Classroom Tour

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I am joining the party a little late, but here is the tour of my new classroom!  I am actually team teaching kindergarten this year with my dear friend, Holly.  You may remember her-she used to blog here at The Lemonade Stand when this little blog first got started.   We have two classrooms connected by a small hallway.  My room is used for centers, math meeting, small groups, and for math whole group for my team.  I will blog more later about how that whole process works, but for today, here is a tour of my classroom.  I will post pics of the other classroom next week.

We went with Schoolgirl Style's Happy Rainbow collection to accent our kindergarten suite.  We were also inspired by Kindercraze's amazing classroom, so we combined the two themes.   They were both great because the color combinations matched perfectly with everything we already had.  All of our borders are Creative Teaching Press.

This is my classroom door.  I kept it simple so that I am not constantly changing it throughout the year.  The wreath is from TJ Maxx and the banner is from the Schoolgirl Style Happy Rainbow Collection.  The chalkboard above is from Hobby Lobby.

This is the view when you walk into the door.  

To the left of the door are the student cubbies.  Holly purchased these great black bins from Really Good Stuff.  They look so good!  All of the labels you see in my classroom are from the Happy Rainbow collection.  I love that they are editable so I was able to make everything I needed for my classroom.

I used her table signs to make this transportation sign by my door.  Student names are on the clothespins.

These are the cutest color signs!  I got them from A Perfect Blend.

As soon as you walk into the room, you go through the writing center area.  This is my classroom closet that I hung the pocket chart from.  There are clips on the chevron fabric for weekly tasks and anchor charts.  The buckets will hold different activities for the students to choose from.  The easel is from Ikea.

This shelf is on the other side of the writing center.  Holly painted it with chalkboard paint.  The kids love it!  They write their high frequency words and their names here for now.

This is my favorite part of the room.  The colors make me happy!  The chevron rug is from Rugs USA.  They have great prices on their rugs!

The rainbow banner is in the Happy Rainbow collection.   The calendar pieces on the whiteboard are from The First Grade Parade.  

Schoolgirl Style had this great banner on her blog, so I created my own.  It's one of my favorite pieces in the room. Her collection included fun digital papers so I used them to make these number posters.  I kept it low for students to be able to touch the posters.

The chair was originally white and I spray painted it.  The pink pillow was on clearance at Target last year.  I knew I needed that pillow!  

I laminated this scallop border and hot glued it to the SMART Board.  Don't worry!  It pops right off!   If you notice, I tried to do the scallop ombre border in a rainbow theme around the room.  It's the most beautiful border!  I ordered it early, because I knew it would sell out.  The Whole Brain posters are from Mrs. Jones' Creation Station.

I found this basket at Bargain Hunt for cheap.  It's so modern and fun!  Plus, it's the perfect size for anchor charts!

This is my desk area that I never visit.  I got the tassels on Jane and strung them on black ribbon.  They help hide those ugly metal desks.  

I suggest wrapping tables with fabric.  It's the perfect storage solution!

Kindercraze had this great sign over her desk and I knew we had to have them for our desks.  It was actually not too hard to make.

This is my guided reading area.  I have left plenty of space for the anchor charts we create.  The storage containers will hold all of my guided reading materials.  I haven't labeled them yet because I haven't quite figured out how I want it all organized for kindergarten.  I have hot glued everything to the walls because it's the only thing that will hold anything up.

That's a wooden table that we spray painted black.  The finish was just not real smooth, so we rolled it with chalkboard paint.  It looks great now!  Not sure how it will hold up, but I am hopeful that I can just continue to touch it up with paint.  The metal chairs were a find from Holly that we spray painted black. 

This is a mini-word wall for our high frequency words for my reading groups to refer to when we meet.  I will just clip the words as we go with a clothespin.

We had the curtains specially made by a former student's grandmother.  She's very talented and we always love her work.  The floor to ceiling length really elongates the room.

This is the view of the back of the room.  That's where you can find the classroom library and the technology center.

It's not the most organized library ever but it's working for now.  We just ran out of time and it's been okay.  We have students pull out one book bin and they can read from that bin during their center time. The posters are from A Year of Many Firsts.

These fun chalkboard pillows are from Ikea.  

This is our technology center, which is their favorite!

We have fabric all around our computer table.  That's where we hide all of our Saxon Phonics boxes.  

The cushions are from Amazon.  I ran out of time and didn't get the crate seats made, so I just flipped the crates over and got these cushions to put on top.  They are working out just fine!

This table was from Ikea.  It's perfect for them to sit their iPads on.

The trees were Kindercraze inspired.

This line that we use to hang student work is from Ikea, too.  I highly suggest buying these.  They are super durable!  You could even hang books from them.  They're that strong!

We painted everything black!  Including all of our shelves.  I love how it makes to bright colors pop!

The number posters are The First Grade Parade and the motivational posters are from Jamie Huerta.

In each of the monthly bags, we have a little gift for kids whose birthdays are that month.  

And these are our table caddies from Michaels.

And finally is our hallway display between the two rooms.  

We hung ribbon from binder clips to hang student work easily in the hallways.  


The silhouettes are from Schoolgirl Style.  I hope to do more in our classrooms, because they are beautiful!!!

Thank you so much for stopping by my classroom!  It wasn't completely finished, but it's working for us just fine.  I have a few more details to add at some point, but you know how crazy it is to change classrooms.  I can't wait to share the other classroom with you!  I also can't wait to tour everyone else's room today!  Head on over to Blog Hoppin' to check them out!

Text Detectives Book Club

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I hope everyone is having a great start to their school year!  I always seem to forget how exhausting it is!  #backtoschooltired I wanted to drop in to share one of my favorite activities we did in second grade for reading.  Hang with me first and third grade teachers!  This can be adapted for your classroom, too! I wanted to get my students excited about citing evidence from the text, since that is the big push these days in reading.  I am constantly looking for ways to get my littles engaged in their learning and using the detective theme throughout the year helped me accomplish just that!  I like to start the second week of school by introducing my Text Detectives Only! Book Club.  We start out by reading Secret Agent Splat, since we read Back to School Splat the week before, so they are familiar with that cute little cat.  Then, we make an anchor chart together as a class.  Each student writes one thing they think a detective does on a post-it note and I add it to the anchor chart.

reading anchor chart
graphic inspired by Graphics from the Pond

I then tell the students that I received a letter in our classroom mailbox that was addressed to our class.  It's an invitation to the Text Detectives Only Book Club.  I read the letter to them and give them the applications that were enclosed with the letter. They each fill out an application to the book club.  This gives them such ownership to the future activities we will be completing related to the book club.

Detectives need tools, so I ordered some fun magnifying glasses from Amazon Prime.  They were just the right size and a lot come in the pack!  Look at the fun colors!  You can find them by clicking on the pic below. 

I also ordered these cool invisible pens that include a black light for them to highlight text evidence in passages or just to right secret messages related to their case.  They're so fun!  The link to the pens are in the pics below.


Isn't Prime great?  I probably should be banned from it!  I got these name badge holders, too, from there.  I use them for everything.  When we are text detectives, I place these little detective name badges in them for students to wear.

These are some other fun detective themed books you can find on Amazon.  I like to choose one a day to read aloud and we complete one of the graphic organizers from the pack to get students used to recording on the graphic organizers.  It also gives them more background knowledge on the job of a detective.

I have made a "Case File" for each Literature and Informational Text Common Core Standard.  I attach the case cover to a large manilla envelope.  I then laminate it for durability.  If you plan on doing this whole group, you will only need one case for each standard.  If you plan on using this for small groups, you will want to make enough for each group.


In each case file, I put graphic organizers for each student related to that standard.  I always keep one in there throughout the year, so I can just pull that case and copy that organizer.  It helps me stay organized.  

I may put a book in that case file we are using for our read aloud.  I mostly do this at the beginning of introducing a comprehension standard, because I feel it's important to model it together.  Once they get comfortable with a standard, I will give each group a different case with different books or passages and rotate them during the unit.

I also like to switch it up and include passages rather than actual books.  They can use the invisible pens to highlight the text or a highlighter.  

I believe it's important to use the same graphic organizers throughout the year for each standard.  They become automatic with students and they will start visualizing them while reading and even in their writing.  

At the end of the week or unit, we celebrate solving our cases by meeting in books clubs.  I assign groups and each group will discuss their core read aloud from the week or whatever book or passage you wish.  I like to use cold reads sometimes just for a quick assessment to see if they really got the skill.  You might want them to discuss their reading story before a comprehension test.  Each group member will fill out a mini graphic organizer over the story or passage and then paste it to a small brown paper bag.  You can then fill the bag with popcorn or another easy snack.  

Each group is assigned a leader who gets the book club discussion going.  They discuss their graphic organizers, as well as go through the book club discussion cards.  I usually laminate and add them to a binder ring.  

It's been a great resource for getting students in the habit of citing text that supports their answers.  And it makes it not seem like so much of a chore to them.  I would have students begging me for their next case!  I also loved that the discussions during book clubs really helped build their speaking and listening skills.  The discussion cards really helped keep them focused.

Since the second grade resources were so popular, I decided to create Text Detectives Only Book Club packs for first and third grade, too.  Each pack includes all of the same detective resources and graphic organizers and case files to match your standards.


It's Sunday afternoon and time to take a nap!  Have a great rest of your weekend!