Welcome to My Classroom Tour!!

Whew, I survived the whirlwind of the first day of school! Does anyone else feel like it is one of the toughest days of school?? I love love LOVE meeting my new kiddos (though I knew most of them – one of the benefits of teaching in a small school!) but getting back into the swing of things with no real schedule is always a big difficult. So much of the day was filled with discussing policies and procedures for 5th grade, but I tried to break up the “boring”-ness with some fun too!

Anyways, now that school has actually started, I figured it was about time to give you the grand tour of my 5th grade classroom – welcome!!

Here is my classroom! This is the view from the door – notice the lovely Big Lots rug that is all over the teacher bloggy world…I love the pop of color in the middle of my room:

 

This is my computer area to the right of the door, as well as my WOW Work display board:

 

 

WOW Work board up close – I actually hot-glued the clothespins to the board because it is actually a chalkboard and there is no way to get them to stay up there any other way!!:

 

My desk area, to the right of the computer area:

 

 

 

Calendar area behind my desk. I used to have my fridge back here too (notice the plastic cabinets in the bottom left of the picture…), but I had to move it due to safety violations with the plugs…haha. So the pictures that used to be on the fridge of my previous classes are now posted above my calendar:

 

 

My Writing Process pencil – this used to be on a bulletin board near my bookshelves, but after some rearranging, this is where it ended up! The door on the right leads to the 4th grade room:

 

 

Here’s the back corner of my classroom with the doorway to the 4th grade room, my unit bulletin board, class supplies, books relating to our unit, and games:

 

 

Here’s a close-up of the bookshelf and surrounding area, including my newly-moved fridge. This month we are obviously studying the universe (if you didn’t figure that out from the previous picture’s bulletin board!) so all of the books on the top shelf here relate to this topic:

 

 

This is my early finishers spot, on the wall caddy corner to the unit bulletin board. Here I have ideas for the students if they finish an assignment early and need something to do. I included ideas for both Language Arts and Math (excuse my hand…I forgot to hang up 3M hooks today!):

 

 

I keep supplies for our literature centers next to the back bookshelf. We do centers once (sometimes twice) a week. Students can work 3 to a center and they include topics from “Fiction Books” and “Poetry” to “Imagination Station” and “Typing”. Many of these ideas I got from a book about literature centers (but of course I can’t remember the name of it now…):

 

 

The kiddos’ desks all set up and ready for them to come! I always get them small pencil holders that are designed for lockers and stick them to the side of their desks filled with a few small goodies, but this year the magnets would NOT stick! It was terrible! I decided to velcro them to their desks instead and this has worked great so far:

 

 

The front of the room with Morning Work posted for the first day. The area on the right of the board is where we write our homework every day:

 

 

Here’s a close-up of the board with the cursive alphabet above, a few motivational posters, and the brain teaser of the week:

 

 

I ran out of wall space, so I did a little rearranging and pulled some bookcases away from the wall – voila! Instant wall space! I purchased this awesome writing set from TpT and I can’t wait to use it here. You can also see my tired words pocket chart that I made last year:

 

 

So excited for this classroom Boggle board I made!! I was inspired by this Boggle board and was pleasantly surprised to see that our school Cricket had the exact cartridge I needed to make the cute scalloped background for each letter. I laminated 3 sets of the letters and keep them in a purple basket, along with the recording charts, below the board:

 

 

Here is my library/reading area. I just got that chair from Big Lots for $25 and the kids love it already! I have tons of books – I am and have always been an avid reader so I love having lots of options for my students to read. They are organized by AR levels, but the kids are encouraged to read based on their interests too. I got the blue chair at Big Lots last week and my students were loving it all day:

 

 

Last but not least, here is my beautiful lovely stunning wall of wood! Isn’t she a beauty? Oh boy…haha. The closet doors on both side of the “nook” will be filled with reading/writing vocabulary and math vocabulary. The bulletin board in the nook is one that I do every year – the students decorate puzzle pieces that we hang up on the 2nd day of school. I also have the always wonderful chart paper posted here which is wonderful and gets lots of use:

 

 

So that’s my classroom! Thanks for taking a tour and checking it out. Any suggestions or ideas or comments??

 

 

 

 

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A Day in My Shoes

Today I’m linking up with “Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher” so that you can learn about a day in my shoes!

Now, as is the case with most of you, each day is a little different due to specials and other fun activities. But here’s a glimpse into a normal day:

*6:00 – alarm goes off on my clock. SNOOZE!

*6:07 – alarm goes off on my phone. SNOOZE! (continue snoozing both alarms until 6:30…I do not enjoy getting out of bed in the mornings…haha)

*6:30-7:00 – get ready.

I shower, get dressed (I always pick out my outfit the night before – this saves me SO much time in the mornings!), do makeup, sometimes hair (sometimes I spend time on this, though lately with my hair getting so long, I have been sticking up in a ponytail or messy bun), make sure I have everything (keys, cellphone, laptop, etc.), and get out the door!

*7:00-7:25ish – drive to school.

It used to take between 15-20 minutes to get to work, however they are doing construction on the main route, so I am going a different way that is longer and has more traffic. Oh well – I enjoy listening to the morning radio shows and thinking about what I need to do when I get to school.

*7:25ish-7:40 – relax.

I usually spend the first 10-15 minutes at school checking my email, Google Reader, and Facebook (we don’t actually have to be at school until 8:00) while eating breakfast at my desk – usually cereal.

*7:40-8:30 – prepare for the day.

This involves writing their morning work on the board (usually a review worksheet, cursive practice, silent reading, reciting Memory Marathon verses, or re-reading a story with a partner), making copies that are needed, and mentally preparing for the day! Every Tuesday morning, the staff meets for prayer before the students arrive.

*8:30-9:00 – students arrive.

The students begin arriving at 8:30 and come anytime between then and 8:45. They do a great job of coming in quietly and getting their morning work done, although sometimes it takes a bit of prompting 🙂 I send a student around with our attendance clipboard at 8:45, and morning announcements over the walkie-talkies happen around 9:00.

*9:00-9:30 – devotions

On Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, my students and I journey through the Old Testament together. We learn about the Godly men and women and talk about how we can apply what we learn to our lives today. We also do prayer requests and I have a student pray for the class. On Thursdays, the whole school comes together for All School Worship. We sing a song or two, then one of my student’s dads does a short devotion for the school.

*9:30-10:15 – math

Four of my students go to 6th grade for math, one student takes 7th grade math later in the day (taught by the 6th grade teacher since we only go up to 6th grade), so I am left with 8 out of my 13 for math.  We start every math class by going over the previous night’s HW and answering any questions they may have. During the lesson for the day, the students take notes in their math notebook. We do lots of examples problems together, then the students do some independent work, either in their notebook or on a mini white board. Homework gets passed out at the end of class which students must write down in their HW planner.

*10:15-10:30 – snack

The students bring a healthy snack every day to enjoy during this time. They can socialize, play games, and just hang out for these 15 minutes.

*10:30-11:30 – Language Arts

This is my first year teaching English, writing, and spelling, so it has been interesting trying to work out a fairly consistent schedule. We usually do an English lesson until around 10:50, then work on our writing assignment until 11:30. This often changes based on the day; for example, spelling pretests/final tests are given every Monday/Friday at 10:30. Sometimes I do a writing mini-lesson before they begin to work. We are about to begin our next writing assignment on persuasive essays, so tomorrow I will spend a good bit of writing workshop time introducing this to the class and reading some samples together. I also throw in some computer instruction during this time every once in a while.

*11:30-12:15 – reading

We use Harcourt Story Town for our reading curriculum. Every day’s reading instruction is different! On Mondays, I introduce the vocabulary words and we discuss some background information needed for the story. On Tuesdays, the students do Literacy Centers which I created. There are 12 centers to choose from and they must pick a different one each week. Maybe I’ll do a post on these in the near future 🙂 On Wednesdays, we read the story for the week and discuss. On Thursdays, we discuss the literary element (theme, conflicts, point of view, or whatever I am focusing on with that story). On Fridays, the students complete a quiz on comprehension of the story, its vocabulary, and the literary element we discussed. We also read a novel each month relating to the unit we study (ex: Sign of the Beaver was our novel for Colonial America), so we spend some of this time reading and discussing the novel.

*12:20-1:00 – lunch/recess

The students have lunch for 20 mins and recess in the gym for 20 mins. I am thankful to teach at a school where teachers are not required to do lunch/recess duty! We have parent volunteers in those positions 🙂 This time always FLIES by…

*1:00-1:30 – silent reading

This is the time of day devoted to silent reading. We use Accelerated Reader so the kids are encouraged to complete quizzes for each book they read. I have given them each a goal of points they must acquire by reading books and taking quizzes. There is no punishment for not reaching their goal, however they will be rewarded if they do so 🙂

*1:30-3:00 – unit

We spend the majority of the afternoon on unit instruction. Every month each grade focuses on a different topic. This month, we are studying electricity and magnetism. Therefore, the bulk of our afternoon is learning about this topic. I love using PowerPoint, so most of my instruction is through PP presentations. Sometimes I have the students fill out a notes page I have created while we are going through the PowerPoint. Sometimes we read books together that teach us more about the topic. Two of the months we create a lapbook – one of my favorite teaching tools! This month involves a lot of experiments involving static electricity, batteries, magnetism, circuits, and other electricity-related topics. Each month the students complete a project that correlates to the unit. For example, this month they are each planning an electricity experiment to present to the class. They will fill out a form that talks us through their experiment; they will also type up a summary of what they learned, and then present the experiment and their findings to the class. Next month, we will be studying Western Europe, so each student will be assigned a different country that they must research and teach the class about. This allows for a lot of creativity because they can teach the class however they would like – through PowerPoint, brochures, posters, books, etc. This is my favorite time of day – the students are always excited about what we are learning! Several days a week we have specials (gym and Spanish) in the afternoon but we always work around those.

*3:00-3:10 – pack up

The students make sure they have all HW assignments written in their planners, they pack up, and I walk them down to bus dismissal.

*3:10-4:00 – lesson plan/prep work

We are allowed to leave around 4:00, so until then I usually prepare for the next day. I try and leave right around 4:00 to avoid traffic on the way home, although I tutor on Mondays until 4:15 and we have staff meetings on Thursdays until 4:15 or 4:30.

*4:00-10:00 – enjoy being home!

I spend this time with the hubs (who is currently preparing to start his LAST clinical before he graduates as a Doctor of Physical Therapy in May! Yahoo!) just hanging out, watching shows we missed the night before, playing volleyball at a local church on Tuesdays, hanging out with my BFFL who lives upstairs from us, eating dinner that one of us (or both of us!) has prepared, reading, and just relaxing! This is my absolute favorite part of my day…as much as I love my kiddos at school, I love being home with my husband even more 🙂

*10:00ish – bedtime

I try and go to bed around 10, although I’m often not very tired so I usually end up reading for a while in bed.

 

So that’s what my days are usually like! Busy busy busy but there is always something fun going on. I’ve enjoyed reading about everyone else’s days too!