Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: My Classroom Then, and Now!

Gee, I don't know about you, but this week is dragging.  I am so tired!  To top it off, we have rain predicted for the rest of this week, and into the weekend.  Now, I live in Southern California, and we are in the middle of a drought, but rainy school days mean no recess breaks, and a shortened lunch.  Who needs rain, right?

So, in case you haven't heard, there is a big sale planned for today and Friday, on TPT.  My store will be 28% off if you use the TPT code: TPT3, at checkout.  To find my store, just look down, and to your right, and there it is on the sidebar.  Or, click the adorable image below that was made by my bloggy friend, Corinna from Surfin' Through Second.



Alright, enough said.

So, I was looking at my room this week and thinking about how it has transformed from the beginning of the year.  So, I thought it would be fun to do a little compare and contrast activity.  It is called "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:  My Classroom Then, and Now!"  I always love getting to peek into other teachers' rooms.  Hope you brought your comfy sneakers.  We're going to be together for awhile.

Alright, let's start at the front of my room.  This is where I teach the majority of my lessons.  This is how it looked when school started.


This is how it looks now.  I think this is "the Good."



  I LOVE my anchor charts.


Also, love the shelf on my back table, given to me by my favorite retired teacher (Mrs. E).  It has been a game changer, especially with having a combo class this year.  I have a shelf for 1st, and one for 2nd.  Awesome!


Ok, let's swing over to the opposite wall (below). Before…...



After…..Not too much difference here.  Oh, wait that blasted TV that produced nothing but static and snow, is gone! Once again… loving my anchor charts, and all of my books.  I give this area, "a Good." (Note piles on top of filing cabinet.  I have 4 different unit piles going on up there!)



Oh, wait.  I spot some "Ugly".  That clipboard crate is hideous.  



Making a mental note to do something like this for next year.



Moving on…..CRAFT board beginning of the year…so empty and sad.  So much to learn.



More than midway thru the year, and we have learned a lot.  Can you tell what part of reading I love teaching most?   I love this board.  But, 1) I need to keep up with posting our strategies, and 2) I need to refer my students to it more regularly when I see they are having a specific problem with their reading.  Then, maybe they would start doing it on their own.



This year, I also picked up some book bins (above) from Step Up to Literacy.  I got all those for like $80 dollars including tax and s/h.  Score.  Then, I just bought a couple crates and a piece of finished wood from Home Depot, and oila!  Book bins organized!

Next stop on our tour.  My room, before 25 first and second graders.  Ahhh, so peaceful, so organized, so clean! The OCD in me misses those days.




Fast forward to today, and the desks are crooked.  I didn't take a picture of them.  Definitely "Ugly".  It feels like hot pokers in my eyes.  Yes, I know, there are zip ties for this.  I bought them in the beginning of the year.  I don't know where they are now.

Moving right along.  The pic below is of my behavior chart, job chart, and classroom library. I have more books in bins on the floor.  But, I do really need more books!



Below is a pic of what this area looks like today.  Most of the books I have are in students' desks.  That is a good thing, right?  Some of my students are serious book hoarders.  I think that is a good sign.  But, I will definitely say this area should be categorized as "Bad."  I need to reorganize my library by lexile, genre, or author….anything other than by Accelerated Reader level, which is how it is right now.  It is just not working for me anymore.  Don't get me wrong, I am not anti-AR.  My kids love it!  So we use it!


I do love my Martin Luther King doves (above).  They came from Deb Thomas' MLK Unit.



I had the kids read one of the quotes from MLK, and write about what he was trying to say.  I loved the thinking my students did with this activity.  First graders are deep!

Next!  The area below has everything working like butta' baby!  The blue charts. ... Ah, not the prettiest.  Granted.  But, I love my Behavior Card Chart!



I have the Owl themed materials.  But, I also have Pirates and Super Hero themes, as well.



Another thing that makes my life so much easier, and our classroom a positive place to learn, are my Differentiated Behavior Cards.  This is where my students turn in their cards to be signed by me at the end of the day.  I just sign them, because first graders are horrible at forgery.



This card is from my Winter themed set.  But, I am getting ready to bust out with my popular Owl themed cards for Spring.



This area is just a hodgepodge of all the learning we are doing.  We have been studying heroes for several weeks now.

We've also been working on big reading strategies, like Determining Importance.



 Flipping over to the other side of my room again, we have our writing board.  Right now this board is covered with my students animal reports, diagrams, and life cycle posters.  While a little random, this area is definitely "Good,"  and is one of my favorites.



Yes, we are working on the difference between "their" and "there."  But, this is where they are, and I am so proud.  But more importantly, the kids are so proud of their work!



I love this picture of a bear with the fish label.


The students also made glossaries for their reports.





Ok, we are almost at the end of our tour.  Here is the back of the room.  I don't have any "Before" pics of this area.  Thank goodness.

This area has…Yes, more anchor charts!  AND our MLK report books.  


These came from Simply Skilled in Second.  My students seriously had a blast making these.  Click on any of the images below to learn more about these Famous American Flip Flap Books.  "Good, Good, and more Good!"






There you have it.  MOST of my classroom, the way it looks today.  There were some parts we didn't get to see today, like my Reading Table.  But, I am saving that for another post.

Thanks for coming along.  Ciao!

Nicole

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