Saturday, May 31, 2014

Classroom Organization Tips: Digging Into Next Year Blog Hop

Classroom organization is so important for every classroom, in an organized classroom the students know what is expected and what to expect. You can reduce student anxiety by letting students know what is expected and once the routines are established students will know how to follow the routines and things should run smoothly. Over the three years that I have been teaching I have used, followed, and then changed several routines that I have established in my classroom. I have always believed that if something isn’t working then it is time to move on and try something new. 

Three classroom organization strategies that have worked in the past for me and I will continue to use next year are: 

The in and out bins
This is a simple idea. When students have completed and are ready to hand in their assignments they hand the assignment into the “in bin”, and after I have marked the assignment I will put the assignment in the “out bin” so that the marked assignment can be returned to the student. This has been an easy way for me to stay organized with the overwhelming amount of paper work. This strategy has also established a routine, so students always know where to put their completed work.  

The shape of the day
The shape of the day is our posted classroom schedule. The shape of the day is probably the most important routine that I use in the classroom. This routine helps me stay organized because I glance at it to see whats coming next all the time,  but it is also important for the students to be able to glance up and see what we are doing today.  For my classroom schedule I print off all of our classroom routines and subjects on coloured manila tag and then I use the magnetic strips with the sticky tape on the opposite side (you can find this magnetic tap at Staples, Walmart, or the Dollar Store) to stick the subjects on your white board. Magnets work perfect because you can move them around easily. 

Homework board 
Getting students to do their homework has always been a struggle, so during my second year of teaching I came up with the idea of creating a bulletin board with a sticker chart for each student, and a hundreds chart for the class. Each time that a student does their homework they get a sticker on their own chart and a sticker for the class’s hundreds chart. This is a great visual for students to see how many homework assignments they have completed individually and how many homework assignments that the class collectively has completed. Once the class has made it to 100 homeworks completed we then have a celebration. I have had pizza parties, cupcake decorating parties, sundae decorating parties, bowling parties, and movies with popcorn over the years. I like for the class to decide as group what kind of celebration we are going to have and it’s even better if the homework celebration falls close to a holiday like Halloween or Valentine’s Day. This is a great way of collecting and organizing the homework data, and it’s also a great incentive for students to want to get their homework done.

These are just three of my classroom organization strategies that I use in my classroom you can check out: 
Back to School Classroom Routines” 

and also my “Back to School: Bundled Package” for more classroom organization tips, strategies, and ideas as well as the pre made resources to get the classroom organization strategies mentioned above up and running in your classroom. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Barbara Reid Inspired Art Project

Barbara Reid is a very talented Canadian children's book author and illustrator. Barbara Reid's books include: 'The Subway Mouse', 'Picture a Tree', 'Have You Seen Birds?', 'The Party' along with many more. You can check out Barbara Reid's official website here: Barbara Reid Author and Illustrator

Her illustrations are so unique  because she uses photographs of her plasticine pictures for her book illustrations. This past week my class learned about Barbara Reid by reading her books and watching youtube videos of her creating her art. 

We create our Barbara Reid inspired artwork by placing our plasticine on thin pieces of cardboard using the techniques we learned from the Barbara Reid videos. I then took photographs of each student's artwork. I  had the photos printed at Walmart, and afterwards the students glued their photo on the 'Describe Your Artwork' sheet and then they each wrote a small blurb describing the story of their artwork. 

I then put together everyone's art and descriptions to create a class book.  

Make sure to check out my Elements of Art Resource Package. This fabulous package includes an art project and a poster for each of the seven elements of art.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Celebrate Teachers Appreciation Week With a Sale!

I am very excited to announce that is having a site wide sale in celebration of teachers appreciation week! This sale is going to be held on May 6-7th. Most sellers including myself will be placing their stores on sale for 20% off, and the Teachers Pay Teachers site has given buyers a promo code which is TPTXO which you can type in during check out to receive an additional 10% off your purchase! This will be a great time to buy all of your end of year resources and to stock up for next year! 

Make sure to check out my End of the Year Activities package which is full of great end of the year resources including: a recipe for making ice cream in a bag, an end of the year field trip reflection form and thank you card template, end of the year goals, and much more. 

Happy Shopping Everyone!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Robert Munsch Stories

Every year I do an author study with my class of my favourite children’s author, Robert Munsch. Robert Munsch's books are hilarious and he is Canadian which is a plus too! We read all of his stories, act out his stories, make puppet shows, write new stories with the characters from Robert Munsch's books, we learn about story elements, and do a character study on a chosen character. At the end of this unit we all write letters to Robert Munsch and he writes back! He send us a Robert Munsch poster, a letter answering some of our questions from our letters, and most excitingly an unpublished story that he has written with the children’s names from my class. The story he sent us this year was called “Museum Surprise!” 

The students love the idea of having their names in the story. This year I had the idea of us publishing the story. So I re typed out the story with text on about 20 pages I put frames above the text for the students to draw a picture for each page. I also made a cover page for students to draw a picture for their cover. I then photocopied the book we made with the student illustrations and binded together a copy for each student. I then glued on the individual cover pages the students made and I also glued a class photo on the back of each book. 

I always love making class books and I know the class made books even from previous years are always a favourite book choice during our silent reading time. I know this book will be a keepsake for students from this school year.