Monday, February 25, 2013

Clutter-Free Classroom Week #5

I am so inspired by the Clutter-Free Classroom blog and challenges!  Probably because de-cluttering and organizing is like a hobby to me.  I have noticed that it's hard to keep up with it during the work week.  I wonder if that's a special problem for Kindergarten teachers because we have so many hands-on activities.  Anyways, I decided to go in on the weekend to have a good amount of time to clean things up in my teacher office area.

Even though it wasn't a huge mess, I cleaned up and simplified my teacher desk.  I decided to only keep teacher references on my desk that I use every day or week.  I also decided to get rid of the box used for collecting stuff that needs to be put away (and just put that stuff away every day instead of letting it pile up).  That box is now used as a place to store materials for substitute teachers so that it will always be on my desk.
I also worked on organized my miscellaneous desk drawer.  What a mess!  I can now actually find things and know where things belong!  It's so nice to open it up during the day and only spend a second getting what I need.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hall Pass Linky Party

Reagan at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits is hosting a Linky Party!  PASS=favorite Product, Area, Signal, and (source of) Sanity.  Here are my thoughts.....

PRODUCT  I haven't made a whole bunch of my own teaching products, but am currently loving the "Writing through the Year" curriculum from Dee Dee Wills and Deanna Jump.  I'm excited to launch the "How To" unit on Monday!


 AREA  My favorite area in my classroom is currently my super tiny listening center, because I feel proud of myself for getting creative with limited space in my classroom, love the idea of hanging the headphones on the magnet clips to keep them from getting tangled around each other and students, and loving storing the cube chairs there when not being used for large group time.  (I also just found this tiny green table at the Re-use center and plan to use it for another center space.)

SIGNAL We have a hallway chant that we sing before heading into the hallway:
     My hands are by my pockets
     I'm standing straight and tall
     I'm looking right ahead of my
     I'm ready for the hall
Recently, we decided to start rapping it instead of singing it, complete with a few hip hop moves, and the class is SOOOOO excited to do it.  It's quite funny (but a bit embarrassing if I have to try to rap in front of a grown-up visitor!)

SANITY  Honestly, I need to get better at actually keeping my sanity so that I can come home and NOT spend my nights recovering from work.....but some of my "tools" include my yoga mat that I roll out during my lunch break, lavender room spray, Bach Flower Rescue Remedy, and Kit's Organic Chocolate, Almond, Coconut Bars (my healthy brownies!)  Also, I LOVE this book and want to spend more time re-reading it for ideas for managing teacher-related stress:

And I also notice that I enjoy my days more (and feel less stressed!) when I can remember to laugh with the kids and notice the humor (which is can be found every day if looking for it!)

100th Day Ideas to Remember

We celebrated our 100th day of Kindergarten last week and had lots of special activities to celebrate the event.  This year I want to keep a list of the ideas that I liked best so that I can remember it the following year!  
*My fabulous teacher friend shared 100s day crowns and a parent donated 100s day stickers!
*During center time in the morning, kids worked on making symmetrical 100s day glasses.  Other center choices included:  making the number 100 with snacks, filling up a 100s chart  by rolling a die and then coloring the matching number of boxes, putting together 100 chart puzzles, putting together mini-books where kids can practice writing 100 in different languages, a 100 coloring page and dot-to-dot page.  
*During Writing time, kids worked on writing a list of 100 THINGS I LIKE.  There were 100 boxes for them to number, draw a picture, and write the words.  Sent it home for kids to keep working on over the break as homework!
*During afternoon centers, kids got to play RACE to 100, where they roll a die to get pennies, then exchange 10 pennies for a dime, then 10 dimes for a (fake) dollar bill that they can keep forever.  
*We had plans to do more large group 100 day activities (different things to do in 100 seconds) but ran out of time.  Maybe next year...