Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Four on the Fourth

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

After a great BBQ and spending a fun afternoon with my dad and sister, I am ready to continue the celebration by taking part in Four on the Fourth.  Thank you to the divine Ms. M for hosting a linky party in which we share four things we are going to try during the next school year.  Click here to see all of the responses.

My four ideas for next year:

1)  I am moving to a new classroom.  I LOVE my current classroom, but the new room is even better!! But moving is a difficult task!!  I am in the process of sorting and packing and moving boxes and then unpacking right now.  I am very proud of myself for throwing, recycling, and donating so many items.  I am also embarrassed by the abundance of items I have found.  I mean really, how many ________ does a girl need?  (Fill in the blank with just about any item, and chances are, it is something that I have found way too many of as I am packing up.  Oh, except money.  Except for a penny here or there, I do NOT have an abundance of money.)

2)  I will be creating a completely new floor plan for my new classroom.  Not only is this classroom bigger, but the cabinet arrangement is different so I am forced to rethink my whole setup.  This thrills me because I am really thinking about what is best for my students in terms of furniture arrangement.

3) One goal that I have is to keep my teacher supplies more organized.  (This goes along with number one and my current mess!)  I don't have a teacher desk, but instead pile things around the room ... in many places ... some of which I can't find later.  So to help myself, I made a Pinterest inspired teacher organizer.  So cute!  My plan is to keep all of my teacher supplies in ONE location.  Wish me luck!

4) The kindergarten teachers have been given the go ahead in my district to implement the Common Core Standards.  Hurrah!  Wait a minute, this means we will need to rethink a lot of things.  Yep.  Exciting, but lots of work!  (Oh, I will be once again teaching a kinder/first grade combination class so really I am supposed to be doing Common Core with kinder and the regular California standards with the firsties.  Hmmmm .... me thinks I will also switch my firsties to Common Core, also  ... at least in math.)

Okay, that is four.  I am done!  Good night to all!!  Tomorrow it is back to sorting and tossing and recycling and donating and packing for me.

Love to all,


Monday, July 2, 2012

Labeling My Library

This post is all about how I label my library.  If Blogger allowed for a subtitle it would be "How I Get My Students to Put Their Books Away in the Correct Bin".

Lately there have been a lot of posts about reorganizing classroom libraries.  Well, because I am moving to a new room, right now my library is a mess with books in two classes and tubs in no order.  Sigh.  It will get done!  It will get done!!

BUT ... I LOVE the way my books are organized and thought you might like to hear about a simple system that works.  This system is from The Sisters of Daily Five fame.  It took hours to set up, but that time was well worth it because now the effort to maintain my classroom library is minimal.

Here are my how to steps:

1)  Sort your books into like catergories.  You can sort by genres, topics, and/or authors.  You will probably end up with some of each.  Three of my book groups are:  Poetry, Reptiles, and Dr. Seuss.

2)  Put each group of books into a separate tub.  (Some groups may take two tubs.)

3)  Label each tub.  (Example:  Reptiles).  Make your labels as plain or as cute as you want.  Some bloggers have offered free labels.  (I used copyrighted images so I can't offer mine.)

4)  Place the tubs where you want them around the room.  Some teachers prefer all tubs are in the same area; others prefer the book tubs scattered through out the room; some teachers have enough storage that they are able to keep tubs put away and just bring out a few at a time.  The choice is yours.

5)  Number each tub.  Start with one and go as high as you need to.  I started in one corner of the room and worked my way around with numbers so the tubs would be in order, more or less.  (I have 48 tubs and some of my tubs are super crowded.  It is best to not overload each tub, but because I have so many books, my tubs are full so they take up less space.)

6)  Label each tub with its number.  I use round, white labels.  I write the tub number on the sticker and place the sticker on the front of the tub.

7)  Label each book in the tub with the same number.  (Once again, I use the round, white stickers.)  This takes FOREVER!!!!  You can get volunteers to help you with this - BUT make sure they will write the numbers neatly.  I had an older student help and I ended up redoing the numbers.  Not fun!

... and the end result is an organized classroom library!

I do NOT use any kind of checkout system with my students.  I want my students to be able to take books to their seats or anywhere in the room whenever they have time to read.  Then when they are done with the book, they look at the number on the front of the book and find that tub.  Simple!  Beautiful!  Really, it does work!  Sometimes my kinders do place books in the wrong tub, but that is rare.  (... and the most common mistake is placing a tub #12 book in the #21 tub or vice versa.  But that mistale always reminds me that we need to work on our numbers!!!)

Now it is back to moving classrooms for me!  I am so grateful that our days are a little cooler right now!

Love to all,