Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Classroom Makeover 3: Making Decisions

First of all, let me say that I spent the first hour at school today wiping down each blade of the blinds in my classroom. They were filthy! Obviously this is not part of the summer maintenance. I considered just letting it go and pretending that I hadn't noticed, but all I could think about was that little first grader that might be sitting in my classroom with dust allergies! Wiping out cubbies and shelves came next. At least things will be clean in the beginning!

Tracy and I have met several times over the last week and have been joined by our wonderful para professional, Lee Cordoza. We have had time to talk about how we want things to go as we've cut and pasted and planned displays.

Word Wall
Tracy and I got a word wall up that is "utterly" delightful! There are also cows up and down the sides that are out of view - remember, the farm theme. Although this takes a major portion of our back wall, we are planning to really use it daily so we want to make sure that there is plenty of room and that the words will be large enough for the students to actually read! We want them to use the word wall every day in Writers' Workshop. The first words to go up the first week of school will be each student's name and then the kindergarten review words after we have reviewed them in Skills Block.
Vocabulary Vine
We introduce new vocabulary words each day, using Text Talk words from the series' read-aloud books. This program is based on the work of Beck and McKeown. We will place the new words each day on our "Vocabulary Vine." These vines are attached to the shelves in the back of our room (the sink is underneath). We want these words to be large enough to be visible during Writers' Workshop. Again we want the children to use this vocabulary word wall every day. Notice the scarecrow, bales of hay and various fruit and vegetables above the shelves!

Leveled Reading Books
We have found all of our leveled books and have them in bins so the children will be able to easily find "just right" books which will also be the books that they take home each night. These books and bins are in the middle of the room. Levels C-I are considered first grade levels but we are prepared for students who may be reading below level, A-B and also a few students who will be reading above level, at second grade levels, J-M.

Large Group Area
We have our large group area designated in the front of the room and materials with borders on all of the board areas, although we haven't yet decided what will go into each area. This is where we will do our Skills Block, and our mini-lessons for Reading, Writing and Math. We know that one of the large bulletin board areas will be designated for Math. I want to make sure that all of the Math folks notice that we start with negative numbers on our number line (at the mid-point on the white board - This has been an on-going debate at our school)! Another area of the bulletin board will house our behavior system. We will also need an area to display the standards we are working on each day. For now, we simply have the boards up!
Genre Library
We have sorted Tracy's many books and have put them in bins in our cubbies. We found that we had many books that could go into our new bins of Farm Fiction and Farm Non-fiction to go with our new theme. This is a great start for our new students!

It seems we have done a lot but it also seems that there is so much left to do: finishing the bulletin board outside the classroom that will welcome students to the new year, buying and having white board cut so that we have a board for each student to use during Skills Block, making a final decision on a behavior management system, buying treats for our Treasure Box that will be part of our behavior system, making a decision on a system for taking anecdotal and guided reading notes during the work session of Reading, finding a CD player and the list seems to go on and on... but... we still have a week before the students will actually arrive!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How did you make your barn labels? I love them!