Monday, November 16, 2015

Reading and Writing Centers

Math is yellow, science is green, social studies is red ... can you guess what reading and writing's signature color is in our classroom? That's right ... BLUE! In an attempt to make sure the reading and writing centers and materials are "relaxing and calm", reading and writing is always blue. (Except for the vocab wall, which is purple, but that's close to blue, right?)

This is our lovely blue reading and writing center shelf. Or literacy center as most people call it. Just like with our science shelf, that big empty spot on the third shelf is for that unit's materials, so it changes pretty frequently. This tall shelf backs up to our library center and gives the kids some sound buffer while they enjoy their books.

The top shelf in our reading and writing center is for writing journals and letter tiles. The letters tiles are just blue (shocker, blue) bathroom tiles that have lowercase letters written on them in silver metallic sharpie. There's 2 full alphabets with extra vowels and common consonants in each of the 4 Rubbermaid containers.The kids use them during writing if they need help spelling words or during free centers if they want to play with them. OCD me started off with writing binders in alphabetical order, but this year's kiddos just don't want them that way! I gave in ... for now.

The middle shelf holds magnetic materials. There are cookie sheets to use as boards, cookie sheet games (rhyming and beginning sounds), magnetic letters in containers (each container has a full alphabet and extra vowels and common consonants), and a magnetic rhyming board game from Lakeshore.

Shelf number 3: unit materials, beginning sound matching games, alphabet matching puzzles.

The bottom shelf is home to dry erase materials. There are a couple of dry erase books with different skills in them, alphabet arcs and capital and lowercase D'Nealian tracing pages.

Across the room is an even smaller shelf that we call games shelf (but it's really literacy overflow). On the top of the games shelf is where the kids keep their not finished folders. Each table group has a bucket for their table (in case they need to grab the whole bucket instead of individual folders). Each person who sits at that table has a folder inside of that bucket to place work when it is not finished. I also put work in their folders when they are absent, or when they try to sneak incomplete papers into their pockets.

The top shelf on our games center shelf is for boxed literacy games, pocket chart games and puzzles (with the exception of the foam alphabet puzzle that wouldn't fit on the top shelf). Our puzzle pieces are numbered and in baggies so pieces don't end up all over the floor.

The bottom shelf is for our pool noodle alphabet, foam alphabet puzzle, regular legos and CVC word legos.

On the floor next to our games shelf are our mini pocket charts that I made over the summer. Click here to see how I did it.

Our Science Shelf

Like I've said before, I am an anal, OCD person and everything in my room is color coded, and in their places, and on the shelf they are supposed to be on. Before the kids come in the room. :)

Here is what our science shelf looks like. It's this HUGE shelf that's split down the middle and is used for half math, half science. A couple years ago I took some green paper and glued it to the back of the shelf (since I was too scared to paint it) so that it would match all of the science things in the room. Science. Is. Green.
Not sometimes. Not whenever I feel like it. ALWAYS!

The bottom of our science shelf (which I know looks super sad right now, but we're switching units!) is for sorting and whatever new unit we are on that week. I usually put that unit's materials on the bottom shelf Tuesday. Although, this week is sound energy ... we might wait.

Our middle shelf is home to our scales. We have 4 and they take up every inch of this shelf. The kids love to measure different things.

Our top shelf is holds our science journals and science buckets, which we use on a daily basis. Each of the kids has their own journal and each table group has their own bucket that they are in charge of. The science buckets have crayons, markers, colored pencils, scissors, glue sticks, erasers and regular pencils. This way, they don't have to get into their other table buckets and fight over the materials in there.

Our Math Shelf

I am an anal, OCD person ... which doesn't work out well for my kiddos sometimes! I like things color coded, and in their places, and on the shelf they are supposed to be on. Then I remember, I teach kindergarten and sometimes, something's gotta give!

Here is what our math shelf looks like. It's this HUGE shelf that's split down the middle and is used for half math, half science. A couple years ago I took some yellow paper and glued it to the back of the shelf (since I was too scared to paint it) so that it would match all of the math things in the room. Math. Is. Yellow.
Not sometimes. Not whenever I feel like it. ALWAYS!

And as chaotic as it may seem, everything has a place for a reason.
The top shelf houses our manipulatives in their containers (which took a lot less space than those big plastic storage boxes and looks neater to me), our bug sorting center, geoboard center, dice and boxed games.

The middle shelf holds dry erase activities (including markers and socks for erasing), magnetic numbers and cookie sheets for boards, foam puzzles and magnetic tan-grams.

The bottom shelf if home to large wooden dominoes, a box filled with plastic sorting shapes, our big foam floor puzzle, and number noodles that we use to practice sequencing and place value.

Sometimes games get added to our math shelf depending on what we are learning about in our unit that week. But for the most part, this is what our shelf consistently looks like. 

Go Noodle

We started GoNoodle today in class and the kids LOVED it! During stations/centers I try to keep classical music playing in the back ground (and on fun days we listen to words with clean lyrics ... a lot of oldies). Today whenever we had about 5 minutes or so between transitions and not enough time to start something new, we GoNoodled. That can be a verb, right?

Aaaaaaanyway, at the end of the day we made it through 5 different GoNoodle activities! I don't know about the kiddos, but Usher's ABC Song was my favorite of the day. It was so nice, we did it twice! It was good for them to have a lot of different choices to choose from for little brain breaks. We have the songs that we usually do and some from the radio that I put on when there's not too much time to do anything else, but this was a lot of fun for them.

After today, I'm thinking we need to have some GoNoodle in our lives DAILY.

Happy GoNoOdling!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Currently November

As an October baby, November came WAY too fast. I've linked up once before and enjoyed it, so I'm doing it again, this time with Oh Boy Fourth Grade.

I feel like I've gotten so behind with cleaning and cleaning up my DVR and eating ... delicious homemade food. My mom and I make the most amazing baked mac and cheese year after year. The best part is the recipe never stays the same and we are CONSTANTLY changing the types of cheeses and spices we put in our mac and cheese. I could eat a whole pan by myself. Mmm ... can't wait!

What's your favourite Thanksgiving dish?

Head over to Oh Boy Fourth Grade and share what you are currently doing in November!

Happy blogging!

Class Dojo

I have recently entered the world of Class Dojo and I must say, I'm loving it! I'm not using it where parents can see how their child is doing, but more as a behavior tool for in the classroom. Each morning, we set a goal as a class for what we want our positive percentage to be by the end of the day. We usually aim for 75 - 80% as a class.

We almost made it our first day! But, we had a lot of kiddos off task that day. It's nice to be able to go in and make notes of exact behaviors, too. I'm not going to lie, by the end of the day I can't remember why everyone's clip was moved, ESPECIALLY if it was a long day! Sooo, this has also helped with daily folders in my room.

We set up our positive and negative behaviors as a class, too. So when they get a ding in either category and we talk about why, they know exactly what it was for.

I'm thinking I may ask the rotation teachers in our building if they want access to my class so they can add specific behaviors if it is needed. It is something that could come in handy if I'm not aware of something that happens in their room and have a parent asking.

As for now, the kids like seeing their status throughout the day and seeing how the class is doing as a whole. It's motivated them to get to their positive percentage higher each day! I'm lovin me some Class Dojo!

Happy teaching!