Let me first say a HUGE thank you to Heather from Creative Teaching Press. She is the reason I got to get a huge box from CTP and tell you all what I thought. When I was deciding what I would like, I really didn't need anything to decorate my room. It's okay and to my liking for the most part. I wanted more for my kids and things to help us manage our current situations in the room and things that they were lacking. I only asked for a few different things, but she sent SOOOOO much more than what I asked for. Here's what I got.
First. I'll start off with the border. I took down the border on my birthday wall and changed it to the purple chevron. LOVE! Also, I pulled down the back of my front door and started with that. I had our jobs and hall of fame clothespins located here. It was so rough and ragged. I decided to put up new paper and the BEAUTIFUL chevron border. How lovely. I also had an idea for the door that I haven't actually thought all the way out. Just today, my kids decided that we needed to change the name on the door - so I didn't include a pic of the entire door since it will be changing at the top. Also, we decided to add a spot for our Rainbow Words.
This door will hopefully keep them in the learning mood. Their pictures will go (and are up) here when they have mastered a certain skill. For example, we have really gotten good at skip counting. 10's and 5's are all down. The 2's are the tricky ones. There picture will be added if they can do 10's, 5's, and 2's. I am thinking that this will motivate them to continue practicing outside of the time that we practice together to get their picture up on the door. I heard some of my girls counting a puzzle by 5's today and it made me smile. The little things like that count so much.
NEXT up is chevron nametags. Initially, I was going to use the name tags for their names, DUH. Then, I started thinking and wondering how else I could use these. I decided to put one tag down on each table. I laminated it first and then hot glued it to the middle. Every morning, I get a dry eraser marker and write one of our snappy words (sight words) on it. I call their table by their word. This has worked WONDERS in the past couple of weeks. The words that some are struggling on will be the word for a day or two or three until I feel satisfied with how well it is recognized. If I forget to change their words, I am reminded as well. There are so many other things that these tags could be used for instead of for their names. It can be used as labels on almost anything.
I also got this chart and these pockets. I didn't do anything fancy with them. I am using the chart as my homework checker. My kiddos turn in homework on Fridays and I just let one of my kids put a check in the box next to that person's name. I replaced some polka dot pockets that I had hanging with these for my math workshops. My students put their name sticks in the pockets so that I can quickly look to see who should be where.
MY FAVORITE. BOOKS. Book Buddy Bags. I. AM. SO. EXCITED. STILL. My kids LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE these little bags and books. When we all come in the room in the morning, they unpack and get started on their morning work which is in a binder in their desk. I do attendance, take snack money, and all the other little things. Some of my kids get finished really quickly. These bags have SAVED them. We already have book bins for our Daily 5 reading, but I just didn't think they were getting enough time to simply read. Both sizes of the bags fit perfectly into their seat sacks. When they are finished with work, they reach around and pull them out. I love that it is kid friendly to open and no one has to come to me to open them. We are 3 weeks in with the bags and they all still look brand spanking new. These were one of those products that I always wanted, but I was too afraid to get them. I wish I would have gotten these long ago. They're fab.
The books are a totally different conversation. My kids fell in love. The books are hilarious and keep my kids entertained. I've used the books as motivation to sit with me one on one. I really don't conference with my kids individually, but have started with these books. I let them "be the teacher" and come over to me and try to convince me to read one of the books. They have to tell me all their favorite book that is in the bag. Each child has three or four books to choose from. I let them keep them for 3 to 5 days and then we switch. This is long enough for them to read the book more than once. They impress me with how much they tell me about these books.
I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to use these punch cards. I love them. We have punch cards already and I'm trying to wiggle out of those and into these without too much fuss.
I definitely want to invest in more books. I am already addicted to books, but the fact that my kiddies love them as well makes the investment much more meaningful. Once again, thanks to CTP for all of their wonderful creations. Head over there and FIND something to spruce up your classroom.