Things have been COMPLETELY nuts around here! I went back to work on August 1st. I have been so busy doing projects for my classroom and the year is just beginning. Plus my sister got married the weekend before school started so I have been super busy! I have a post coming soon with some pictures as well as a project that I worked on for her wedding, so be on the lookout!
We just finished our 3rd week of school! It is almost time for midterms! I cannot believe it! I started the year out with 28 kids and now have 27. This is WAY more than I am used to but I have a pretty good group! It is funny, every year gets easier but I find myself coming home completely exhausted. I think this year is going to be so much fun. I am introducing some new structure to my classroom to hold the kids more accountable.
Since things have been super crazy, I decided to highlight the top 5 makeover projects I worked on for my classroom this year. My room is a jungle theme and I thought I had everything decorated the way I wanted until Alex got me my Cricut for Christmas last year. I found myself redoing a lot of things that I had purchased from the store because I could make it more unique and EXACTLY the way I wanted it.
For those of you who are not aware of what a Cricut is, it is a die cut machine. The machine can cut paper, fabric, vinyl, etc. You buy cartridges for it and that is the shapes you can cut out. I use Cricut Craft Room on my computer to create my masterpieces. If you have a Cricut and only have played around with the machine itself, do yourself a favor and download the Craft Room design software. It allows you to use a virtual mat to create layers and use exact measurements. I will say that sometimes it is a bit finicky, but you can do so much more with it!
Makeover Project #1: Job Chart
My old job chart was called Happy Helpers that I purchased from the teacher store. There are 7 monkeys in the tree that have job titles on them. I was terrible about remembering to switch them out at the end of the week and the kids would always have to remind me. Each kid had a banana with their name on it that I clipped to the job for the week. The next week, I would put those bananas back in the basket and replace it with new ones. I did not really have much of a system to make sure each kid gets a chance to be line leader, door holder, etc. It just depended on who I pulled out of the basket.
My Old Job Chart
My New & Improved Job Chart
This job chart is a big part of my classroom structure. Each student has a clip with their name on it. They move down or over each week so that each student gets a chance to change jobs each week. Due to the high number of students I have this year, there are 2 jobs that more than one student will be one for a few weeks in a row. These are Clean-Up Crew and Vacation Crew. Otherwise, there is a boy and a girl on each job. I have found that not all kids can handle each job, so if I use teacher discretion to switch them around if needed. This year, our school has adapted an economics incentive plan using Cubs Bucks, which works out for this because as long as they do a good job on their duty, they get paid for their job each day. If I notice they are struggling to do their classroom job, they do not get paid. We are trying to teach the kids how to save their money up for certain privileges like eating with the principal or free time in the gym.
If you would like to download a free copy of my job chart, click the following link Classroom Jobs Owls. Please feel free to leave comments if you have additional questions about how this chart works!
Makeover Project #2: Classroom Library
This year, I finally coded and organized my classroom library! With the help of my fellow teammate, Mrs. Heather, we broke down the different genres that we have in our classroom down to 8 categories. This is something that we have been wanting to do, but just had not got around to it. In fact, we both took advantage of getting into our classrooms before we were required to, to make sure this got finished and ready so we would have time to do other things to get our rooms ready. I am so happy with the way they turned out.
My Old Classroom Library
My New & Improved Classroom Library
This system is working out wonderfully in my room! My classroom librarians are the kiddos responsible for making sure all returned books are in the right bins and keeping the library looking nice! I even made a bookmark to that I used to introduce the different categories in the library. The kids had a blast coloring the different genres and learning about our library.
Makeover Project #3: Operation More Color
Last year was the first year I really had my classroom the way I wanted…so I thought. I absolutely love the animal print that is all around my room. In fact, I had the cutest bulletin boarders that look like real animal fur. The problem was, the only thing that went with them as far as a background went was black. I need color in my life! So this year, I decided I wanted more colorful bulletin boards. I found the most amazing bulletin borders at U.S. Toy during their Teacher Appreciation Sale and they were just what I was looking for!
My Old Bulletin Boards
My New & Improved Bulletin Boards
In addition to the bulletin boards, I finally got some chairs recovered for my classroom. To see a tutorial on how to recover an old office chair click here.
Makeover Project #4: Birthday Wall
Can you remember when you were in school, the teacher always had a board or poster with your birthday on it. The last few years I have used a cupcake set that I purchased at the teacher store.
My Old Birthday Wall
My New & Improved Birthday Wall
Makeover #5: Word Wall
I wanted to have more bulletin boards this year, so I decided to move my language arts bulletin to a wall so I could free up a new spot for other bulletins.
My Old Word Wall
I hope you enjoyed checking out my new & improved classroom! I am absolutely in love with the way everything turned out. I have had so many compliments on how exciting of a learning environment that I have created! It is such an inviting space and the kids absolutely love it!