Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Polka Dot Classroom Theme

I started back with the kids this week and things have been B-U-S-Y! I have an interesting group of firsties and I'm nervous excited to see how the year unfolds.  One thing is for sure, I will be here sharing lots of funny stories with you.  They have me laughing already and that says something since I am in tough strict teacher mode.  You can always become nicer, but you can't become more tough as the year goes on.  Do any of you start out the year really strict?  I'd love to hear how you handle behavior and classroom management early on.  


I recently posted pictures of my classroom and my new theme POLKA DOTS! I have received many e-mails and questions and I'm thankful  for each one of them. I love my followers!!!
I decided to do a post with all the links to the items that are currently available. You can click on any image to follow the link to my Teachers Pay Teachers store. The black and white birthday chart is a FREEBIE!  

To view more pictures of my 2012-2013 classroom click HERE

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Classroom Pictures 2012-2013

My classroom is finally done! a classroom ever really done? No.  However, I'm at least ready to show you what my new group of first graders will see on Monday morning.  This is my home away from home...
I chose to go with a polka dot theme but limit my colors.  I attempted to keep black as my base with my colors being blue, green, and pink.      
This is the view from my classroom door. 

...and this is the view if you turn a little bit to the right :)

This is the center of  my carpet area.

Here you see our listening center and carpet area that is in front of the Promethean Board.  On the back wall  you see my word wall and word family posters.

This is the back area of my room.  Our CAFE board and math vocabulary board. 
If you look close, I have another carpet area in the back left of the room.  This is where my classroom library is.  You can also see my assistants desk in the corner and our classroom hooks.  I'm not sure how I didn't get a better picture of this area.  

I'm diving in this year with CAFE! So excited. 

Our morning calendar area.  The 2 column graph will be part of our morning routine. It will work as a yes/no graph. Above the board I have my classroom numbers.  You can find those HERE

To the right of our calendar I have my literacy station choices on a magnetic board.  If you look close on the top left square you see one clothespin.  I plan to write class names on each clothespin and move the clothespins around as needed.  Since everything clips or is magnetic, I think this will help me make changes easier than in the past. 

Our school will be studying one country each month this year and this "culture corner" will represent some of the things we are learning.   Additionally, I am so excited to be participating in a post card exchange and this area will also be used for that. 

This cute little bookshelf was a beast to put together! It will be home to my desk supplies and lesson plans.  Once again, I have ditched the big teacher desk and will be using my small group table. 

I was trying to see the view from the eyes of my first graders when I took this picture.  My favorite part of this area is my new polka dot cushion  for my wicker chair.  To the left I have my birthdays displayed. You can grab them for FREE HERE

This is home to our clipboards.  Each student has one.  After school gets started and our routines are in place, I allow a lot of movement when working.  Students take their clipboards and are allowed to find an alternate spot in the room to work.  This worked well for me last year.  It's amazing the ones who you think would not be able to handle such freedom, they are the ones who find a spot and work the hardest. 

I really just wanted to show off my cute bow on my student folders :) Janah from Door Decor by Janah makes all my bows because she loves me :).  If you haven't checked her out you must!

I found black and white contact paper and used it to cover this paper organizer.  Before it was multi-colored.  I really didn't feel like painting anything else and I think the contact paper worked great!

My craft drawers.  I plan to make cute labels for each drawer that say "create", "dream", and "inspire". 

These are my crate seats from last  year.  I recovered them with this fun black and white print.  Quick Tip: I just placed new fabric over the old...there really wasn't a need to pull off the old fabric.  I think the whole makeover took about 15 minutes. 

My wicker chair and polka dot cushion.  

Culture Corner...see the flag? Someone put it there. It wasn't me...really! I can't figure out who it was.  They staged it nicely didn't they? 

This is the sign outside my classroom.  Created by none other than Janah at Door Decor by Janah

This is a bow on a lamp...I'm telling you, a few simple bows make all the difference. 

My leveled readers.  I used old boxes from IKEA from last year.  They were a little beaten up so I covered them with black Duck Tape and I think they should last for at least one more year. 

This is home to my listening station.  My headphones are in the round green containers and the books for the listening station are in the bottom 2 containers.

This is my work area. I also covered the top counter with black and white contact paper.  I even made the mailboxes myself.
I have drawers for each month. In these drawers, I put the items used in that particular month that really don't fit in a folder or notebook.  I have used this type of storage for 3+ years and it's the best way I have found for random items...butterfly net, bells, large craft templates, play props etc...

This is my new beautiful carpet from Lakeshore! I know it doesn't match even a little bit but it's new, and it's mine, and I adore it.  More than that, I am pumped that each student will have their own space that they can actually see.

My pencil cups (sharp & dull) and my storage drawers (scissors, glue, dice, cubes, makers, colored pencils).

Pencil cups.

This is the view of my small group table/desk area.

As we learn the sounds that letter combinations make, I post the visual in the room and we read these daily just like we read our word wall.  You can find these sound circles HERE

This is how I display our daily specials.  

My table baskets.  You can read more about them HERE if you would like. 

These containers hold my teacher read alouds.  If you follow me on Facebook, these are the containers I was searching for from Dollar General.  As you can see there is still one missing at the time the picture was taken.  The easiest way I have found to sort books that I know I will need to read and/or teach with, is by month.  It's not a perfect organization system, but it allows me to put my hands on the book around about the time I need it.

Daily baskets. "I need more time.", "I'm finished.",  "Daily Sentence Editing", and "Daily Math Journals".  After I check over the daily journals, they go right back to the basket and are ready for the next day.  Check out both links - practicing these skills each day makes a huge difference. Promise!

This is a close up of my word wall and word families.  You can find these alphabet letters HERE

I hope you enjoyed this tour of my room. I would love your feedback :) 

Here are your quick links:
Polka Dot Alphabet {Black and White}
Sound Circles {Blue and Green}
Scallop and Poklka Dot Alphabet and Number Line
Polka Dot on Black Alphabet
Polka Dot Birthday {Black and White}

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Polka Dots on Black & a FREEBIE

I've been working really hard in my room this week and although it's not done, I thought it was about time that I start posting some items from my new theme.  I actually have it all created, I just couldn't decide how to put it on TPT.  For now, I'm doing each section individually.  I think polka dots are so popular, that my items could be incorporated into many other classrooms pretty simply! 

I used these alphabet letters for my Word Wall. These colors will be the basis for my classroom this year. Grab your copy HERE

I have a really big room and I wanted to make sure to post 2 alphabets this year so they can be seen.  I created these with a matching number line.  The vowels are in green and black. The numbers range from 
0-20.  Click HERE to grab your copy.

It's not clear from the picture, but this is the way I keep track of birthday's in our  class.  On the first day of school, I take pictures of students in  groups by their birthday month.  You can grab this for FREE here

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mean Green Pencil Machine

Attention teachers! Listen up...I am one lucky gal!  I just received this pencil sharpener in the mail from Classroom Friendly Supplies and it's going to change my life.  I know, you're was I. 

Until I started sharpening the cheapo pencils that usually go into the pencil sharpener but never ever come back out.  You know the ones. They're all shiny and sometimes even glittery.  The little ones bring them to you all hopeful and excited about a new pencil.  You smile and put it into the pencil sharpener and then you turn the handle and turn and turn and turn.  Only to find out that you have to dash their dream and explain to them that this pencil isn't going to sharpen.  

If you're a teacher or have worked in a classroom you know that I'm not exaggerating. I wish that I was.  I have spent countless hours sharpening pencils in my life.  If anyone ever makes the mistake of asking me if I need any help, I immediately send them to the pencil sharpener to get a head start on sharpening.  I also happen to be a pencil hoarder and have 100's maybe thousands of pencils.  It's crazy I know but I have this adorable little container from Lowe's 

that I store my pencils in and it truly brings me happiness.  I have this container filled to the top and I also have 2 gallon Ziploc bags filled with pencils too.  I usually stock up during the summer when/if Staples has their penny sales.  Don't judge.  It just makes me happy.  

Back to the topic at hand, the LAST PENCIL SHARPENER YOU WILL EVER NEED TO BUY.  Seriously, this little retro looking pencil sharpener just plain works.  It was designed by a teacher for teachers and that right there should be enough for you to give it a chance Troy Decoff is the owner and founder of this sharpener which can be found at  Classroom Friendly Supplies

It's summer around here so I had to go on a hunt to find some pencils.  Oddly enough, I was able to find your classic number 2 pencils and some super cheap Christmas pencils.  Perfect. Here is my journey in pictures. 
Here he is.  I'm naming him the "Mean Green Pencil Machine". 

My random pencil collection.  The plastic box easily slides out to empty shavings. 

You don't have to, but you can clamp it down to any surface that has a lip.  The little thing-a-ma-jig twists up and down to adjust for size. I think this is a nice added bonus. As much as I move furniture around in my room this is actually a relief to not have to commit to screwing a pencil sharpener down. 

Here is how you start sharpening. The Mean Green Pencil Machine has a pull out part that clasps the pencil. See how the pencil is staying where it belongs?

Now, you can hold the pencil sharpener with one hand and turn with the other hand.  You don't  have to hold the pencils. The Mean Green Pencil Machine does all the work! It slowly pulls the pencil in to the base and that's when you know it's done.  Please excuse my sweatpants. It's summer~need I say more?

Not only did it sharpen various cheap pencils, EVERY pencil wrote without snapping the point.  It's hard to explain, but not only did it sharpen the pencil, it made it a strong sharpened pencil.  Hmmm...I know that sounds odd, but it's as though it left the lead thick enough to actually write too! Imagine that :) 

So there you have it, the last pencil sharpener you will ever need.  You can grab yours HERE

If you're still not convinced, you can watch videos HERE or read other reviews HERE.  

*Please note, I was not paid to review this product. I volunteered to do this review because this  product works.*


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