Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Our New Classroom!

I've always had a very hodgepodge classroom (when I've had one) up until this year. I really wanted something a bit more cohesive and fun for my kids. I'll admit that Pinterest had a big influence on this desire!

Of course, Big Girl wanted princes or Monster High or something equally girly, but Big Boy wasn't having any of that! He wanted something that was all boy. I told them we needed something both boys and girls would like. Mickey Mouse was our compromise, and I think I may have gone a little crazy with it!

Much of the big aspects of our classroom stayed the same. It's still set up much like a traditional classroom. I tend to do better keeping the kids focused with this set up. 

First up is our alphabet strip. We had a really nice one last year, but it just didn't go with our phonics curriculum. It was hard for Big Boy to remember his key words for sounds and letters with nothing matching up. Also, Big Girl is starting cursive this year, so I wanted something with cursive letters.

Look below the alphabet strip to the left, you'll find our 100 number chart. We had one that came with our curriculum that I've used for a few years now. It is on a 12x12 sheet of paper, and with my poor eyesight, I wanted something bigger.

Below our number chart is our attendance charts and family birthday calendar. Each day when the kids finish up with their workboxes, they take a sticker and place it on the appropriate day of the calendar. This helps me track their attendance and make sure we meet that 180 day requirement for the state.

Below the charts is our bookshelf of this year's school items. I keep my teachers manuals, student portfolios, student dictionary/thesaurus, box of math manipulatives, library books for the week, and a coloring books for Baby Boy. The Celtic cross on top is both a nod to our faith and our heritage!

Moving right, the next thing you see is our whiteboard and math meeting space. Our white board is used for pretty much everything. The rest is math specific. We use Saxon curriculum, and after writing and re-writing everything on a daily basis for a few years, I was tired. I made up all of our stuff and laminated it, so it could be done with a dry erase marker. You'll see spaces for our pattern of the day, number of the day, problem of the day, calendar activities, our Mickey bank for practicing money counting, and (not pictured) a clock for practicing time. There is also a weather component built into the curriculum, but we don't do this because we tend to hold daily weather discussions when choosing our attire for the day. I see no point in duplicating that just because a curriculum tells us to do so.

Just above our math meeting board is our writing space. I found these great graphics of step-by-step Mickey drawings and thought they'd make a great visual for the steps in the writing process!

The kids' desks sit facing the big wall for easy visibility. You can see my teacher chair and workboxes in the background.

Moving further to the right is our workboxes. Each kids have a set of drawers for organizing their daily school work. Each drawer is labeled with a subject and they work through from top to bottom doing our group subjects first. I printed off labels in the kids' favorite colors with letters in the Disney font to match the rest of the room. Their pictures set on top of the appropriate set of drawers.

As we continue around the room to the right and pass the staircase, it's our fruits of the Spirit display. Big Girl studied these last year and colored a fruit for each one. I thought she did such a great job with it that I decided to put it up in our classroom. I am probably going to make a big label for this wall with the Bible reference before the end of the year.

Next is our Tapestry of Grace map of the humanities. It's honestly not something we reference very often, but I like having it up. For a while my ILs were very concerned that we had spent so much time on world history and none on American history. I found that being able to show them this map, they could see exactly where we were going with our history studies. It has really helped to ease their minds about their grandchildren's education.

Our second map is a large world map because really what classroom would be complete without one! MIL is a librarian and had a couple of these sent to her. She graciously passed one along to me for our studies!

Next we come to my desk, but honestly it's still such a mess I didn't take a picture. Not only does it function as my teacher desk but as a household command center and Big Girl's and my sewing table. It also houses our seriously awesome color laser printer! I thought we wouldn't be able to afford one for many years but hated how much ink we were going through with the old inkjet we had. I'm seriously in love with this printer!

Last but certainly not least is our behavior management wall. The rules posted are basically our usual household rules. I felt that having them posted would help give the kids a visual reminder. Each day the kids start out with the Mickey/Minnie markers on "ready to learn" and are able to move up for good behavior to either "great job" or "super student". If they break any of the posted rules they must move down to first "make better choices" then "talk with daddy". Not only does this help them see how they are doing, but my husband doesn't have to ask how the day went. He can see it when he walks in from work.

So far I'm loving our set up. I know it's only been a week, but it really seems to be working out well for us!

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