open space!

Learning goals that are correlated to the First Grade Common Core from Crockett's Classroom.
Grab them -HERE-

New classroom schedule and I AM IN LOVE! Pick it up from Ladybug Teacher Files!
Andddd they are editable. Grab them -HERE-

The start of our Daily 5 board... I-Charts will go up here after the first week of school!

Our CAFE board... just waiting to be filled with reading strategies!

Our morning meeting board/calendar... will be adding organizational charts for word work and writing centers! A work in progress as we add more to our routines!
And there you have it folks! I still feel like I'm scrambling to get things ready for the first day! Can't wait to fill all our white space on the walls with kids' artwork and our anchor charts!!
Got some banana bread in the oven (can you say stress baking.....) and I'm ready to curl up with my glass of wine and watch Keeping up with the Kardashians... don't judge me please!!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Writing Portfolios

If you have been reading my blog over the last couple of weeks, you know that I am totally spicing up my Daily 5 Work on Writing this coming school year. My students will be rotating to five Work on Writing centers throughout the week... working at one center each day. These centers are for more informal practice of writing skills that we are working on and my purpose is for them to be FUN and ENGAGING! We have a separate Writers' Workshop time in the afternoon where we will work on more formal writing projects and we will spend time planning, editing, revising, etc. Now, that is not to say that I will not stress BEST work during the Work on Writing centers as well, but my goals in creating these centers are for my students to LOVE writing and to be creative!
1) The Creation Station (click the link to see my previous post)
2) Story Central Station
3) Handwriting Practice
4) Sentence Building and Puzzles
and for the purpose of this post...
5) Writing Portfolio Work 
Okay, that being said, the Writing Portfolio Center will probably be the "least fun" of all of the centers, but I am soooo excited about the assessment opportunities that it will provide for me.
Last week, I made a trip to the Dollar Tree (in my opinion... the "TOP DOG" of dollar stores...) and I bought a binder for each student in my class.
I plan to keep the binders and reuse them each school year, so I figure that buying them myself was an investment in my classroom (and binders are not on our school supply list). When the portfolios are finished at the end of the year, I will take out the pages and bind them into a book for the kiddos to take home!
This morning, I printed a slapped a little label on the edge of the binder for each student. I have a perfect little spot on a book shelf for the kids to store their portfolios. As a side note, I FINALLY figured out how to PRINT ON LABELS... in the past, I've been using Sharpies to write names on labels because I've been too lazy to find and download a printable template... well, ladies and gentlemen, it is EASY! I don't know why I've been avoiding it the last few years!
If you want to pick up these labels, they are Avery 1" x 2 5/8" white address labels, 30 labels per sheet. Here's the link to the free template on the Avery website.
Okay, enough about the set-up... I created a writing prompt for each week of the school year.
Each prompt is labeled with the # of the week and there is a place for the kids to write the date at the top. There is a place for a picture if the kids would like to draw a picture to accompany their writing. Some of the prompts encourage the kids to draw a picture and others do not.
The back of each writing prompt page has more lines for the students to continue their writing... and my favorite self-check tool, a quick checklist for the kids to check their writing before adding it to their writing portfolio binder.
Here's our fun cover page that my kiddos will color and personalize during the first week of school!
This is going to be my source for assessing students' writing weekly. Even if the kids miss a week at the center here and there, I will have TONS of writing samples to see their progress over time!
Okay, so my Writing Center: Yearlong Writing Portfolio is up in my TPT store. I designed this writing portfolio with first graders in mind, but it would be appropriate for most lower elementary classrooms!

Can't wait to get this up and rollin' this year! Enjoy!