Saturday, October 18, 2014

I redesigned my room...a little bit

So...I get bored with  my room fairly quickly...and that has already happened in my Rainbow paradise (as my lovely team lead as deemed my room.) So I rearranged some stuff just recently and wanted to share them with you guys! We'll start with my "new addition"...

I was struggling with how to track my kiddos progression with counting. I had a "race to 50" number line above my board and every kid had a paw print with their name on it (our mascot is the panther...this was the best I could do.) but it was above my board and required me to climb on furniture to move paw prints...plus the race theme looked thrown together and crummy. I changed it to a "Leap frog to 50!" number line that I put on one of my cabinets right by the front door. It's a great visual for the kids to see where they are, AND for parents to see where their student is. They can see the progression and know how high to work with their student on counting each week. I'm LOVING THIS!
This is a shot of the whole thing with student frogs

Each student has a frog with their name on it.
Every student has a frog with their name on it. Each week we set a goal for where we want to be. Surprisingly, the kids are really excited about counting to 50, so they picked their first goal for the first trimester (I was a late hire so my kiddos started a month behind everyone else in the district...and I'm STILL getting new kids because I haven't reached my cap.) Our first goal was to 10. Seeing as how I got a lot of kiddos that couldn't count past 3 when they started...I'd say we did a great job meeting the goal by the time report cards came out! They're already thinking and talking to each other about our next goal. (A lot of them want to make it to 100 by the end of the year...we'll see how far we get.) 

Some great ways to have them work on their counting, aside from the obvious math assignments and curriculum, every morning I have them practice speaking in complete sentences "Hello, my name is _______. My favorite color is _____. I have a pet _____/I would like to have a pet _____." They also practice counting with each other. They get to pick their partner and count as high as they can. If their partner knows the next number they can prompt each other, if not they compliment each other and the other person takes a turn. It builds counting AS WELL as classroom community! Like I tell everyone in my class, we are all friends in here and we work together to make sure we all shine!

I also received MOST of my furniture (I'm waiting on my computers-I have loaners right now from our computer lab- my rug, and a teacher printer so I can print stuff in my classroom as well as some developmental play equipment that I have NO IDEA where I'm going to put...but hey...I'll take everything I can get.) so we have NEW student desks with name tags, MY KIDNEY TABLE (just about cried when they brought that beautiful baby in) and big kid roller chairs. That's right ladies and gents, this teacher has a chair that doesn't put my knees up by my ears! Can I get a hallelujah?! HALLELUJAH!

I kept my desk layout but moved a lot of stuff on my walls...
Our new "Parent News" board!
 I've always had a "Parent News" board in my room. It's an easy way to post things and newsletters for parents to see, without cluttering up my counters and keeping a zillion copies of everything in case parents ask for something specific. I noticed about a week ago (when a parent asked me about our Peek at the Week newsletter) that I *gasp* never made one this year...so after school that was the first thing I set about doing. It's small, but it's there and it has our current information of things going on in class/at school. My parents LOVE this. (I never realized how much parents rely on this board for information....or maybe it's just my parents?)
I received bookshelves that I didn't know what to do with...so they went into my library/developmental play organization.
 The day I received my student desks...I also got 2 big black bookshelves that I had NO WHERE to put! I decided to rearrange my tactile wall and library area to include these new bookshelves. I'm not sure I like it yet, because it cuts off my view of the carpet area when I'm doing one-on-one work at my beautiful kidney table...but I'm sure I'll make it work soon enough. 

Student tables and a piece of my lovely kidney table.
 I spy some BEAUTIFUL kidney table and some awesome student tables! My old student tables were on loan from our preschool classrooms and can I just say what a difference these tables have made?! They're wider so I can sit 2 kiddos across from each other without someone getting kicked or not having enough room to do their work. They're also big enough that I *could* put 3 to each side...but why crowd them? Now they have enough room to spread out and keep their little crayon box next to their name tags. No more "Mrs. P...this kid is touching me!"
I love my elmo and projector.
 A LOT of people have asked me why I put my elmo and projector at the back of the class and I have one simple answer...I can watch everyone while doing the guided practice or the example on the board with them! I don't like not being able to see what I'm doing...and with my back to the board I feel like I can't see what the kids see...and it is just awkward to have to turn around to check that they can see exactly what I'm pointing at or where I'm working. This is just so much more simple for me.
Missing a rug...but our learning carpet area is almost complete!
 The kids have access to everything they can use for play time and I have access to everything I need to teach. This setup (albeit a little blocked off from the rest of the class) is amazing and really helps get the kids to understand "This is where we learn."
Our new entrance with our Leap frog to 50 number line.
 Kiddos come in, hang up their backpacks, put their folder in their cubby and then sit down to do breakfast. It makes for morning routine to go VERY smooth. Honestly my kids are so set in our routine already (30 days into the school year) that parents are astounded that the kids say bye and go about their business. No tears, no fussing. My parents have even, playfully, complained that the kids just go on without them...they're growing up too fast.
Technology nook
 This is our technology nook. I put my classroom rules on the divider walls for all the kids to see, and the number posters (from my number posters pack) on the wall too. The next 2-3 weeks will be spent REALLY establishing number recognition 0-5. I've introduced the number, but have had so many new kids start, and some kids leave that I don't feel like we have a solid understanding. So before jumping into number 6-10 I'm going to make sure we're solid on 0-5. I'm responsible for recognition up to 20...so I think spending some time reteaching 0-5 will be good for when we get to higher numbers. 

I don't know if anyone can see it, but we've also got some words on our word wall. The kids can't really read them but they're history vocab that I really try to get them to recognize by sound (I say the word and they tell me what it means) and I will be adding the colors as well. I don't like adding words when the kids are around because I have to stand on the computer counter...and that's a big no-no when kiddos are around, so adding words is a hassle (hence the reason I'm not regular on doing it.)
My front wall with our new BOOK BAGGIES!
Our new front board. It looks so bare now, but I'm sure I'll add stuff to the wall sooner rather than later. For now I've added our book baggies. I use these alot during our UA (universal access) time. The kids usually have a worksheet they work on and then when they finish they have to grab 1 book out of their book baggy before they can do developmental play. They are responsible for coloring the pictures and tracing anything that might need tracing. These books go home for parents and students to practice reading together. I want to put a disclaimer out there...I'm a TK teacher...my kinder team has told me to get them ready for reading...but DON'T have them reading fluently by the end of the year. They don't want bored kindergarteners and if I teach them EVERYTHING (adding, reading, writing) they will be super bored and it will just make life miserable for teachers and students alike. So I am really pushing that the kids HEAR good reading, rather than practicing the reading themselves...at least for now. 

I love my room...and I'm excited to see how it grows, changes, and becomes more like home through out the year. Thank you for joining me on this (long-winded) tour of my room.I hope to see you soon.

And always remember: every moment can be a learning moment!

Sincerely from TK,
Nichole


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