Twenty-three PRECIOUS children entered my room on Monday, and then THE FUN BEGAN! We truly are a one-of-a-kind crowd! They are kind, helpful, hardworking, and downright HILARIOUS. We began the week with a little jitter jig song to “shake out our jitters.” It certainly seemed to work because it felt like we were all family in no time! Ha! Much of the week was spent going over rules and routines. My kids LOVED “meeting” The First Grade Experts (hallelujah!). They referred to them by name all week long and even saw them run past our classroom windows a few times. SO SWEET! On Friday, we filled out our applications to be the next members of the club and shipped them off in a big envelope. I know there will be many smiling faces on Monday morning when they see they were ALL “approved.” Woo hoo! In addition to learning rules and routines, we played many “getting to know you” games, explored math manipulatives, and started The Daily Five! They made it up to 8 minutes during Read to Self by the end of the week. I felt like a proud mom because I bragged about their time to anyone who would listen. You know the feeling, I’m sure! Here’s a little collage of some of what we did. I brought my camera each day with the intention of taking many more pictures, but it seemed like I would blink and the day would be over. The Find a Friend activity you see in the collage is from Abby’s Fun with Firsties pack. It was a class favorite!
I did manage, however, to snap a few pictures of my classroom late last night. So, let’s go on a little tour, shall we? This is a view of my library. Last year, my library was closed off with two bookshelves, which made the classroom feel much smaller. I LOVE this open feel so much more. I’m OBSESSED with the book banner (inspired by my dear friend, Maria at Kinder Craze) that hangs overtop of the library. This is the space in the classroom that everyone gravitates towards. My kiddos seem to REALLY love it!
Here’s another shot of the library, from the other side. Those cushions are so comfy and the big chair is, of course, the favorite seat in the house.
This is my Daily Five corner. You can find all my Daily Five posters you see below and other resources for free here. The yellow chevron seat cushion was made my darling friend Tracy’s (Creekside Teacher Tales) mom. She is the SWEETEST. I plan on holding all my writing materials in the storage bins underneath the seating. The fabulous reading genre posters you see in the corner were made by Rachel Lamb. I plan on introducing my kiddos to these soon! Here’s another shot of the library. You can see the “Bravo Job” sign and boards behind the library that hold student work. To create the “Bravo Job” wall, I painted 23 clipboards a bright and cheery green and then placed a little name label on top of the ugly metal part to create a special board for each student. I think it’s SO important to display student work. It really allows them to take pride and ownership in what they do, and it reminds them that the classroom is NOT mine, but OURS. On the opposite wall, you’ll find this monstrous Dr. Seuss quote. I created this using my Silhouette Cameo (obsessed!). It’s a quote I refer to a lot in my classroom, and it creates a fun focal point.
Below the quote is where we rest our book bins. One of my FAVORITE people in the whole world, Kristen (from A Day in First Grade) made the little labels for me. I just love her! So sweet, huh?
These are my students’ mailboxes. I labeled them using cute little signs I found at Michaels. I believe they were 30 cents a piece. This idea was inspired by The Teacher Wife (see her post here). They are held up with two pieces of Velcro. Easy-peasy! I bought circular labels for the bottom two mailboxes, which will hold extra papers (in case students lose a paper, etc.).
When you enter the classroom, you first see the “Our Class Pact” bulletin board (located on the left in the picture below). That’s where our school’s mission statement is being held for the moment. My plan is to have my students write our own classroom pact to display there. The little green bin (with the drawers) is the first place my students stop at when they enter the classroom. They put all of their important papers from home in the tray on top. I hold extra tissues, hand sanitizer, and band-aids in the drawers. The alphabet line (at the top) was inspired by Miss Nelson’s Got the Camera. I LOVE it! Already a few students have said, “Hey, I know why some letters are yellow: they are VOWELS!” So smart!
Next to the word wall is our little writing station, which holds all of our writing supplies for Work on Writing and Writer’s Workshop. You can read all about my Writer’s Workshop resources here. Underneath the desk is where I store all of some SUPER cool lap desks I found at Ikea. Once I introduce the Writer’s Workshop and Work on Writing, I plan on having my students use the lap desks so that they can spread out around the classroom to write. Right now they are using them during Read to Self and they’re really enjoying them.
In this little corner is where you’ll find my TINY teacher space and the horseshoe table. Giving up my big desk was the best decision EVER! I now have a teeny desk that holds my computer and a small bookshelf for my printer and teacher books. To save space, I found some awesome stools at Ikea (I swear I am not a spokesperson for them!) for 6 bucks a piece, I think! They are sturdy and easy to move around.
And, finally, another shot of the library side of the classroom. I had to stand up on the counter and risk my life for this shot, people! And, I’m only half kidding.
I’d love to share more detailed pictures in a future post. It was LATE on Friday night when I took these and our poor custodian was ready to kill me, I think. I’m pretty sure she was sitting in her car waiting for me to leave so she could lock up the building. That’s it for now! Have a FABULOUS and well-deserved weekend!