Monday, April 30, 2012

Classroom Walls - Tip 1

If you are just joining us, you'll want to start here or check out my Clutter-Free Guide to Organizing and Managing Your Classroom.



This week we're focusing on your classroom walls. Today I want to talk about covering the walls.  However, I must first post a disclaimer.  Many schools have fire codes.  Know yours.  Personally, I think it's a bit silly that a building filled with graph paper, construction paper, primary-ruled paper, intermediate-ruled paper, drawing paper, etc limits the amount of wall space that can be covered, but I digress.

Covering your walls is a great way to bring the room together and to hide any unsightly chips, yucky colored paint and institution-feeling cinderblock walls.

When it comes to covering classroom walls, I simply must direct you to the fabulous Cara Carroll. Her floor to ceiling displays are so dramatic and appealing. Below is one photo from her blog.  You definitely need to hop on over and see the rest of her room. Gorgeous!

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Below are some other pictures for inspiration on how you might cover a large space.





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Covering wall space allows you to create displays in different areas.


























{blue word wall photo source}
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Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

CFC Project Week 11: Clutter-Free Walls

If you are just joining us, you'll want to start here or check out my Clutter-Free Guide to Organizing and Managing Your Classroom.





Have you ever walked into someone's classroom and been so overwhelmed by the visual clutter on the walls that you've wondered how a child could possibly remain focused in that setting?  Have you wondered this about your own classroom?  


You'll soon be stripping down your walls in preparation for summer vacation {insert obligatory woop! woop! here} and in the blink of an eye will be setting the room up for next year. Therefore, I feel that this is the perfect time to analyze what your walls currently look like and create a vision as you plan for the fall.











Analyze your current displays and the overall appearance of the classroom walls.  Determine if:

  • they appear cohesive
  • they are beneficial to student learning
  • it is easy for students to locate resources that are available
  • they compliment the look of the rest of your classroom









Go outside your classroom.  Shut the door.  Reenter as if you are entering for the first time.  Look around the room at all four walls.  Examine each display.  Sit in spaces where students work and do the same.  Ask others to assess the visual aspect of the walls. Take pictures  or video and look at those.  Decide what works.  Think about some changes you can make for next year.


Each day this week I'll be posting tips, ideas and pictures for making your classroom displays be visually appealing and purposeful and offering tips for making changes for the fall.




If you haven't already downloaded my complete list of tips and ideas for ending the school year, please go check it out. It covers just about everything you'll need and has links to free printables as well.









On Friday, I'll put up the Linky Party related to the Clutter-Free Classroom PROJECT. The Linky will be ongoing and you can always jump in and link up at anytime. You don't have to have participated in the other weekly projects to take part. It's a great way to drive traffic to your own blog and share your ideas with others. Below are this week's prompt topics. 


  • Show us your walls.  Post pictures of your current 4 walls.




  • Show us the one wall display you couldn't live without.  Explain why.




  • Write about how you plan to change things up for next year.  Feel free to include pictures you've found online or pinned for inspiration.
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Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

End-Of-The-Year- Linky Party

If you are new you may want to start here or check out my Clutter-Free Classroom Guide.







The Linky will be ongoing and you can always jump in and link up at any time. If you don't have a blog you can respond to the prompt in the comment section. Below is this week's prompt.

I would love for you to link up and share your tips for keeping your teacher work area neat and organized even if you didn't participate in this week's challenge.






PROMPT(s):

  • Share your tips for wrapping up the school year? 
                                        OR
  • What is your favorite end of the year activity
                                          OR
  • What is it about summer vacation that you are most looking forward to?

Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

End-of-The-Year Lesson / Activity Ideas

(reposted from my original May 2010 with new pics added)Do you smell that?

It the perfect combination of sunscreen, iced coffee, grills and ocean air. That my friends is the aroma of summer vacation and it is so close I can smell it.

So close!

But before my toes can go without shoes for 10 consecutive weeks, the school year must wrap up.
Those last few weeks can get tricky. The kids shut down, your to do list grows, the classrooms heat up and schedules get all jumbly which adds to the chaos. It's important to have an arsenal of end-of-the-year activities to balance out the nostalgia for the school year and the anticipation of the vacation. It helps to keep the wee ones engaged.


Below is a thematic kit of activities I've developed to keep the kiddos on task.

Below that is a collection of ideas that I like to use during those last few weeks of school. Hopefully, you'll find something new to try.






The following pictures show my most recent kit designed for the End of the School Year. It includes over 35 reproducible pages that are ideal for grades 1-5 and can easily be adapted for preschool and Kindergarten. Included are a:
  • 28 page Memory Book ~ (click on the picture to see larger versions) These pages allow students to reflect on the past year. There are pages for the funniest thing that happened, field trips, favorite lunch, what they did at recess, what is popular now, and much more. Print them all out or select just the ones you want to include. There is even a blank template that they can customize (my kiddos use them to add in student teachers, aides and one child even created a page for each classmate). You can assemble the book using a binding machine or just staple it. What I do is copy the pages and 3-hole punch them. When the students finish writing and illustrating them, I give them the choice of binding the book with ribbons and pipe cleaners or putting them into folders with prongs.

  • Top 10 list Template for each grade level ~ It reads, "The Top 10 Things You Need to Know About ___ Grade" and I've included a copy for each grade level starting with preschool. There is clip art on the side that the students can color or you could cut that off before photocopying and have your kids decorate the border themselves. These make a great back to school bulletin board for the fall (hello, timesaver!) and also a nice class book to have available to your new class.

  • 3 different templates for letters to the child's future teacher ~ It's nice for the next teacher to get a letter from the student and the kids feel better knowing that their teacher knows something about them. I designed three versions of this so that it can be used by different developmental levels. There is one for students to just draw on, one with a headline/midline/baseline and one with smaller lines for advanced writers.
It's available at my online TPT store as an instant download for only $5.00. I have them do a few pages each day. It's great as an instant filler when you find they need a low key activity and it's such fun to hear them chatting and remembering the year. I find it is great closure and a wonderful keepsake. I typically print some photos from the year and make a page for each student's book as well with a note from me.

I promise it will make those hectic last weeks easier for you. Wouldn't you rather spend your upcoming nights and weekends picking out new flip flops and browsing Barnes and Noble for beach reads instead of creating end of the year projects on your own.

IDEAS FOR YOUR CLASSROOM


OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES:
Fresh Air Reading:
Have the students bring in sheets or beach towels from home. Spend some time outside reading in the fresh air. Give the parents a head’s up so that they may apply bug spray or sunblock.
Sidewalk Chalk:
Use sidewalk chalk to create some outdoor art to enhance a lesson. Anything you would normally do on paper can be done using chalk outside. Some ideas include: webbing stories, character sketches, illustrating scenes from a book, etc.
Water Painting:
Take the kids outside with cups of water and paintbrushes. Let them “paint” their spelling or vocabulary words onto the wall of the school or the playground.
Detail Writing:
Use clipboards and allow the kids to sit outside and journal, compose poems or write descriptive paragraphs about an object that they can observe outside.
So Many Nouns:
Go on a walk around the schoolgrounds and list all of the nouns that can be seen.
SUMMER SAFETY:
Now is a great time to do some safety lessons and activities. Topics such as sun safty, water safety, bike safety and fireworks safety are timely and important.
Have kids write persuasive paragraphs on why bike helmets should be worn.
Research summer safety tips and design posters that can be hung around the school or town.
Contact the local police and fire department. They are often willing to come to schools and do presentations on these topics.
CAMP THEME:
Read and write campfire stories.
Research and write about woodland creatures. Use model magic to create them.
Make “solar s’mores” by wrapping marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers in foil and setting them in the sun.
Tye-Dye tshirts or use watercolors and coffee filters to make pretend shirts.
PLAY GAMES:
Give the children posterboards and allow them to create their own board game. Provide them with parameters and guides. They can design the game board, write trivia cards, write out instructions for play, etc.
Do an “in-class game day” where the students bring games from home. Allow them time to teach each other how to play the game and let them enjoy playing together.
Use online programs to create word searches using words that relate to your school year.
Play a whole class game of Pictionary.
Challenge another class to a kickball game.
CREATE:
Make playdough and allow the children to be creative.
Collect recycled items (newspapers, egg cartons, cans, etc) and let the kids create interesting artwork.
Make collages.
Water color murals. Put on some quiet music and see how calm the classroom becomes.
Read the book, It’s Not a Box. Have each child bring in a box from home and use classroom supplies to transform it into something else. Allow time for each student to share with the class.
TAKE TO THE STAGE:
Print out reader’s theaters scripts and have your students work in small groups to plan a performance. Supply them with some art materials to make props, costumes and scenery.
Hold a “class talent show.” Let kids practice and perform on their own or with a friend.
LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION!
It’s so tempting to put in a movie during those last few days. Justify it by reading a novel that has been made into a film. My personal favorite is Charlotte’s Web.
Watch SchoolHouse Rocks and then have the kids make up their own songs to teach a concept.
If you haven't already downloaded my complete list of tips and ideas for ending the school year, please go check it out. It covers just about everything you'll need and has links to free printables as well.end of year ideas end of the school year end of year activities for the classroom preschool kindergarten first grade second grade third grade fourth grade fifth grade sixth grade end of year celebration memory book yearbook printable free ideas



Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Clutter-Free Classroom Project: Week #10 Challenge

If you are just joining us, you'll want to start here or check out my Clutter-Free Guide to Organizing and Managing Your Classroom.




I can't believe this school year will soon be wrapping up. Is it me or did it simply fly by? Since it seems like so many of you are starting to get that "end of the year itch," and since I know all y'all folk down South will be getting out next month, it seemed like a good time to start planning for the last few weeks of school.  It can be an overwhelmingly crazy time, but it doesn't need to be. By planning ahead, you can end the year organized and stress-free.









Create a binder and start a to do list to plan and organize your last few weeks of school. 










If you haven't already downloaded my complete list of tips and ideas for ending the school year, please go check it out. It covers just about everything you'll need and has links to free printables as well.









On Friday, I'll put up the first Linky Party related to the Clutter-Free Classroom PROJECT. The Linky will be ongoing and you can always jump in and link up at anytime. If you don't have a blog you can respond to the prompt in the comment section on Friday's post. Below is this week's prompt. 

PROMPT: Share your tips for wrapping up the school year OR What about summer vacation are you most looking forward to? 

classroom organization tips classroom organization ideas classroom organization supplies classroom storage classroom management classroom arrangement classroom organization skills organization ideas for the classroom organization ideas for teachers organization ideas for elementary classrooms decluttering a classroom declutter classroom before pictureskindergarten first grade second grade third grade fourth grade fifth grade sixth grade preschool 1st grade 2nd grade 3rd grade 4th grade 5th grade 6th grade time management, professional organizer, ways to get organized, organizing products, helping kids get organized, organizing teachers, the organized classroom, tips for getting organized tips for classroom organization storage manipulatives school supplies

Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

FREE RESOURCE for ENDING THE SCHOOL YEAR

Hi friends!

I'm back from a wonderfully lovely week away with my family.

A little bit of Disney.  A little bit of Beach.  A whole lot of sunshine. And way too much yummy food.

If you are looking for a vacation destination and want a relaxed setting with great people and beautiful beaches I can't recommend the Sarasota / Venice area enough.  Siesta Key is by far my most favorite beach ever. Seriously, book yourself a trip!

We got back yesterday and I spent a huge chunk of today completing a little somethin-somethin that I had in the works for you all.

I had made it as a Teacher Appreciation Day gift from me to you.

My goal was to get it done and make it available then.

However, after spending the week having fun in the sun and after reading blogs and posts I'm getting the sense that everyone has summer vacation on the mind.  And so I didn't want to wait the 2 weeks until Teacher Appreciation Day to post this, because let's be honest, I appreciate the heck out of y'all everyday. 

I'm excited to share my latest FREE resource that I've created for you....

This resource was created to help teachers of all ages and grade levels wrap up the school year in an organized and stress-free manner. It's chock full of tips on how to close out your classroom for the summer, It includes a lengthy list of things you may need to do so that you can plan out your final weeks without overlooking important details. It includes links to free printables to keep you organized and help you pace the last weeks of school in a professional and comprehensive manner. 


Table of Contents:

TIPS FOR ENDING THE SCHOOL YEAR.................................................. 5

A MASTER LIST OF IDEAS FOR CREATING YOUR OWN TO DO LIST........ 10

END-OF-THE-YEAR IDEAS................................................................. 13

CALENDARS PRINTABLES..................................................................... 14

LINKS TO OTHER IDEAS AND FREE PRINTABLES...................THROUGHOUT





Simply click on the MY PRODUCT BUTTON over there on the right hand side of your screen to download this FREEBIE and prepare to get your summer vacation on!!

{This week's Clutter-Free Project Tasks and Tips will all be about preparing to Close Out the School Year - I'll post the task tomorrow.}

Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Send in the Clowns - Sarasota virtual vacation


Although I am away on vacation, you are with me in spirit. Follow along with my daily itinerary and snag the deal of the day that relates to it.

As for the deal of the day:



Th

While I'm away I'm "rerunning" some of my former posts that relate to the beach. Throughout the month of June, I ran aClassroom Theme Seriesand featured a different popular classroom themeeach day. Themes are a great way to tie everything in your classroom together...you just have to be careful not to let them clutter your classroom :)


Today we're enjoying some time in the Sarasota area. And it just so happens to be home to the Ringling Brothers museum. Which makes for a wonderful opportunity to replay some circus/carnival ideas. What a fun theme this would be. You can check out my Carnival / Circus theme pack here.





I would have thought these would have been easy themes to compile, but alas there wasn't much out there. If you have (or no of) any great circus/carnival theme ideas or pictures let me know and I'll add them here.


Come One, Come All to the Greatest School Year on Earth

We're Nuts About ______ (with elephant and circus peanuts)

Clowning Around (display with silly pictures of the students)

Flying High in ____ Grade (trapeze)










Tilt-o-Word (Vocabulary/Spelling Board)
Popcorn Words (Word Wall)

Award tickets for good behavior or other incentives.

Keep your eye on the prize!

Target Skills (w/ bullseye)

_____ Grade: A Ride of a Lifetime"

Step Right Up to _______ Grade!

Welcome to the Big Top





Juggling Jobs (job chart bb with pic of juggler)

"We Don't Clown Around in ________ Grade- (behavior board)

"______ is a real treat!"- display w/carnival food pics (cotton candy, popcorn, hot dogs, etc.)

"_________ Makes the World Go 'Round!"- w/pic of ferris wheel

"Get in the Game of Learning!"- display w/carnival game pics


Keep a Winning Attitude!"- behavior bb w/pics of carnival kids w/prizes

Make a ring of fire by taping tissue (red, orange and yellow) to a hula hoop and attaching to the wall.

Paper mache balloons that have been twisted & turned into the animals etc and paint them bright colors and attach them to your walls.

circus theme classroom carnival theme classroom circus theme classroom photos carnival theme classroom photos circus theme classroom pictures carnival theme classroom pictures circus theme classroom ideas carnival theme classroom ideas bulletin boards

Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.