Thursday, June 27, 2013

Making Waves in the Classroom

The main reason that I started this blog was to share ideas with the teaching community and receive input in return.  The title of my blog "Helping Manatees Grow Wings" refers to my students. Although I have changed grades several times, this will be my 10th year teaching at my school, where our mascot is the noble manatee. (This is a mascot a high school would never chose. It isn't tough, or fierce, but it's perfect for our little peaceful school family.)

I've been taking pictures for at least two years now in hopes of someday starting a blog, so I figured I'd share some pictures of my classroom here. 

For the past two years I've been in the "little class," which usually had 11 to 13 students in it (and I had a part time teacher assistant). I know if you're a teacher I just made you super jealous. It was a dream!

I took this pic of my room during the 2011-2012 school year when I taught one small class of 2nd graders, but the desk layout pretty much stayed the same in 2012 - 2013.

This was the door the students used. The "back door" connects to the front office. I don't need a super quiet classroom, but I definitely had to keep it that way for the last two years.  The cabinets were great for storage, and the windows were awesome for growing things.

This was mostly storage that year. The following year it stored writing folders and journals, which I think was a better use of space. 

Here is a closet that I shared with the office, my table for small groups, and one of the bathrooms. Notice the shoe rack on the back of the door. When I moved into my first classroom, the previous teacher had left this for me. I know it's not a new idea, but it is a super space saver!

 Here is a closer look at my behavior chart I created for my second graders. I wanted something cute that went along with my ocean theme, and I couldn't find anything, so I created this. I colored the pieced of velcro with markers so they wouldn't stand out.

 This is the other bathroom and along with some math manipulatives and other materials. The shapes on the door were my positive behavior incentive. Often when I caught students doing the right thing, I would put a star sticker on their hand. At designated times, they would add their stars to their shape. When the got 20 stars, the student could visit the prize box.  Then they would move to the next shape.

This is my word wall at the very beginning of the year.  (You can see what it looks like with words in my next post.)  I found the idea for a wipe-off word wall somewhere on the web that summer. Before that, I had all these little words cut out, and I often had trouble finding the word that I needed. Now I just write it up there with a Vis-a-vis. This is also great if I start to run out of room. Then I can just rewrite all of the words so they fit!  I also like this because it makes it easy to draw pictures for homophones.
This is part of my library. My computers and my table are behind it.
Here is another pic of my library. You can see the beginning of my Hooked on Books display behind it.  It took a while,but eventually each book got a hook attached to it and a string that stretched up to some waves that I drew in chalk near the ceiling.  Throughout the school year I used my Vis-a-vis marker to write characteristics of each genre inside each book in the display as we learned about each one.  I would then have students refer to them during book talks.

So that was some pics of my classroom from the 2012 - 2013 school year. Hopefully some of you who are looking for ideas for an ocean themed classroom find it useful.  In my next post, I'll show you some changes I made to this classroom for my unique year in third grade.



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