Currently


This is my first time linking up with Farley for Currently!  I'm so excited about it :) Most of my answers are self explanatory, but I'll elaborate on a  few here.

1. I love No Doubt and just recently found a bunch of my old CD's.  Made my day!
2. I needed this three day weekend!
3. My old laptop was 5 years old.  Doesn't seem that old, but it was.  I'm in shock at how much faster my new one is.  And it can handle running Pinterest, PowerPoint, Word, Photoshop and iPhoto all at the same time!
4. Even though it is a three day weekend, I feel like I need a whole week off already!  The first month of school flew by but I am beyond tired!
5. While I sit here blogging away, I really should take out that stack of papers out of my teacher bag and grade.  Maybe tomorrow morning :)
6. I would be beyond thrilled to go on a trip to any of these places.  My husband and I didn't go on a honeymoon so we are hoping to go to one of these places for a belated honeymoon one day.

Now go link up with Farley for this month's Currently!


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Classroom Management Tips and Ideas

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I truly believe that classroom management can make or break a lesson, day, or even year.

Here is a rundown of classroom management tips and ideas I use in my first grade (2nd grade as of last year) classroom.

A couple of years ago I had a rowdy class.  Seriously rowdy and filled with all sorts of behavior problems.  I learned quickly that my usual stuff wasn't going to cut it.  I started looking around for something that would help me.  I then ran into Whole Brain Teaching.  I implemented Class Yes and the 5 rules immediately and saw a difference right away.  

A few weeks after implementing the rules, I changed them to better fit the needs of my class. 

These are my current classroom rules:
1. Listen to the speaker.
I say speaker instead of teacher, because anyone who is speaking to the class deserves the right to be listened to.  Not just the teacher.

2. Raise your hand to leave your seat. 
This rules is necessary for those students that like to roam around or love to get up at random times to  tell you things throughout the day.

3. Always be honest. 
I make a HUGE deal out of this one.  No one likes a liar.  My class knows that if they are honest, things will be ok. People are often surprised at how honest my kids are with me.  Sometimes kids will do something they shouldn't do in class. I simply ask the class who did the inappropriate thing and the student that did it, admits it, and takes responsibility.  I ask them to fix the problem and they do.  I didn't think this was any different than any other class until this year when a couple of teachers were observing my class and they looked very surprised at the fact that my kids just admitted they had done something inappropriate.  No arguing or denials, just honesty.  It's awesome!  I think it's due to the fact that we make a big deal out of being honest with each other and we reinforce that every time we review the rules.

4. Be a caring friend.  
This rule pretty much covers any possible incident with any other child. 

5. Always try your best! 
Also a very general, but very useful, rule that can be referred to at any time.

We do gestures for each one so they kids act out the rules as we say them.  I had my class help me come up with the gestures.  For example for rule #4 Be a caring friend.  My class said that we should hug ourselves.  So we do :)

Another important thing to point out is that we go over the rules any time we enter the room and sporadically throughout the day.  If a child is not following a specific rule, I ask the class what that rule is and we all say it together.  Much better than calling out one kid for not following the rules.  Keeps it positive and serves as a quick reminder of that rule for the whole class.  

This summer I created a chart to help us remember our classroom rules. 
Available HERE.
They are available in two designs and I provided slides that coordinate with the traditional WBT rules as well as slides that coordinate with my rules.  They are editable, so you can change them around and customize the text as much as you would like to make sure they meet your class' needs. 
Available HERE.

One day while I was going over the rules, I was thinking about how nice it would be to have examples somewhere so I could refer to them with my students.  So I created this classroom rules presentation that has my rules on them and more specific information on there that tells us what each rule means or "looks" like. 
Available HERE

The first slide looks like this and the teacher can just enter their name and room number on it. 

Sometimes there's no time to turn the laptop on, projector, connect everything...so when I want to go over everything quickly or on the go, I turn to my little cards.  All I did to create these was print out my slides two-to-a-page and put them on a ring.  So simple, but does the job!

Now that they have learned the rules and we have gone over them a million times (this helps to prevent problems so you don't have behavior issues to begin with.) I then bust out our clip chart.  I LOVE using a clip chart.  I started using one after a saw the success that my teaching partner was having with her class.  Some people aren't fans of the clip chart.  I say it's all in how it's used.  I think if it's used just to point out the bad, it's not going to help anyone.  I try to use it as an incentive to following the rules.  My goal isn't to bust the bad kids and have them clip down (although sometimes that's needed) my goal is to catch those kids that are doing the right thing and have them clip up.

When a student clips down, it's also important to remind them that they can always go back up again. This keeps students from breaking down and giving up on the whole day.  The possibility is very real that they can go back to green and very likely go above green.

LONG ago I used the green, yellow, red card system and did not like that one bit.  The reason being that the kids that behaved just stayed on green the whole day...every day...all year long.  The ones that broke the rules were the ones who got to go up to change their card.  That seems to defeat the purpose of having a behavior chart.  It felt like it was reinforcing negative behavior. Not good.

My behavior chart looks like the one below.  I also created a chevron one.  I am a fan of both polka dots and chevron by the way :)
Available HERE
Now how to communicate how each student did each day with parents?  Well, I used to send home a parent log and the children colored a circle for the color they got to that day.  Unfortunately, these got lost right around Tuesday or Wednesday (even when I gave out prizes for holding on to theirs).  I knew I had to make a change.  The change I made was to create these small notes that get to go home with each child every day.  They are formatted four to a sheet, but can be shrunk down to an even smaller size using your printer settings.  Parents love knowing how their child did at school.  The red ones rarely go home because if someone got to red, I will most likely call home.  But sometimes I can't get a hold of a parent, so I will write a note on the back and ask for a signature.  EASY parent communication! My favorite part is handing out the pink and purple ones.  The students feel so proud!  Again, the goal is to send out positive ones because the children had all day to get back up from yellow, orange, and red, throughout the day.

These are included in both clip chart files :)

I have some more classroom management tips, but I will save that for another post as this one is already pretty long :)  If you are interested in any of the above products, they are available in my store.  Just click on the links below the pictures to view them.


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4

Let's Get Organized!

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I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' today to share some things that keep me organized!

My organizational skills have developed in large part due to pure survival.  I used to be a disorganized mess and I paid the price for it.  I would always be looking around for my books, worksheets, lesson plans, important papers and so forth.  I had enough!  So I started looking around for ideas to get organized.  The first thing I did was make a teacher toolbox.
This was my first toolbox design.  I've now made a few others, but this one stays close to my heart because it's what started my journey to becoming an organized person :)  You can find these labels HERE.

The next thing I made was my to do drawers.  I put my paper work in here that I don't have time to take care of immediately.  This makes my life a lot less stressful.

Then I realized I need someplace to put all my lessons for the day so I wouldn't have to look in different places for everything.  So these were born:
Everything I have planned for each day goes in these.  I also have a sub bin on the bottom drawer so that if there is an emergency, my plans are ready to go.

One of my dearest friends is super organized.  I noticed that she copies way in advance.  I decided to give that a try.  What I ended up with was a bunch of piles of paper all over my room :(  I realized I need something to organize my future copies.  Now my future copies go into my subject drawers until they are ready to go into my weekly bin.  How did I go so long without these??
All these labels can be found HERE

This year I decided to do something drastic.  I got rid of my filing cabinets.  What I found was that they were holding a bunch of extra copies and trash!  When I sat down to really look through everything, I was able to pull out what I needed and recycled the rest.  Now my originals are being stored in binders and monthly bins.

Below you can see a picture of a few of my binders.  I put my go to resources in these and I pull them out when I'm lesson planning. 

Inside I place copies of everything I will need for my favorite resources including samples of crafts.  This makes it much easier to plan everything out.
The spines help me locate the binder immediately so I'm not pulling each one out to see if it's the binder I need.
These binder covers can be found HERE.

One of my other most used resources to help me stay organized is my planner.  I purchased this one from The Colorful Apple.  It's exactly what I needed!
 The cover is from School Girl Style.  I love these chunky black and white stripes.
 Instead of putting lined paper in here, I put blank paper and sectioned it off with some tabs.  All my notes go in here.  That makes it easy to locate notes from any meeting or training.
One the back of it I included my school calendar so I can refer to it at meetings.
 I had my planner bound at Office Max for about $4.

I'm not exactly the most organized person out there, but these resources definitely help me stay on top of things.

So how do you stay organized?  Please share and link up with Blog Hoppin'!

              
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2

Woodland Wonderland!

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I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week to share some pictures of where I teach :)
Some of these pictures were taken a bit before I finished everything up, so some walls are not complete :)  It took me a while to get everything ready, so I hope you enjoy!

This is my front wall.  Even though I have a woodland theme, I allowed myself one brights wall because I love brights so much :)
 This is what you would see from the back of my room all the way to the front.
 This is my left side of my board.
You can see A Cupcake for the Teacher's Reading Posters on the side.  You can find them HERE.

 I am loving my today's date and table points vinyl headings.
This is my compliment jar.  When the students earn all their stars by getting compliments from others for having a nice line, being quiet in the hallways etc...they earn some type of celebration.
 If you look right by my door, you will see this display where my kids' work will be hung up.
    If you've visited my blog before, you may remember last year's display board:

Next to my student work display is an area still under some construction.  I've never been this late putting my calendar up, but time got away from me and this fell through the cracks.  So happy to have my calendar again :)  
You can see that I have push pins holding things up until I can situate where everything will be placed:)  The calendar is a freebie available HERE.  The chevron calendar itself is from Creative Teaching Press

Right next to my white board, you will see my objectives board.  We are required to have our objectives posted and I decided that as long as they have to be displayed, why not have them look cute?  The headers can be found HERE and the Objectives were created by the talented Debbie at Crockett's Classroom.  You can find them HERE.
I love these lights from Party City!
When I want it nice and soothing, I turn my lights off and I let the front lights and my back lamps light the room.  It's very calming (especially right after lunch recess.)
My camera picks up too much light (usually a good thing) and doesn't let the lights show the way they really look in the classroom.  My iPhone actually did a better job capturing the colors below.
The alphabet line you see above is from the super talented Ladybug's Teaching Files.  I had the most difficult time picking out a set because all her alphabets are so amazing.  This one won me over and I don't regret it one bit.  I LOVE it and so does everyone else that visits my room :)

This is my side wall.  I have my word wall up along my cabinets.  I've never had this much storage in my life!  It's amazing!
Zooming into my counter you will see my woodland themed teacher toolbox for this year.  Next to it, I placed these owl lamps from Walmart.  I'm trying to figure out how to hide those wires...
Located right next to my toolbox is my little command center with my monthly bins, stapler, tape and paper trimmer.  I decided this year that I was going to get rid of my filing cabinets and switch over to monthly drawers and binders.  I'm liking my BTS and EOY drawers!  These labels can be found HERE.
 
On the other side of my toolbox is where I keep my iPod dock, so I can play music during writer's workshop.  I try to only play calm music so they can concentrate on writing.

Next to that area is my pencil sharpener and my pencil container.  This is the best sharpener I've ever used.  It's a little loud but it can sharpen any kind of pencil!  Even big fat ones!!  I've had it for over two years now and use it almost every day.  You can find it HERE
This is my first year using this pencil bin and it has been perfect for my first graders.  The little kidlettes are good visuals for my kids that can't read quite yet. The labels can be found HERE.

At the far side of the wall is my sink.  I made this curtain to hide the pipes under there and it provides a little bit of privacy for some clutter I have under there. A tension rod was used to hold the curtain up.  Next to the sink you can see my subject drawer bins here where I place my copies for each subject.  These bins can be found HERE.
On the opposite side of my room is where my new Smartboard is located!  Along with my classroom rules, writing wall, and another student work display.  I love this carpet!  My teaching partner was kind enough to pass it along to me.  I've had a lot of questions about it.  I'm not sure what store it came from but you can find it on Amazon HERE.

The rules chart I used can be found HERE and Mrs. Cupcake's Writing Wall can be found HERE. The pencil with writing ideas was created by The Teacher Wife and has this as a freebie in her store.  Love it!  You can find it HERE.
This ottoman, turned tree stump, was a serious endeavor this summer.  My mother-in-law was over to help me with it many days over the summer.  I love sitting here and reading stories to my kids!  They love sitting on it to share their writer's workshop stories as well!  I purchased the ottoman from Target on clearance.  The fabric is just fleece purchased from Joann's.
Right next to this area is my desk set up. The whole thing isn't picture ready yet, it's kind of like a hutch and I'm not crazy about it.  It does however have a lot of cubby type storage spaces which can come in handy.  The cubbies look like this:
You can see my Box Tops container from a couple of years ago.  This thing makes me smile, so the design has stayed the same :)  I just noticed the bow fell off though…I'll have to locate that.  I also have some inspirational subway art here.  These kidlettes remind me to stay positive.  You can find those for free HERE.
My mini container is here for some of my go to resources.  I was always scrambling to find nurse passes when I really needed them.  Not good when you have a kid bleeding or throwing up in your classroom.  (Two things that happened on the first day of school this year.) Those labels can be found HERE.

Over on my students' tables I decided to use some supply caddies from Lakeshore.  Next to my caddies are these little trash bins from the Dollar Tree that I decorated to look like mushrooms.  They really help to cut down transition time! They are practical but add something to the room.
Find these woodland labels HERE.

Below is my library at the back of the room.  My teaching partner left me these gorgeous bookshelves!  I think they complete my room with their warm woodsy feel!  On my very first attempt at a theme, I had Alice in Wonderland cut outs in my classroom.  Hence my blog name Learning in Wonderland.  I had to have a touch of Alice somewhere in my room, so she is located here on the side of the library. (My Author of the Month heading is not up yet in this picture.)
Find these woodland library labels HERE.

I finally had some time to put up my heading for this wall :)  It looks much better now.  The heading was created with my Cricut.

If you look on the top shelves you will see two bins that save me so much time!  This first one is my book hospital.  When a child has a book that is ripped or missing a page, they place it here so that I can fix it when I have time.  This way I don't have the students coming up to me trying to get me to fix their book that instant :)  The owl and letters were created with a Cricut.
This next one is my Read Alouds bin.  I place the books I'm going to read during the week in here.  I store most of my books at home and I was losing some very special books in the process of transporting them to and from school.  Having this bin helps me know where my read alouds are until I am ready to pack them up again.  This also saves me time in class so I'm not looking for my current read aloud, they are all here ready for me to read.

On the other side of my library are my Ikea shelves where my buckets (also from Ikea) hold my read alouds for the first couple months and my math manipulatives.  (My manipulatives are not organized in this picture by the way...)
Find these round labels HERE.

Here is a view of my intervention table with my reading tree.  The reading tree is a way that I track my student's reading through progress monitoring.
 Another view of my intervention table.  It's a whiteboard table too! So excited about the possibilities!! I made the little toad stool cushions this summer.  The polka dot carpet is from Ikea.
This is a view of my whole classroom from my front door when you look to the left.  I had some questions about my teal cart.  It is from Ikea, you can find it HERE.  I keep some supplies for the day in there and I roll around wherever I am teaching in my room.  Very handy!  My easel is from Lakeshore.  You can see it HERE
The teachers at my school did a little tour of all the classrooms and one of the teachers said "It's a woodland wonderland!" when she visited my room.  I couldn't have summed it up any better if I had tried :)

Now head over to Blog Hoppin' and take a look at everyone's classrooms!  You are sure to find lots of inspiration through this link up :)
   

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