Monday, September 16, 2013

My Secret Obsession

Other than eating frosting out of the container and watching really terrible teen soap operas, I really love creating bulletin boards.  When I first started teaching my bulletin boards were not good at all.  My colleague, Olivia, even told me a few years later how much better I was getting at bulletin boards.  I don't want to brag or anything, but my boards are amazing.  I thought I would share some of these wonderful creations with you.  Some of these are my very own brainstorms, others are quotes that I loved, and some are borrowed from wonderful teachers.  Feel free to borrow any of these ideas as well.  Always remember, make it your own too.  Add something that makes your board special.  I always try to add something that the kids do, or something personal to the school.  


This is a bulletin board I used during The Revolutionary War.  On the saucer the students wrote the causes of the Revolutionary War and on the teacup they wrote the effects of the war.  Below are some examples of what the students did.  






For St. Patrick's Day our school had a door decorating contest sponsored by our Student Service Council.  Our class won, obviously.  We made a game similar to Candy Land, but it is Clover Land instead.  Each different section of the board was a different subject area.  We played this a few times, and it was a ton of fun.  



For open house, or another event that involves people coming in to school, I always have some kind of guess who activity.  One year I did "Guess The Smile".  I took pictures of just the students' smiles and the guests had to guess who.  The one above, I was talking about differences in others.  We talked about how some people use sign language to talk.  Above the students cut out the letters for their names and pasted them on the paper.  The visitors had to figure out who it is using the letters of sign language.  


Fall is one of my favorite times of year. I saw this quote online, and thought it was going to be perfect for my fall bulletin board. The students made leaves in the shape of hearts and used water colors on them.  Even though it did not take up a huge amount of the board, I really loved it.  


In my opinion Christmas should be all year long.  I do love fall though too.  I was in charge of games for our Christmas Bazaar, and thought doing a pin the heart on the Grinch game would be fun.  That led me to paint the Grinch, and I couldn't paint him without his adorable trusty side kick, Max.  


I dread Catholic Schools' Week every year mostly because the slogans are so hard to make a bulletin board for.  Now that my creative bulletin boards are my guilty pleasure, I have to have it amazing.  On each of the rays of the sun the students had to write how they will work really hard this year to "Rays" their standards. 


This is the bulletin board above my computer.  I have kept it up for 2 years, mostly because I really need to remember to pray with some of the students I have had.  They are great, but like many children, they can be tough sometimes.  


This bulletin board was done during our "Celebrate Reading" week.  This was also the week that I broke my leg.  Luckily, I got the board done before I broke my leg so I didn't have to climb up on a chair to put this up.  This is a Dr. Seuss quote.  


Another Catholic Schools' Week bulletin board.  This one was borrowed from another teacher.  I saw this online, and had to do it.  I changed it slightly and added "Faith, academics, and service" in the bottom of the rocket.  This was the theme for CSW that year.  


Over the years some of my favorite bulletin boards were Lent ones.  This one is pretty self explanatory.  On the masks, the students wrote how they will stay away from temptation.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Day of Firsts

First times of anything always cause anxiety for many people.  I am no stranger to anxiety myself.  It's not that I get nervous to start a first day with a new group of kids, it's just that I get anxious and excited.  Usually I feel super prepared and thrilled to have the first day, but since I had to work the night before, I felt a little stressed.  There were some things that I wish I had done, and had more time to do other things.  

One thing that I always do for my students is give them a few of the essentials.  The goodies are just a little something extra from me.  It is amazing a few students actually do say thank you for these things.  I don't think they realize that items at the dollar store can really add up.  I found the "Keep Calm" picture on Pinterest, and I thought it was perfect.  Usually I make some fancy embellishments using my Cricut, but. Was a little short on time this year.  After watching the students rip into their bags, I was relieved that I did not spend hours making the bags look fancier.  




Decorating my room is usually one of my favorite parts about getting ready for a new school year.  Since I spend more time in my classroom during the week, I wanted to make it a comfortable and inviting place not just for the students, but for me as well.  Here are some pictures of my room on the first day of school.  


This is a view of my classroom from my desk.  I was hoping to put up some curtains this year on the windows to brighten up the room, but I found out that they are a fire hazard.  The lanterns will have to do.  


This summer I was busy repainting my mailboxes.  I spray painted them blue on the inside and then all of the shelves and the outside are white.  I used binder clips to label each of the students' mailboxes.  I haven't done this before, but I like it so much better than just taping the names in.  

For my attendance board I use those clear stones and put their names on them.  I will post pictures of this process another day.  


Since I hate clutter so much, I covered all my shelves and open spaces with fabric.  I bout different colors and used them around the room.  It makes it look clean even if what is behind it is not that clean.  


This is my second year teaching 2 different classes, so I need to have a spot to write homework for each class.  The magnets with the class on them are from Vista Print.  


Despicable Me might be one of my favorite cartoon movies.  I am sad to say that I haven't seen the second one yet, but I know a tons of my students loved it.  I found this idea on Pinterest.  On the first day of school I will have the students color minions and then write what makes them not despicable.  We are going to relate this to religion and vocabulary.  



I could read all day if I was given the opportunity.  I always like to recommend books, and I think it is great when students recommend books to their classmates.  On this part of the board I will leave post its for students to stick to the board with book suggestions.  


I guess you can tell I love books.  I have had to get rid of many old ones to make way for some new ones.  I also have a ton of other hiding places for books.  


Even though we have a great science lab in our building for the classes to use, I love to have a ton of resources in the room for students.  Sometimes we are not able to get into the lab, so this is where I keep the science things that we need.  


Exit tickets are all the rage right now.  I started this last year, and love having it up.  At the end of the day, or the end of a lesson, I have students answer a question, ask a question, or reflect on something that they learned.  They then stick it to the door so they can see what other people have written.  


On the first day of school I take mugshots of the students holding up the day of their birth and put them up here.  I will post the finished product later.  


This is my cozy corner.  Some people at a time will seat here for silent reading or we will do whole class instruction here for guided reading or a religion lesson. 



After switching from self contained to rotation, I put a piece of dry erase paper on the wall outside my room.  Every morning I write what time we are rotating and the materials they need to bring to class.  This is so they do not have to interrupt a lesson with a class to find out what to bring.  

People generally ask my if I live in my classroom.  I think it is because I spend so much time there.  I want my room to feel comfortable.  After all, it is where I am for most of my day.