Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Hectic Start

This week was the first chance we had to set up our classroom for this coming school year but I didn't get as much time in my classroom as I thought I would. Last week my husband and I closed on our new home. We spent all weekend moving and I had to stay home Monday to get all our services installed. I was late getting to school on Tuesday because my car died and I had to get another battery. Wednesday was my grandmother's birthday so I spent the day in East Texas. Thursday I met with my team to plan which was a productive day! By Friday, I finally had a full day to work!
With that said, nothing is finished and I still have A LOT of work to do before my classroom is ready for the first day of school but I wanted to share a few ideas for classroom management. Remember, these ideas work for my specific 5th grade math/science class, but they may not work for yours. Steal ideas if they work and if they don't, maybe next time! :)

I write my objectives and homework every day for both subjects so my students know what they are expected to learn. I also maintain a Daily News poster for due dates and upcoming school events. Some of my borders and letters have disappeared so this is definitely a basic representation of the idea.
I have used many classroom helper systems but I have grown fond of this one. I place a colored dot on every desk that corresponds with the class helper wall. Whatever color their dot is, that is their job for the week. I rotate them every Monday so everyone gets a chance to do every job. I limit mine to four because we only sit four to a table, but you can change it depending on your classroom.
It is always best to label your room as much as possible. This allows the students to be more independent and not wear you out. I posted procedure signs all over my classroom at the locations the student completes that assignment. In this case, I have a basket at the front of my room where the students place all of their notes from home when they walk into the classroom. This also makes it easier for me to keep up with all the papers. I take them to my desk at the beginning of class to sort through when I have time.
This one is specific for math....Math Fact Poster. In 5th grade, we take Mad Minute quizzes every Monday to test their multiplication skills. Sometimes students will be on different quizzes if they didn't pass the previous quiz. This poster organizes the quizzes in numerical order so it is easy for the student to pick up whatever number he is on. Once they pass a quiz, they get to put a sticker on the poster and will receive a surprise once they have completed them all.
This year I have decided to relocate all of my independent reading books to a smaller bookshelf and keep my main bookshelf organized with our textbooks and science workbooks. If the students do not keep their books at their desks, it is important to have a designated location for them. I am also obsessed with crates which are great to keep floppy books in which can be color coded by class or table.
Once again you will see I have labeled these totes for their purpose of holding graded papers. Since they do not have a solid side, I attached the teacher labels to each basket with metal rings. This way the labels can't get mixed up or get in the way of the papers.
Again, labeled procedure. By 5th grade, I do not keep up with papers for students. When they are absent, all of their papers are labeled with their name and date they were gone and then placed in this folder for them when they return. I also keep extra copies of their homework in folders by weeks (we have 9 weeks in a grading period so I have 9 folders). It is also helpful when students lose their homework to know right where to get an extra copy so they can complete it before it is due.
I have shared this idea before {Ticket Item entry} but this year I am doing something a little different. Last year I used a white board to write each week's question. However, that meant I had clean the board and write a new question every Friday afternoon. This year I typed all the questions and I am going to switch them out from the page protector each week to save me time.
I cannot stress enough how labeling your classroom will save you from frustration during the year when your students want to ask you every day where something is located! If your students can read independently, use it to your advantage! If they can't, use pictures :)
I have my students turn in their work to a teacher/subject specific drawer. This keeps them organized for me when I go to grade them :)
You can read about how my Tic Tac Toe project works here {Tic Tac Toe entry} but I am using it again this year. Hopefully my students will enjoy it as much this year as they did last year!
I might be in 5th grade but I still love to put up personal and seasonal decorations! The kids love to watch them as they change throughout the year!
This is the beginning of my teacher space. This year I have a student teacher and I am trying to provide her with a space of her own but space is still limited. I normally use a kidney table for my desk so we will see how the round table works!

So whether you have started school, you are starting work week or you are lucky and still have a week of summer, have a WONDERFUL year and keep blogging!


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