Sunday, August 31, 2014

Classroom Tour

Now that school has started I was able to get a few pictures of my classroom for the 2014-2015 school year. I honestly didn't change very much from the previous year. When you find something that works, why change it, right?

This year teach Deaf/Hard of Hearing students in grades 2-6 in a Special Day Class.  Students come and go throughout the day depending on their needs. I try and mainstream my Deaf/Hard of Hearing students into the general education classrooms with a sign language interpreter when possible. Most of my students are with me for Language Arts. My students are pulled out for speech/language services a few times a week. I have 7 students this year. 

Welcome to my classroom!

The view as you walk into the classroom.

Our new science area including science tools posters.
Our scientific method posters and science lab coats.
Junior Scientist lab coats I made for the kids to wear during science experiments. I bought them at the Goodwill, cut off the long sleeves and then used my sewing machine to sew "Junior Scientist" on each shirt.
My "command central" area near my teacher desk. Paperwork is much easier to find now that I have this AWESOME black file holder from Scholastic. On top I have my student progress binders where I keep data and work samples for each student.

Student computers for Typing and Fairview activities.
Laptop storage and check out chart for our Tech Friday activities.
Our classroom library area.
New birthday box and sign for student birthdays. They get to pick a prize and keep the sign on their desk all day.
Each month will feature a new author on the library table.
Comfy futon and pillows for silent reading time.
iPad storage and library boxes. All of my books are leveled by reading level and then subject for the non-fiction books.
The view from the library to the front of the classroom. Including my clean (for now) desk.
The back wall has a word wall. (I realized I didn't get a picture of it.) New this year is our little Writing Center.  Yes, that's another black mini pocket chart from Scholastic. I am in love!
Leveled Guided Reading books.
Front teaching area. This includes our Fairview materials and centers under the tv.
Fairview Learning binders and book boxes on the top shelf. Student reading vocabulary boxes on the left, bottom. White baskets contain our centers for our Fairview Learning rotations.
Our calendar area. Schedules for speech and PE. Behavior clip chart and student job chart.
Classroom Economy system. Students earn money and can visit the class store each Friday.

View from the front of the classroom looking towards the door.

I hope you enjoyed a little view into my classroom as we start the 2014-2015 school year.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Five For Friday- August 30th

Okay, it's Saturday but I didn't want to miss out on Five for Friday. I've been MIA for too long and it's time to hop back into blogging. It's been a whirlwind this week. It was our first full week back. AND we had Back to School Night on Thursday! We've never had it this early and I was already exhausted from the full week back! But I survived... and here I am! Here's a quick look at a few things from my week:

We started our Fairview Learning rotations on Monday. The students rotate through Guided Reading, Guided Writing, Adapted Dolch words, Bridging, Phonics (for some) and Language (for others), and centers. We have three new kinders this year that are learning how to read their schedules and rotate during this time. I am very excited about using our new Adapted Dolch Word Interactive Notebooks this year.

 I finally took pictures of my classroom for a little class tour. I'll post those tomorrow.

Friday's are our fun Science and Tech days. We broke out the Junior Scientist lab coats I made for the kids and learned about our first Science tool.  The kids LOVED IT! Some how wearing a lab coat makes you think more like a scientist.

We set up the laptops for the first time Friday afternoon and reviewed opening a Word Doc and saving. They did a little typing practice by typing our dog vocabulary words. We're reading a few Henry and Mudge books for our first Literature unit but I didn't get any pictures of those activities.  These guys take our tech time seriously, which is nice.

YES!! I am so looking forward to the long three day weekend! Getting back into the work routine has kicked my bum! So the extra day off is much appreciated!

Have a good weekend everyone! Come back tomorrow for a little classroom tour!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday Made It- August 4th

This week was all about getting organized at home and in the classroom. On Monday a co-worker and I emptied and went through our program's shed. We're getting a replacement shed so everything had to be cleaned out. Thank goodness neither one of us are pack rats. We are serious purgers. 

I was able to get two little projects done before our family headed off for vacation. I'm sitting in a cabin in Lake Tahoe in front of the fire while it rains outside. I shouldn't complain about the rain, because we seriously need it in California. But that means we had to scrap our fun plans for today. Geesh weather. You need to cooperate!

First up, these super simple magnets for the white board. I found out that paint pens and I do not get along. I wasn't too happy about how the lettering turned out. I found the little clothes pins at Michael's. They were already painted black and I added the magnets on the back and words to help keep us organized at school. Super easy.

I was very excited when I found these cute little picture frames at Michael's for 70% off plus my educator discount. They ended up being about $1 a piece. Perfect for our back wall that you see right away when you walk into the classroom. I spray painted them black and used my beloved (not) paint pen to add some detail to the frames. Right now I have everyone's names inside of the 5x7 frames. I'll take pictures of all the students and staff the first week of school and add them to the frames. I used some Command poster strips to adhere them to the wall so they are easy to remove.

School starts soon for us so it's time to kick it into high gear.  But this week I am on vacation... so it's gonna have to wait. But my shopping over on TpT will not wait. I filled my cart with lots of goodies I know I'm going to use this school year. My entire store is on sale today and tomorrow. Happy Shopping!

300 × 250

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Take Home Folders

Last year was the first year I used daily Take Home Folders. I've used homework folders in the past, but not a real organization/communication tool for school to home.

Last summer I picked up this set from Clutter-Free Classroom during a flash freebie. It perfectly matched my classroom theme, so I went with it. Overall, the daily folders worked out great! I bought the thick and sturdy plastic folders from Office Depot, and they held up all year. I checked them out at Walmart this year, but of course, the quality is not as good. So I paid a bit extra again at Office Depot but know they will last. Also, I used my Xyron Creative Station to adhere all of the pieces to the folder. I use the permanent adhesive and it holds up all year.

Last year I also added a plastic pocket divider to store the student's daily behavior calendar. This behavior calendar really worked out well and held the students accountable each day. At the end of the day they colored that day's square with where ever they were on the behavior clip chart. If they had a yellow or below, I made a note in the square as to why. Each night the parents initial that day's square so they can see how their student was doing at school. I had two students on classroom behavior support plans, so this was ideal in terms of communicating with home and with documenting behavior in the classroom. At the end of the month, when I replaced the calendars, I would save the old calendar and could refer back to it when needed. That's a keeper for sure this year!

Next is a page protector that holds the lunch menu on one side and the school calendar on the backside. It's very handy for the students and parents.

Last year there was also a page protector for lunch money or fieldtrip money. This was rarely used, so this year I stuck to just one page protector.

Also, there were home to school communication sheets you can add to the folder. My student's parents typically just call the classroom and I found no one ever wrote in here. So this year I also took those out.

So here are my super simple Daily Take Home Folders. Important notes home, information and homework go in the front cover. At the end of the week when we empty mail boxes, those papers go in the back cover.

These are super simple to assemble and keep the students organized all year. The students take them out first thing in the morning. I collect them and then return them at the end of the day. Knock on wood.... no one lost one last year. Let's hope for the same thing this year as well!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

File Folder Activities

I don't know about you, but I have some kiddos that really struggle with learning their sight words. For Deaf/hard of Hearing students, they cannot rely on phonics to read, they must memorize every single word. It can be very difficult for students that have memory issues and/or learning disabilities. So we do TONS of repetition and practice in my classroom.

Over the years,  I have collected all sorts of sight word worksheets for the students to use to practice their words. But frankly, they get boring very quickly. So this year I thought I'd make my own file folder activities to make practicing sight words fun.

My two little girls really enjoyed these activities. I got them out to take pictures and they wanted to do folder after folder! One of them is going into first grade, so the sentence writing and word searches were perfect for her. My other little one is going into Transitional Kindergarten. She tried them and was able to tell me if it was the word we were looking for or not on the activity page. I was quite impressed.

But naturally, the kinesthetic part of rolling out the playdoh and making the words was hands down the most fun for the girls. I can see my students enjoying this part as well.

On the front of each folder, the students use either playdoh, pipe cleaners, yarn, etc to make their word. For the Deaf/hard of Hearing students, there are circles to indicate how many signs there are for the word. After they sign each of the meanings/signs they place a little playdoh ball on the circles.

On the inside of the folder, there is a place to practice writing the word, framing the word, and then a sentence to write. The second part is an activity. Each of the activities is a little different. They might find and circle their word from a bunch of words and fonts, a word search, an I-Spy where they use a magnifying glass to find and circle their sight word, or cross out their words.

It took a little bit of prep to get these made, but I can see using them for years to come as a center activity or independent work. In my class, we learn 4 new sight words a week. Rather than the boring worksheets I used last year right after recess time, we'll be doing something a lot more fun and engaging!

I've made folders for the basic Dolch Sight Words available over on TpT. You can check them out by clicking on the picture.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Made It- July 21st

How is is Monday again? It sneaks up fast! I did a little back to school supply shopping yesterday and have *started* to think about school. I am in denial that it's only a month away.

I have been working on some new materials for the classroom. My students need lots of practice reading, signing and spelling their Dolch Words. I just finished up the Preprimer Dolch Sight Word File Folder Activities and hope to get it up on TpT tomorrow.  Poor Hubby is cutting out all of this laminating as I type.


 I finished up my take home folders for my students. Having only seven students made this process very quick this year! Last year was the first year I have used Take Home Folders and I really figured out what works for us. I'll tell you all about that soon. (This set is by Clutter-Free Classroom, and I love the black line design.)


I also was able to get my behavior calendars prepped, printed and copied for the entire year. Last year I used a free download from Teaching with Love and Laughter that I loved, loved, loved. I was sad to see that the file wasn't there any more as a freebie. But... I did end up purchasing her Editable Clip Chart Take Home Calendar in a Power Point version. Oh my word! This made life easy peasy! I was able to cross of dates on the calendar, mark the holidays, etc. Also, the editable version made it super simple to translate the information to Spanish for some of my families. Last year I spent too much time cutting and gluing the Spanish info onto each month. So this purchase was well worth it!

Have a great week everyone!