Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Classroom Library

Sorry for the lag in posts... school has been a mad house! 

Here are some picture of my classroom library. I worked really hard to get it organized for the year. I chose to sort it by genre, favorite author, or series. Each basket is labeled on the outside. Each book also has a sticker label on the inside so students don't have an excuse for putting them back in the wrong basket.

Nearly all of the baskets are from Dollar Tree... so cheap! A few are from Garden Ridge.

I made the labels on a print program on my computer. I then printed them out on cardstock and laminated them. I attached them to the baskets with zip ties... took a while but I am hoping this will hold them on better than tape.

This bookcase looks a little messy, but the signs hanging on the front are the procedures for our classroom library. I will only leave these up a couple more weeks. 

This is the bulletin board in the library. This is where my students can write book reviews and post them for other students to read. I got the idea from Mailbox Magazine.

Picture books are on the bottom shelf. They are still in the traditional shelving since there are not that many.

Here are my non-fiction shelves also. They are not as organized. I do have some of my history and math books sorted into baskets since I have a lot of those.

Hope that this sparks some ideas for you too! I love to see other people's classroom library for new ideas. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Classroom Pictures!

Well, I had "Meet your teacher" night last night. Here is a little tour of my classroom as it looked before parents and new students came in. It no longer looks this way due to the overwhelming amount of supplies that they bring in with them! It looks like a school supply explosion all over my classroom now! (That is a good thing though... we will definitely use the supplies!) 

View from one side of the room

Calendar, riddle, turn-in papers area, and a graph for back to school night (graph ideas are from KESAM)

Reading Corner, One-on-One meeting table, and writing center desk

My desk/area

Small group area

Reading Corner (palm trees are made from carpet tubes, paper sacks, and umbrellas)

New book baskets in which I have sorted my library by genre

Storage cubbies that hold my math and reading stations/games

Front of the room and more graphs for back to school night

Class Job Chart (every student in my class has a weekly job they are responsible for)

View from the door

Thanks for checking out my blog! Good luck to all the teachers out there getting ready to start school! Have a great year!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Math Workshop

In my classroom, I love teaching MATH!

Last year I started a new way of teaching math... Math Workshop. 

I got the idea from Beth Newingham. If you haven't ever checked out her website, I highly recommend it! There are many, many resources out there for math workshop... I just found hers to be the most simple and easy to implement.

In my class, I split my students into 3 groups. I had a high, low and middle group. I started the lesson with a quick mini lesson to introduce the topic. They were then in a rotation where they spent about 20 minutes either with me for the lesson, at a center practicing the new skill, or at their seat doing an assignment.

I found this process to be amazing! The kids really liked being able to switch what they were doing after 20 minutes rather than sitting through a lengthy lesson and workbook page. I also found that my lower students were more comfortable asking questions and telling me when they didn't get it, in the smaller group setting. I was also able to challenge my higher level students without losing a large population of my class.

Here is the order in which I would do my 60-75 minutes of math:

5-10 minutes: Intro to lesson through a video and short discussion. (Access that prior knowledge)

20 minutes: Low group with me, Middle group at the center, and high group at their seat.

20 minutes: Middle group with me, high group at the center, and low group working at their seat.

20 minutes: High group with me, low group at the center, and middle group at their seats.

The reason I followed this pattern is because I want to work with the low and middle group before they begin their assignment. The high group can usually get through the majority of it and then I can just reinforce and help with the areas that they are still struggling with. This then gives me time to extend the lesson higher for them. All the while, my low and middle groups get a chance to listen to my lesson and practice the skill to reinforce what has been taught before completing their assignment.

Like I said, I really liked this last year! I am going to do some tweaking this year though. I have a larger class this year so I think I will move to 4 groups. I saw a great idea on Clutter-Free Classroom. She has a great math workshop set-up you should check out with 4 groups! She even has a really cute MATH acronym I might have to use!

I think I will add another station so that I have 4: Lesson with me, assignment at your seat, math games(math facts mostly), and skill practice with manipulatives.

I am also going to include more writing! I am making part of their assignment each week to write in their math journals explaining how they did the new skill they learned. I am also going to use some foldables (where you fold a piece of paper with flaps complete with info written in and glue it into a notebook)  I picked up at a workshop this summer!

So my new schedule would look more like this: (90 Minute Lesson)

15 Minutes: Intro to lesson (same as above)

15 minutes: Group A with me, Group B at the skill practice, Group C at games and Group D at their seat.

15 minutes: Group B with me, Group C at the skill practice, Group D at games and Group A at their seat.

15 minutes: Group C with me, Group D at the skill practice, Group A at games and Group B at their seat.

15 minutes: Group D with me, Group A at the skill practice, Group B at games and Group C at their seat.

15 Minutes: Wrap up, journals, answer questions, ask what they got out of the lesson.

So, this is my goal! I will keep you posted on how it goes! Next week I will post pictures of my classroom all decorated and ready for students!