Saturday, August 17, 2013

Classroom Tour

Classroom Tour

After spending a very long day in a hot, humid classroom, the goal of uploading pictures simply didn't happen.  The air conditioner isn't working in our hallway, despite our wonderful custodians calling in the issue to the district several times.  Since kids aren't there yet, we don't seem to be a priority.  Well, it's Nevada and since it's in the triple digits, I'd say we're a priority.  

But let's start with the classroom tour:

This is for when students enter my classroom.

Just a little something to remind them that they are welcome and accepted in my classroom.

Next, the resources station:

I had an old set of encyclopedias from the early nineties, but decided they should go to goodwill instead of taking up valuable shelf space.  I tried to pick supplies that students would need most often and put them all in one place.  You'll notice the upcycled pringles can is now a polka dotted and glittery ruler holder.  The pink supply buckets were a find at the Target dollar spot a few years ago and I used address labels to organize my supplies.

Next, here is where I organized most of my bulletin board border.  

I know I've blogged about it before, but here is the proof of what it looks like in an actual (slightly messy) classroom.

Next, my reading bulletin boards.

Here is the much blogged about graffiti board.

I've changed my mind just a little bit about how I'd like students to complete this quoting task.  They're going to write the quote on one side of the note card and justify why that quote matters on the back.  I'll model this during our first week when we start the read Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief aloud (our first read aloud).

Next to the reading graffiti board is a copy of our school's chart on mastery of standards.  We no longer give grades but rather students are working toward mastery (or exceeding) of the Common Core State Standards.  For full details, refer to this post.

This next board is where I'll display the awesome Harry Potter themed CAFE charts I found for free on TpT.  They're zebra print, hot pink and Harry Potter. I feel like they were made especially for me :)

I don't hang these up right away because we go over the components in our small groups.  Since I'll have the higher readers, I'm focusing on vocabulary acquisition, comprehension and fluency.

The blank board with the green and white sheet will be where anchor charts are displayed, but for now there's a friendly reminder about fairness.

Next, our writing process board.

I refer to my students as "star writers" and each of them will have star magnet.  These magnets were a Dollar Tree find and at four for a buck, they're quite the steal!

I'm using the side of my metal cabinet because it's otherwise wasted space.  Students will move their star magnet to indicate what step of the writing process they're working on.

Brain drain: the brainstorming process
Sloppy copy: writing a rough draft, focusing on organization, content and ideas rather than spelling
Arrange to change: editing and revising (solo task)
Peer editing: for when we do buddy editing
Time to shine: publishing their final copy, either typing or hand written depending on the task

This cabinet is located near my kidney table and teacher corner.

Behind me is the massive US map where I'll display post cards as we learn about different regions of the US.  For full details, see my other blog here.

In fifth grade, we don't really have calendar time but I still think it's important to display one.

I made a Cox Cubs Corner (our school) with the calendar, an envelope for Cubs Cash (our school's incentive for specials), a bag of box tops (how we buy art supplies) and a math problem solving poster (named CUBS of course).

I also put up our schedule where students will be able to see what topics we are exploring each day.

The schedule cards were an awesome free download from TpT, available here.

I also have my "I'm moving to Australia" flags (see these two posts) and STOP cards for students nearby.

Classroom Management


A few days ago, I blogged about NOISE and how I wanted to try this in the classroom.

Essentially, students lose letters when they're too loud and when they are down to NO, there is no more talking.  Of course, they can work together to earn back letters by making appropriate choices.

The letters are displayed under our chart about different noise levels and a motivational poster.


I use different colored cups on students' desks to indicate different needs.

These cups are in twelve packs at the dollar tree, but I think you can find them basically anywhere.

They correspond with this management tip and work really well with my students.  I don't like when students sit there with their hands in the air, wasting time for me to come check on them during group work.  So instead, I have this system where they indicate what they need based on their individual cup color.

Green: I'm good, I can do this task. I can answer my table team's questions about the task
Yellow: I'm a little stuck and need assistance and/or clarification.  I can keep working.
Red: I'm lost and need help immediately.
Blue: May I use the restroom? 

Occasionally, we use the cups for other purposes as well: answering A, B, C or D; true, false, agree or disagree; and for order of operations in math (add, subtract, multiply and divide).

Hand signals

In addition to cups, we use hand signals in the classroom.

One finger: I need...
This is usually used for band-aids or if a student didn't get a particular material that was being passed out.

Two fingers: May I sharpen my pencil?

Three fingers: May I get a drink of water?

Four fingers: May I get a tissue?

Five fingers: I have a question

I also have students cross their fingers if they need to use the restroom and it's an emergency.  I accept this sign or the blue cup (mentioned above).

First Week Prep

I'm getting excited for students (I meet them next Friday).

I've been preparing little treats for our first week of school to build our classroom culture.

Here we have green circles that say "Hey there smartie pants! Hope your first day is going great! Love, Ms. Vice".  They'll get these right after lunch on the first day of school with an attached Smarties candy.

The pink ones say "I hope you're bursting with excitement about fifth grade" and will have Starbursts candies attached.  I'll put these out on desks at meet the teacher day (which is the Friday before the first day of school).

These are their me bags:

It's part of their first week homework so their classmates can get to know them a little better. I'll model the first day as I'm introducing myself.  This is part of my back to school unit on TpT, available here.

Later in the week I'll also be making the lucky charms bags and first day pencils, but I can't work too hard on one of my final weekends of summer.  

See this post about additional back to school ideas.

You may notice I didn't include my desk set up in any of the images.  That's because my desks are currently covered in piles of things :)

Future pictures will be posted when my classroom is done!

Ms. Vice

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