Friday, August 15, 2014

Back to School Prep

Back to school is around the corner, and I'm trying to get mentally (and physically) prepared as much as possible!  I recently purchased a color printer, and I've been giving it a bit of a workout lately.  At least someone around here is getting a workout.  Haha.  ;)

Anyway, here is what I've been working on:

I made these desk helpers for my students to use during seat work, math centers, and literacy centers.  Even though anchor charts and posters on the walls are great, I find that some of my students have a hard time with looking up and down so frequently.  These are printed back to back and will be laminated so that the students can use them all year long.  They are going to be shared.  No names will be put on them, so that they can just be accessible throughout the classroom.  There is math information on one side, and language arts information on the other side! I did not put coins on this product, so it works for any country.  I also included the spelling of COLOR and COLOUR, so you can choose what works for you!

 Desk Helper

I'm printing out items from my First Week of School packet.  There are fun little activities in there that are great for assessing where the students are at in terms of numeracy and literacy.  The colored cards are for a whole group letter sound matching activity that you can do on the carpet or in a pocket chart.  The name sorting activity is a fun activity to do during the first week as it can help you quickly see who needs extra fine-motor help with cutting, as well as name/letter awareness.

After the first week is over and classes are set (we don't have our firm class lists until the last day of the first week of school!!) I start on teaching routines about literacy centers.   I do Daily Five, and I begin with Read to Self and Work on Writing.  I teach the students about using word walls and about being "smartie spellers".  Some years my students are really into choosing their own topics for writing (which is wonderful!) but sometimes they need a little bit of encouragement.  There are some fun story starters in my Fall Activities pack.  

 Fall Packet

Also in my Fall packet are number cards (tallies, frames, numerals and number words) as well as sight word cards.  I like to use these to quickly assess where my students are at and we use them for word work as well.

I use BEE books (Bring Everything Everyday) in my classroom, and to encourage students to bring them back every day (and for me to track who is bringing them in daily) I give them punch cards for the first month or two of school.  I have a free set of punch cards as well as a paid set.  Click through for the freebie! 

 Punch Card Freebie

One of my favorite routines in my class is my morning work.  I love how the students get focused right away which starts our days off smoothly and allows me to take care of morning jobs without too many interruptions.  The students also really learn and practice fundamental skills throughout the year. The sheet pictured below is from set one.  The skills get progressively more difficult through the sets.

 Morning Work Set 1

And of course....every year I need to print off new name tags for the students' table spots.  I prefer to print student names onto their cards instead of typing them, so these aren't editable, but there are a lot of great editable name cards available on TpT as well.  

 Name Plates

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope that you have (or have already had!) a great back to school!  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Back to School?

I have to admit that I really enjoy getting ready for a new school year.  I love the freshness, the organization, and the hope that I feel for the upcoming year!  Usually I do quite a lot of prep in the classroom over the summer, and I also do a lot of work at home to get ready.  This summer has been odd, however, because we have job action (strike action) happening right now, and that means that we are not to go into the schools.  So...I have no fun and exciting classroom design and set-up photos to share (yet).  I'm hopeful that we will be back at school on time, and then I'll need to do my prep after the students have already shown up!

Job action hasn't kept me away from Pinterest, however!  I have my plans of what I would like to do, and I'll post a few of those here:

I want to prepare a big book about me to share with the students.  I share a lot of personal stories about my family, and I think it would be fun to introduce them to my life visually as well!

I want to put fun contact paper on the back of one of my bookshelves.

I want to make a tree in the corner of my room.  I've had tissue pom poms hanging from the ceiling for a few years, and I'm ready for a change!
There are many more things I want to do, including cleaning out a bunch of drawers that I wasn't able to do at the end of the year, of course.  

How is your classroom looking right now?  Are you already teaching?  Are you working hard at setting up?

Let me know in the comments :)

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