I’ve been working in my room for about two and a half days now, and I finally feel like I’m making progress! Two walls are mostly finished, and it is starting to feel like an actual classroom again! My classroom has some awkward parts to it. For example, one wall is almost a complete wall of different bulletin boards. Some are corkboard, some whiteboard, some large, some small, etc. The other wall is an unfortunate green carpet. :( That makes it a little hard to decorate, since the fire marshal has said too much paper is a fire hazard, so I did my best!
The first small bulletin board is our “Someone Special” board. Each week a different child gets to be the someone special. On Friday’s I send home a little backpack with an information letter, a blank poster, markers, and crayons. They decorate their own poster and bring pictures/other personal items to be displayed for the next week. Also during the week, each child in our class writes a letter to the someone special telling them what their favorite thing about them is. I put the letters into a book and present it to the child on Fridays. I also ask the families to write a letter telling why their child is special to them. We read those on Friday, and the child talks about their poster, pictures, and items. I start the year out with my poster and pictures. I think it’s a great way to introduce myself to the children. I even included a picture of me when I was in first grade! I usually don’t start sending home the backpack until about October, when they are more able to write letters to each other.
The next bulletin board is our Math Meeting. We do math meeting first thing every morning. Our school uses the Saxon Math program, with our own ideas thrown in. If you’re familiar with Saxon, you’ll notice I didn’t put all of their pieces up. They have too many activities to do! Not all are necessary. The white ones get turned around as we learn about those topics. The Student of the Day helps with Math Meeting, and all other tasks around the classroom. They also get to take the Mystery Box (see previous post) home that night.
Then we have our enormous word wall! (Not all shown.) I love this bulletin board! It is actually one whiteboard and one corkboard that I covered over. It has so much room to display all of the sight and vocabulary words we learn. I color code the words we put up – white are sight words, yellow are vocabulary words. It does look MUCH better when the words are up. Some letters have a lot of words, which is why they are not all equally spaced (I have a little bit of OCD when it comes to my classroom...).
My desk area comes next, but it is not ready for a picture yet! :)
The opposite wall is the carpet wall. It starts with our Birthday Wall. On the first day of school, each child gets to color a cupcake, which I then glue on to the birthday bags (brown paper bags). I’ll post pictures of it when it is finished. One boy in my class has his birthday on the second day of school, so I’ll have to be quick getting everything together!
Next are my computer and the children’s computers. They use them independently each day during workshop time. We also have a computer lab I try to take them to once a week. The colors are on top, a motivational banner, and two posters. Our principal is starting a new positive behavior system, and those two posters are part of that.
The last section is our Reading corner. The table is used when parents come to help, but is also there for children to sit and read. We also have bean bags, and a quilt. One of my friends/graduate school classmates came in last year to do a lesson. She had each child draw a picture of their favorite animal. Then she made a quilt out of their pictures! It is really neat!
There you have it. A short, first tour of our classroom. I’m looking forward to getting the rest of it ready tomorrow, so stay tuned!