I Teach…What’s Your Superpower?

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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!

A little sneak peak for an upcoming blog post!  This is my beautiful sister Heather on her wedding day!  Congrats Heather and Paul!

This is my beautiful sister Heather and I on her wedding day! Congrats Heather and Paul!  It was such a happy day!

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.

Here is a picture of my Cricut and the first card that I made with it!  The possibilities are endless with this machine.

Here is a picture of my Cricut and the first card that I made with it! The possibilities are endless with this machine.

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 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 is my new job chart.  It is set up so that the clips move down and around the chart each week so that they have a new job almost every week.

This is my new job chart. It is set up so that the clips move down and around the chart each week so that they have a new job almost every week.

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

I did have some organization as my tubs are labeled with the different genres, however this did not work very well.  The kids would just toss books back into whatever bins they wanted because they did not know where they were supposed to go.

I did have some organization as my tubs are labeled with the different genres, however this did not work very well. The kids would just toss books back into whatever bins they wanted because they did not know where they were supposed to go.

My New & Improved Classroom Library

Notice the tubs have labels with genres on them.  Each genre is a different colored label which matches the colored dot in the corner of the book so the kids know what tub each book goes in!

Notice the tubs have labels with genres on them. Each genre is a different colored label which matches the colored dot in the corner of the book so the kids know what tub each book goes in!

Here are the dot stickers that I used for my books from amazon.com.  I purchased 7 of them and only opened a couple but I will have plenty for new books that I add over the years!

Here are the dot stickers that I used for my books from amazon.com. I purchased 7 of them and only opened a couple but I will have plenty for new books that I add over the years!

This was before I labeled the bins, but notice the lime green dot in the righthand corner of the book?  That tells the kids that it is a chapter book.

This was before I labeled the bins, but notice the lime green dot in the righthand corner of the book? That tells the kids that it is a chapter book.

I used ModPodge to stick the labels I created with my Cricut to each bin.

I used ModPodge to stick the labels I created with my Cricut to each bin.

After sticking the label to the bin, I always do a healthy coat of ModPodge to seal it in.

After sticking the label to the bin, I always do a healthy coat of ModPodge to seal it in.

I found the best tubs for my chapter books at the Dollar Tree!

I found the best tubs for my chapter books at the Dollar Tree!

Here is a good picture of my library corner.  I moved some stuff around and added a tree because I thought that was super necessary!  I love having a fun place in my classroom for my kiddos to go relax and read!  In the jungle nonetheless!

Here is a good picture of my library corner. I moved some stuff around and added a tree because I thought that was super necessary! I love having a fun place in my classroom for my kiddos to go relax and read! In the jungle nonetheless!

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.

Here is a free pdf of my Library Codes Color and Bookmarks.  After we colored the bookmarks, I had them laminated and put ribbon at the top so they would last a long time!

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

Here are my bulletin boards last year.  I purchase letters from the teacher store as well that matched my boarders.  It was cute, but I wanted something more fun!

Here are my bulletin boards last year. I purchase letters from the teacher store as well that matched my boarders. It was cute, but I wanted something more fun!

My New & Improved Bulletin Boards

Notice the cute pennants that I cut out using my Cricut?  That thing pays for itself when I don't have to purchase punch out letters to go with it!

Notice the cute pennants that I cut out using my Cricut? That thing pays for itself when I don’t have to purchase punch out letters to go with it!

Panorama view...

Panoramic view…

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.

I recovered a chair for my reading table to match my crates!

I recovered a chair for my reading table to match my crates!

So fun and cute!

So fun and cute!

My neighbor had this chair sitting outside, so I text her and asked her if she was throwing it out.  I wanted to cover it for my classroom if she was. She told me it was mine!

My neighbor had this chair sitting outside, so I text her and asked her if she was throwing it out. I wanted to cover it for my classroom if she was. She told me it was mine!

Love it!

I love how this chair turned out.  I think it cleaned up well!  It doesn’t even look like the same chair!  Looks great with the matching curtains that my Grandma Bloesser whipped up for me my first year.

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

Each kiddo has their own candle that went on the birthday month cupcake.

Each kiddo had their own candle that went on the birthday month cupcake.

My New & Improved Birthday Wall

This birthday wall is so much more fun!  Notice I used some of the monkeys that I already had and used my Cricut to cut out the party hats and balloons for each month.  I wrote all the class birthdays on their birthday month balloon.  Does that palm tree look familiar?  That used to be my job chart tree.  I love repurposing!!

This birthday wall is so much more fun! Notice I used some of the monkeys that I already had and used my Cricut to cut out the party hats and balloons for each month. I wrote all the class birthdays on their birthday month balloon. Does that palm tree look familiar? That used to be my job chart tree. I love repurposing!!  This is one of the favorite makeovers by far!

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

Notice the pocket chart on the bulletin in the back of the room?  That is where I put vocabulary and spelling words for the week.

Notice the pocket chart on the bulletin in the back of the room? That is where I put vocabulary and spelling words for the week.

Wild About Words is my new area to put vocabulary and spelling words.  This freed up another space for more bulletin boards in my room!

Wild About Words is my new area to put vocabulary and spelling words. This freed up another space for more bulletin boards in my room!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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