Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Exploration - A Classroom Tour

This year, I really struggled to find a theme for my classroom and landed on "maps and exploration" since that is what we will be this year, explorers of learning!

So here is a quick little 2013 classroom tour: 
*Please excuse the blurry pictures, I only had my cell phone ...

We do group supplies in preparation for middle school
I found this chart hanger in the dumpster! SCORE! 
So, I found this awesome looking map in the back of one of my cupboards... 
and it definitely has the USSR on it ;) 
^^ Two fabulous pinterest finds 
^^ another amazing dumpster find! Old school whiteboards - 
love how retro they look (gotta love school dumpsters!)
Greek and Latin Root Word Wall - using the program The Reading Olympians
This year I had 4 more kids in my room than my alloted desks that I am given from the district. Therefore, I was scrounging from EVERYWHERE - the teacher lounge, closets, and the boiler room to find enough desks and chairs! It looks a bit ghetto, but at least my kiddos have a place to sit ;) 

Other classroom themes I've done: 

Do any of you like doing themes? What are your themes this year? 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Summer Shenanigans and the FIRST week

Another busy, jam packed summer behind us. I know I have to be the WORST blogger ever. But honestly, we are NEVER home in the summer, and when we were this year, we were doing home renovations, and posting about it in my personal blog, Ink & Delight, kept me super busy.
2013 Summer Recap: 
New Home
Renovations of the kitchen, hallway, and bathroom {See Posts}
Four Weddings
Marathoning "Once Upon a Time" with little sis
Family Visits
Vacation to Mackinac Island {See Post}
Grand Hotel: Working out in the morning with the family - we are hardcore like that ;) 
It's been a busy summer!
 However, my school blog AWOL does not mean I have not been performing my share of school related shenanigans. I have now finished my second week of school. We really haven't done too much content learning as of yet, mostly just procedures and practicing working in groups. This group is struggling a bit with this and with our kindness toward each other so we have put a MAJOR focus on this! Starting tomorrow, we are hitting content HARD!
First Week REcap:
 Team Building Activity:

  • 20 pieces of dry spaghetti noodles
  • a yard of masking tape 
  • a yard of string 
  • a marshmallow
Object: Build the tallest structure that holds the marshmallow at the top. This is a good activity to talk about failure and how (most of them fail) failure is often the road to success, not the end of the road. I ask them if they think after failing if they could build a better structure that wouldn't fail and they all think they could.  like to use the acronym F(first) A(attempt) I(in) L(learning) to show them that failing is okay in this room and that it helps us grow! 

 Team Building Activity: Save Fred!

  • One gummy worm, one lifesaver, 6 paper clips, plastic cup
Object: Fred's boat has capsized and he is on top but his life preserver is inside, help save Fred without touching Fred, the lifesaver, or the boat with your hands. You can only use your paper clips. 
First: I have them try this activity without talking
Second: I allow them to talk their strategy through and then perform the task talking 
Third: I encourage those groups who get done early to encourage groups that aren't done verbally (they are not to actually help them) so that we are all working as a team (that is what you are seeing in the last photo) 

Genre Umbrellas - Fiction vs. Nonfiction Lesson
Genre Book Sort - use old scholastic book orders to cut apart books to glue under the appropriate genre heading. Great lesson idea from Lessons With Laughter
Took out all of our books from the classroom library - went through and made lists in our Thoughtful Logs about which ones we want to read throughout the year. Then we sorted them into categories and genres and put them back in newly labeled bins. 
Began the first unit in our new Greek and Latin Root Word program - The Olympians. AWESOME! The kids are really liking this program! We begin each section with a brief story of the god or goddess that is highlighted and then work during our word work time on the roots. The first set was NIKE and you can see the words up on our word wall. Each day that we learn a new root we will add words that use the root under the root on our wall. 

So that is a little bit about our first week of school! Hope everyone is enjoying the beginning of their school years!
I would LOVE to hear some activities that you like to do on the first week - particularly what do you do for team building??? 
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