Friday, August 28, 2015

Are YOUR Students Fidgeting with Stuff at Their Seats??

Have I got a solution for that!!   Presenting..........Stuff Jail!

So in my classroom I have my desks in groups with a table bucket (more on those next post!) in the middle with all kinds of supplies in it. The kids also keep their personal supplies inside the desks so there is lots of "stuff" around. This means that little hands are always fiddling with things and by the end of last year I got fed up dealing with that nonsense. So before school started I found a good sized plastic bucket in my closet and literally spent all of 5 minutes spray painting stripes onto it and taping on a simple label. And I had (dun, dun, dun!) Stuff Jail!!

Here you can see it looking properly ominous amongst my stamps.

I introduced it during the first week of school and the kids often refer to it, especially when I gave them warnings about their "stuff". (For some reason this year, rulers are really popular...)

Below read an actual encounter:

Me: Put that pencil sharpener away please! I need to see attentive listening!

Student: (whispers, eyes wide) Or it will go in the stuff jail?

Me: Yes. Now put it away.

I've only had to use it a few times so far, but usually the stuff stays in there until the next morning or until the student reminds me that its still in there, haha.

If you want to make your own Stuff Jail, feel free to download my Stuff Jail freebie! It includes the little tag I used on the bucket and a poem to post with it!

Click the pic to grab it for yourself!

Friday, August 21, 2015

New School Year, New Classroom Decor!

Hello everyone! School is coming!!!!

One of my favorite parts of the summer is heading to the Goodwill, Dollar Tree, and Michaels Craft Store to load up on stuff I definitely (right) need for the new school year. The problem I run into though, is that I have to pack all that crap into a suitcase to haul back to Guatemala with me! No easy feat as you might imagine. (I inevitably leave a bunch of stuff behind at my mother's house. My childhood bedroom looks like a well-stocked teacher store.)

Once I got to Guatemala and then finally back to school, I got into unpacking all of my goodies and sorting through them. Here you can see the piles of stuff ALL over the tables and the half decorated room.

Uggggth, I can't stand plain white walls!

After MANY hours of work and copious use of my lamination machine (best purchase ever!) I got my room into a semblance of order. (Special shout out to Hope King for her Wild Things Brights Classroom Decor Pack!! I've labelled literally everything in my room with it. Love it!)  

Let's take a little tour...

Here's the view as you walk into the room. You can see two of my table groups, the reading/circle area, and Larry the leopard gecko's cage over on the left. My bulletin board is set up for my morning meeting routines and CAFE. Above that are my Tribes posters. 

I've turned a bit more and now you can see the Writing Center in the corner by the back door. There's all kinds of interesting stuff in that corner but I'm going to save that for another post! I love, love, love the blue batik fabric I hung under the sink and the green batik on the door! (There's no pesky fire marshal in Guatemala, so I'm actually allowed to hang fabric up.)

 Turning a bit more, we have my word wall and (currently empty) book boxes. Next is the listening center and over in the corner is my classroom door and then my computer area with the job chart and calendar behind it. All of my bulletin boards are covered by plastic table cloths (also acquired at the Dollar Tree). They are easier to put up than paper and don't fade. I've even had some up them up since the beginning of last year!

Here you can see the rest of my table groups and my whiteboard. I edged it in shredded table cloth so it would be less white on white.

And for our final vantage point, we have a close up of my shower curtain map and the Work on Words Center! I love this shower curtain from BedBath&Beyond! (20 bucks and I've used it for the past 5 years! Can't beat that!) It's perfect for referring to when discussions about various topics lead into "Where is that??" Also, its bright and HUGE!

Thanks soooo much for getting reading ALL the way down to the bottom of this (very dense) post! I promise posts in the future will be a bit more colorful and include some fun videos!! Check back soon!