Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Getting Spacey!

As I mentioned in my last post, going with a classroom theme is kind of a rule-breaker for me... but I'm having too much fun! I put on my alien headband that I made and got to work.
See? I told you space was kind of my thing... It's all over my house!
My first projects, if you didn't catch them, were my Voice Levels chart and name plates:
Click to download!
Click to download!
Then I added my new Scrappin Doodles clipart to my classroom rules, too. 
Click to download!
Now for some new ideas. I found an excellent post about Super Improver Walls here, and it finally clicked! The different names and colors for each level overwhelmed me at first, but not when they're spacey!
Click to download! 
Each student starts off on the first level and must earn 10 points to move to the next level. I will use foil stars to keep track of the points on colored card stock stars, like Mrs. Shipley advised in her video tutorial. Students earn points by showing improvement in behavior AND academics. Their improvement goals will become very differentiated and meaningful as they redefine what "growth" means for them. Genius!

When the student collects 10 stickers on their colored star they get to take it home and travel to the next planet, or level. I'm so tickled that my levels, including the sun and our moon, makes for an even 10!

The neatest part about the Super Improver Wall (gotta get on board with the acronyms... The SIW) is the photo op at certain levels, denoted on my version with a picture of a satellite.
On this level I take a picture of the student with some friends and put it under their star. The picture is posted FACE DOWN. The student must advance off of Earth in order to take the picture home.

I think my SIW will be a tremendous metaphor for my kiddos as they track their personal growth. Mrs. Amanda even suggested that if you run out of levels, add more! There are so many possibilities... comets, far-away planets, galaxies, nebulae...

The Orion Nebula has always been my favorite to look at.

My last new idea has to do with my tables. I have trapezoid tables this year, and I'll probably put them together so I have groups of 6 students at a "table".

I want to have an icon at each spot to use when giving directions, getting supplies, and dismissing from tables, even. If I need someone to get paper for their table I could call out an icon and away they go.

I would run the icons off on colored paper (they'll be colored inside, of course, not white). I really hope this system works because I want to give students many opportunities to be helpful and "in charge" of something instead of relying on one or two kids a week as a classroom job. 

I also ran to the toy store yesterday and got a space puzzle for my 100 Days of School project:

And last, but not least, is a new friend. I've been keeping him in the back of my head for a month now and today I finally got him. 

Meet NomNom. :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Breaking Rules!

I took all summer to get crafty... and that's far too late! I'm back in a *new* classroom this week and with the new space I'm breaking some old rules in this Monday Made It.

I scored big at some garage sales two Saturdays ago and found a rocking chair for $10, among other things.

I never thought I would be a rocking-chair-gal! I always thought they took up too much room and made me look like I was on a throne. When I saw this one, however, I thought I would shed this rule, even though I'm in a tiny portable. Besides, the kiddos will think it is SO cool to sit in it for sharing or whatnot, right? 

I think it's cool with a new purple paint job and... wait for it... GLITTER!!! Which is another rule-breaker... never was into the stuff until now. I know, I know... I'm weird.

Sealed on with spray gloss, of course! There will be no glitter on my booty, I hope!

My next craft breaks yet another rule... classroom themes. I cheered out loud during a training when Debbie Diller advised to stay away from cluttered themes in favor of choosing one or two colors for classroom decor. I've always thought themes were silly and prided myself on the matchy-matchy color scheme I used instead.

Well, my new campus is adopting a school-wide theme of "Reading Takes You Places." There's tons of options for hallway bulletin boards and fun pet-names for things relating to this theme. I already knew I was going to recreate this board from my very first year...
Maybe I'll say something like, "Ms. Bueno's Class is going places!" instead
And I got to thinking... I LOVE space! It's always been a motif in my life so why not *finally* in my classroom? So I ran out... clicked over?... and got some clipart from Scrappin' Doodles and started on plugging my new theme in...

My Voice Levels Chart:
Click to download!
Student name plates:
Click to download!

And more to come!

I also have been mulling over what I would use this year as a visual for the kiddos when I am busy with a small group or testing. I'm learning that themes can make some decisions easier!

Alien headband! 
I can't help putting it on throughout the day and looking at myself in the mirror. I can already hear the kiddos saying, "my teacher is an ALIEN!!!"

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thrifty Thursday!

I couldn't celebrate all things thrifty without checking out a garage sale! So last Saturday I ran around to ONLY 3... I must have passed 5 more though to get there! Saturdays are crazy!

Check out my hoard for... get this... $30!!!

So tickled that I'll finally be a teacher with a rocking chair! I thought I would never get one... but after seeing this $10 bargain I'm inspired to give it some TLC and a place in my classroom.

I saw a garage sale ad on Craigslist with these little guys
(that I HAD to have for "5 Green and Speckled Frogs")  and found...
...a HUGE collection of books. Here's my favorite steals!
These things are so much fun! If there's not enough for a center
maybe they can be used as an early-finisher activity.
I think the lady to sold me these was sad to see them go... but they'll be loved, for sure! 

Can't wait to go again this weekend!

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