Saturday, March 29, 2014

Horseshoe Tables

I finally received my horseshoe table! After a long year and a half without one, this has proved such a miracle worker. I used to be working with a big, rectangular table. Let me know tell you, instructing students on a rectangular table is incredibly difficult. Attempting to reach a student or see their work who is sitting diagonal to you is nearly impossible. I used to put my highest ability kids in the hard spots, and the lower ones in more accessible spots. It was unfair and led me to have less time with the higher ability kids. But no more!

I find it incredible that a third-grade classroom wouldn't have one. I remember when I first started my job I was genuinely perplexed where the table was... only to learn I wouldn't have one!

My coworker put them together for our team since we were so excited about getting them in use. Guided math, reading, and one-on-one remediation is so much easier with this thing.

I bought cute metal buckets at Target to put in the middle of the table. In them I have everything that I may need for our strategy meetings and guided math. In one I have scissors and glue, another pencils, another dry-erase markers, and finally highlighters. I also leave my detailed lesson plan book with areas for anecdotal notes inside of it at the table as well.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Classroom Library


Classroom Library



OBTAINING CLASSROOM LIBRARY BOOKS
Last year as a first-year teacher, I was desperate to find books! How on Earth would I teach kids who love to read without having a suitable classroom library?

Some places that I found the best books:
  • Libraries (look in the used book section! Also, some libraries will give you a bag for $5 during book sales and you can take as many as can fit in the bag)
  • Garage sales
  • Other teachers
It's funny, I constantly give away books now. I find free ones I like more in my school library or through my Scholastic points. It is strange to imagine that just two years ago I was pining for books like they were crack.



ORGANIZING CLASSROOM LIBRARY BOOKS
I adore the Dollar Tree. I find most dollar stores sad and without a good selection, but the Dollar Tree is surprisingly high-quality for the dollar. They have some great deals in the bin/basket section. In the picture above, I color-coded all these cute bins. And only a dollar a piece! I find that summer in June is the best time for these bins. All the ones in the photo above are from there!

Each bin has a fun label on it that I got off Teachers Pay Teachers. The labels were laminated then hot glued onto each box. Inside each book I put a label that corresponds with the book bin. It makes it easy for kids to put back and gives them less of an excuse to just throw the book anywhere.


KEEPING TRACK OF BOOKS
I want the kids to be accountable for my books. I spent money on these... I don't want them lost or destroyed. My number one rule to my kids is that they cannot bring my library books home! I have two kids without home support and no books at their house, so I make an exception for them.

There are many ways to make your kids accountable. Some teachers do a binder as a record keeping book. There are also some neat apps that can be used with iPhones or iPads.

I bought a whole bunch of library pockets on Amazon. Then I took a piece of poster board and then peel and stuck each of the pocket onto it. The kids' numbers are on each pocket. The link to the ones above are here. I tell the kids to write down the names of the books and the date on an index card then stick them in the pocket. Honestly, I've never once looked at these. But the kids believe I check these daily and make sure all my books are there.

MAKE IT COZY
My classroom library is my favorite spot in the classroom. I picked up a rug at Ikea for $20 (how cute is it?!). It's lasted two years already and still looks great. I have a bunch of colorful cushions from an old apartment that I rotate out with the kids. For example, each day a different set of tables gets them (tables 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 5 and 6).



How do you organize your library? What other tips or ideas do you have?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Welcome!

Hello! My name is Miss KC. I graduated from the College of William and Mary (go Tribe!) with an undergraduate degree in History and Islamic Studies. I stayed an extra year at W&M to receive my Masters in Elementary Curriculum and Instruction.

My hobbies include Ancient Near-East Art (specifically Assyrian), Lilly Pullitzer, Taco Bell, Henry Kissinger, and trashy TV shows.

This blog is an outlet for me to share my ideas, thoughts, and interests concerning teaching and education. I adore my job and hope that my posts will give you ideas for your own classroom.

This is my second year teaching, as well as my second year at my school and grade. I teach a classroom of fantastic third-grade students. I have an awesome school of fabulous teammates, coworkers, students, and parents!