Welcome to our new website! We are a first grade class in Chester, New Jersey. My former site is no longer being hosted by my server, so I'm beginning again from scratch! Continue to check back for updates. It's going to take quite a while before it resembles its former self, so bear with me! Below you can take a tour of my new classroom for the year 2010-2011. It is almost twice as large as my last room, since it is a former Kindergarten room. Here's what it looks like this summer (2010). It's not completely ready yet, but so far I'm thrilled with the result!
This is a tour of my new classroom as of July, 2010. This is the view from the classroom door. You can see our carpeted meeting area, as well as my calendar easel. The shelves under the windows hold theme books. The red tubs hold "books we've read" and "books we've published." The shelves with colored bins hold manipulatives and toys. My double sided easel (one side a magnetic whiteboard, the other a pocket chart) is on the left of the photo.
The orange chair is where I sit for whole group activities (or on the floor!) The baskets and bins on the shelf behind the calendar easel hold my teaching materials and theme books. Big books are stored in the box next to the chair. The item still wrapped from summer storage is a record player - yes, I still use LPs!
Above my orange chair is my helpers chart, with the children's names on clothespins. The Smartboard will be plugged into the computer, which will go in the empty space where the little blue chair is now. Above the bulletin board are month signs - birthday cakes with individual birthdays will hang below them once school begins. (See photo below)
This is the edge of the whole group meeting area - you can see the end of the carpet on the bottom left. You can see my poetry easel and the coat closet behind it. Children hang their coats and backpacks on the hangers (not hooks!) and store their lunchboxes in the blue bin on the floor. The curtains hide my paper - and I have LOTS of it! Above the curtains are my theme tubs. The blue shelf below the red pocket chart holds theme books - mostly fairy tales. The small wooden shelf next to my coat holds DVDs and videos. The classroom doorway is just visible to the right of the photo. The wall at the edge of the closet holds my dismissal info in magnetic plastic pockets. I've also placed a pair of sunglasses and an umbrella here, so I can grab either as we walk out the door. Across from that wall, just inside the doorway, is a small wooden shelf. It will hold our math program sheets.
Another view. This time you can see the doorway and one of the two bathroom doors. You can also see the front of my magnetic whiteboard easel as well as the blocks box under the Clifford bulletin board.
This is the view from near the Smartboard, looking towards the other end of the room. You can see another book display rack on the floor and beyond that are student desks. A whiteboard and wordwall hang at the other end. You can just see my red horseshoe table that is used for small group work.
Here is the view from in front of the whiteboard, looking at the other end of the room. You can see the student desks that are arranged in tables. The table covered with a red tablecloth is on the left - it is our writing table. The large basket will hold writing folders and the smaller baskets will hold paper choices. The wooden shelf next to it holds math manipulatives in the blue tubs and houses the colorful center trays on top. The back of the floor book display rack has our flannel board on it. It has hoops on top that fit over pins, so I can take it off and attach it to one of my teaching easels in the whole group area. When we're finished working with the flannel board as a class, I'll return it here so the children can use it during free time.
The student desks end just to the left of this photo. In this alcove I have my teacher's desk and the art table in front of it. You can see the sink and a wooden shelf that will hold individual book bags for reading workshop. The magnetic trays on the checkered wall display science books.
Here is the view of the alcove from the student desk area. The wooden shelves hold markers, crayons, stamps and stencils, with paper and envelopes on top. The colored bins hold other art supplies, such as glitter, dot paint, watercolors, sharpie markers and more.
This is the other wall of the classroom. The white board is edged by two green bulletin boards. The one on the left is for science displays, with science books and materials on the wooden shelf below it. The green board on the right is only partially visible - it displays my "Reading With Beanie Babies" board. The blue pocket chart will hold spelling words, and the apple chart underneath will display literacy center assignments. The word wall already has our "red" (sight) words from our spelling program and together we'll add a new word each day. The white shelves below the whiteboard hold baskets with browsing books that we'll use during reading workshop. My red small group table is partially visible under the word wall.
Here is our small group area. There is a white plastic shelf that holds my teaching supplies. Barely visible next to it is our shelf of leveled guided readers, directly under the green bulletin board. The shelves on and below the windowsill hold more guided reading books as well as more theme books.
Another view of our small group area. The overturned blue baskets will hold our morning snacks. Window shades are pulled down for the summer to minimize dust and fading, but during the school day I have them up so our room is full of light. This bulletin board is divided into 4 sections and a picture of a storybook dog is in each corner - Biscuit, McDuff, Clifford and Harry the Dirty Dog. As we read about these characters, children will write words on bones that describe each dog and I'll display them in the appropriate section of the board.
The name tags on the desks will be affixed with book tape once my class list is finalized. You can see even more blue bins and tubs - all of which hold theme and seasonal books. I display only the books we'll be using for the next month, but storing them this way puts them right at my fingertips. The books that we'll be using for the current month are displayed in three book racks - two near the carpet area on the floor and one on the windowsill in the same area. In addition, science books for the unit are displayed in magnetic racks near my teacher's desk. I'll also put out baskets of books on seasonal topics such as "back to school" or "apples" and place them on a windowsill near the whole group area. We are always SURROUNDED by books and my co-workers refer to me as the Book Queen - it has a nice ring to it!
One more view of the art table and my teacher's desk. Behind my desk are cabinets and drawers to house my teaching supplies. I've already changed the posters that cover the doors that match the colors in the pink and green bulletin boards a bit better! Above them you can see two more tubs as well as two family photos and my gingerbread mascot! In the right corner you can see a wooden door to my walk in closet. This room may be old, but it's large and has fantastic storage - and I'm making the most of it! This summer I read Debbie Diller's "Spaces and Places" and it gave me a new outlook on arranging my classroom. I followed her advice about organizing and displaying books, items on the wall, etc. as well as allowing for as little clutter as possible. I've always been organized, so this book spoke to me!! I highly recommend it to anyone interested in making the most of the space in their classroom.
Title graphics from www.graphicgarden.com
Title graphics from www.graphicgarden.com
The three photos above show bulletin boards that are only partially decorated. Since I've taught first grade for 11 years, I have a good idea about what I'd like to teach and display in September - although I'm always adding something, it seems! I usually leave the background paper and borders up year-round and simply change the student work that is displayed there. In the top photo, I have some Clifford decorations which will frame bones that the students will write a "book review" on - it will be their first homework. Additionally, this board may also display little Clifford faces that the students make from two red hearts. In the next photo, there is a picture of author Alyssa Satin Capucilli, author of the "Biscuit" stories. The children will make a Biscuit and write describing words on a bone below it, and they'll be displayed there. In the bottom photo, you can see a yellow board with a Clifford poster in the center and a sign that reads "Clifford SPOTS us reading." Here I'll display colored circles on which the students have glued words that they can read, cut from magazines (this is a new bulletin board idea for me).
Now that it's August, I've added birthday cakes under each month's sign with individual birth dates on them.
I found the letters that spell FIRST at Michael's...I like the green and pink that coordinate with the bulletin board background paper! The Venn diagram pocket chart will hold index cards with words on them that the children will sort into the following categories: big, red, big and red. They'll add an illustration to the card they receive and add it to the appropriate place on the Venn.