Friday, August 3, 2012

It Is That Time Again & Pen Pals

Well I went to my classroom for the first time yesterday to start my beginning of the year organization in hopes that I can keep it that way for the entire year.  Yeah right!  Here is a picture of one of my storage closets.  It looks like this after only two years.  Sad I know!

Hopefully I will post the new clean and organized closet soon.  I am planning on trying to go up there today and get a little more done.

I also went to the teacher store with my husband last night to pick up a few things I needed.  I LOVE the smell of that store!  The smell of a new school year;  paper and crayons.  Hmmmmmm!

Here is some of my goodies......
First I bought these wooden stick people for my kids to decorate during the first week of school including their name and roll call number.  I use them to pull names for reading out loud, partners ( I never let them pick their own partners for fear someone will be left out.  I still have bad memories of standing in gym class and being the last one to be picked.  I promised myself I would never let anyone feel like that in my classroom.), groups, helpers, and then the students use them to predict who they are going to marry. It is so funny to watch them do that.  At the end of the year I send them home as a fifth grade souvenir.
The next thing is a calendar & rule chart.  I am trying to change to a theme for my classroom this year which in the past has been a mix of primary colors and whatever border I had on hand.  This year I am thinking of going with the dots on chocolate theme and changing all my bulletin board paper to white (my partner teacher is such a sweetie and let me use her giant roll of white paper).  I am not sure what I am going to do for the border but it needs to be cheap.  Any ideas?

For the last few years I let my fifth graders make up the classroom's rules with me having veto power.  We first brainstorm ideas for rules on the white board.  Then we vote on the top five.  I or a student with neat handwriting writes them on the poster and then I have each student sign the poster. I think the students coming up with their own classroom rules and then signing them gives them ownership and hopefully better behavior.  I explain that they are not little kids anymore and they have more responsibility and are becoming role models for the younger kids.   They really seem to enjoy this "big" kid activity. 

Next, I was so excited when I saw these dry erase makers for my white board.  I was just about jumping up and down right there in the store.  They are bright and cheerful and I cannot wait to use them.  No sharing with the kids on this one!  I will have to hide them from my students or they will not be returned or worst destroyed.  We go through a ton of dry erase markers.  Every year I go over how to use and what not to do to try to have our supply of dry erase makers last longer.    I do have the students buy them on their supply lists and I collect them so I can pass out and collect them.  But to no avail I have to beg, borrow, and steal to get more markers at least twice a year.  Ugh!

I also wanted to thank all the other bloggers that replied to my request for pen pals.  Wow I was impressed with the response.  I think I have come up with a few contacts and cannot wait to get the ball rolling.  The kids are going to be so excited.  This is one of the many reasons why I love blogging! 

I can't wait to show you my finished classroom, new theme or any other teacher finds I find the next few weeks. 

Come back soon for all the updates.



  1. Hi Wendy,

    What a lovely blog you have! Congratulations!

    I teach in an IB school and we come up with what we call an Essential Agreement every year. We brainstorm the main 6 things we want our classroom to look like, sound like etc. (class rules written in a "We will" style) and then sign it - it creates great ownership!

    I am a third grade teacher in Australia who loves Math - check out my blog if you get a chance - I have lots of freebies, including some super cute Daily 5 and CAFE posters made from Scrabble letters!


  2. Your before and after pictures of your cabinet make me happy:) Great work!!
    Fourth Grade Flipper


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