Tuesday, August 30, 2011

iPads in the Classroom?

Ok...so I've got a question.  Does anyone have an ipad that they use in their classroom??  If so, how?  My school has some extra tech money and has given us the option of a laptop or an ipad.  I would really like an ipad, but for personal reasons...I know that there are a ton of websites out there that tell you all the great things you can do with them, but I want real world info.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I've got DIBS...

I've finally reached heaven.

By that I mean I finally have enough working computers in my classroom to actually integrate them into my teaching!

There's even talk of us getting a laptop or IPAD, but I'm not going to get my hopes up yet.

SO ANYWAY, I'm so excited to be able to implement this strategy this year.  I have 16 students and 4 computers...that is 4 students per day with one day left over.  I made this nifty poster...

When it is a student's "DIBS" day, they get to get on the computer and play any of the educational games on my website...when they are finished with my work.  Here's what it looks like attached to my computer table...

On Fridays, only students who have earned coupons for extra computer time will be allowed to be on the computer.  This leaves me some wiggle room if new students come to our school.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Drama Llama

In the lower grades, it was tattling.  In the upper grades, it is drama.  I don't know about you, but I find myself inundated with DRAMA!  It is a life skill that is so important to learn...get over the drama!

Sometimes it is so bad that I really start compose a speech about how no one will ever truly be your friend if you don't drop the drama.

You know that child, too.  You are picturing her (or him) in your head right now.  So I invited a friend to my classroom,

Her name is Drama.  She sat on top of my cubbies with a cute little notebook, and the kids would write her a letter about what was bothering them.  Every week or so, I would read through and make sure nothing CRAZY was going on, but it really cut down on the drama in our classroom.

ReallyGoodStuff has a tattling turtle that has a CUTE poem, I am thinking of adapting to fit my needs.  My Kindergarten friend used him and loved it as well!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Classroom Library Makeover

I am a HUGE reader.  It really bums me out when students don't like reading...I loved it as a kid and continue to love it today.  I was never anywhere without a book in my bag.

Last year, I feel like I really reached my kids and awakened a love of reading.  My data to back that statement up? I had 7 of the top 20 A.R. point earners in the whole school in my class last year.  Even though A.R is not the end all be all of reading, it does show my students were some reading fools!  I was particularly proud of 2 of my students who were not exactly the brightest crayons in the box.  They really focused on books that were on their level and with the help of some audio books, they were VERY successful!

So...all that to say that I had a hard time helping my students find books they would enjoy.  After stalking some other fabulous blogs, I decided to organize my books by genre...here is the result

 I added a bookshelf...Target $12 on sale and the baskets...Dollar Tree and Big Lots

That cute green thing is also from Big Lots...you can take off the top and store things inside also! It was a splurge at $20.  I passed it up at first, but thought about it everyday until payday.  When I went back, it was still there...meant to be.
As you can see, everything has a nice neat place.  The empty basket on top is for books I read aloud.  I use A LOT of picture books to teach reading, language, math, science, social studies...you name it.  The kids really love it when they can look at the book later on their own.

For my 4th graders, they have to be working their way through a chapter book during Silent Reading Time.  They can look at picture books when they are done with their work and only have a few minutes before we change classes.  

Below, you can see how I attached the pictures to the baskets.  I simply printed my labels out, attached them to index cards, laminated, punched holes, and attached with 1 1/2 inch rings.

I really wanted to make them round to match with my polka dot theme, but that did not work out this year.

I've never posted any files to share, but leave me a comment if you'd like my label file for the basket labels.  YAY!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

OMG, is it that time already???

One draw back to getting out of school before Memorial day is that you have to go back to school in early August.
I also had the bright idea to run a week of summer camp and leave the next day for a 8 day trip to South America...all butting right up to the first teacher day of school...WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!

Anyway, the last two days I sat in meetings all day *blah, blah, blah* but I did take pictures!!

I am very blessed to have a HUGE classroom and access to a lot of furniture.  This is an upgrade from the very small single wide trailer I used to call home.  I do miss my trailer-mate though...can't have it all

 Taken from my door, that is not usually where my table is, but I've not moved it yet.  I guess you could call this my "focus wall".  Even in 4th grade, I still pull my kids up to the carpet to do Activ-Board activities.
 Again, taken from my door.  I love my windows.  They are big enough to let a TON of light in and I do not use my overhead lights with the students.
 This is my back wall, as you can see this is where all my stuff is stacked up for now... : (
Cubbie Area.  I use the majority for student cubbies, but I do utilize caddies to organize supplies in the top row.  I also am use the six cubbies on the side for math/reading center tubs.

Can't wait to show you pics when I get my things settled.