Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sneak Peek at Some Back to School Ideas (lots of pictures and a freebie!)

 As hard as it is to believe, summertime is coming to a close.  My classroom isn't completely done, but below you can get a sneak peek.  Guess what my color theme is? I love the black and white because it goes with everything...and, yes, I know my writing board is potentially hazardous, but our writing and some resources will be added to break up all the zapping dots!  It makes me so happy to have my classroom look inviting (without overload) to the students who enter AND to me. 
 If you've been following me at all this summer, you probably know one of my big undertakings was to organize and manage my RTI data in a much more organized fashion.  For letter i.d. and sight word (Dolch Word) assessments, I have used A Differentiated Kindergarten's Top Banana/Ball Word program.  This itself is a VERY motivating program for students to advance in their learning, BUT my tracking system was less than desirable.  I am so relaxed realizing that I am ready for the year with my new system that will make this whole process easier, more organized, AND save time. Please click here to read more about it (and the Top Banana/Ball Word Program from Differentiated Kindergarten!) in another blog post.  It really is going to make my recording and managing of R.T.I. kids and just assessments overall SO much easier.  Below, you will see these banana candies I found at the dollar soon as students know all of their letters and sounds, I will give them their certificate from the Top Banana kit as well as a small plastic baggy with these cute bananas, letting them know they are a Top Banana (stay tuned for the label I may or may not get to making for it!).
Marsha's Ball Word kits all come with editable, printable certificates as well...but I found these rubber balls at Party City that I will keep in this plastic container as an incentive to keep on going! I am going to let them choose a ball every time they achieve (can read) 3 of the 11 Dolch lists.  I just love bouncy balls (probably as much as the kiddos do!) and know (well, hope!) that the variety will keep them reading and learning all yearlong!

Here are my gifts to either send or give to my students at Open House (I haven't decided yet??!!), but, either way, they are going to LOVE them.  These little creatures I got at the Dollar Tree (4 in a pack, by the way!) grow AND change color in water.....tell me the little darlings won't love these?? I just look at them as an analogy to the students we get and how much they grow and change through the year with us.  I updated this freebie to have this new version of "growing" into a prek/kinder/1st grader and it can be found as a freebie with my Jitter Glitter letters here or by clicking the picture below).  You can also use those sponge capsules that also grow in water and can get almost an entire class worth for just $1 (I think its 18 to a pack!). I splurged this year--ha ha--although the truth is I just can't bare to do the same thing 2 years in a row! FAVORITE new addition to my classroom is my new job chart that I got from Mel D at Seusstastic!  I love all of her ideas and products!  I shrunk her job cards to 2 pages per sheet (always saving ink and space ya know?).  I chose the jobs that suit my classroom (EVERY child will have a job EVERY day!) and will laminate this bad boy and use clothespin clips with student pics to switch around (which will even be a job for someone!).  It is a lot to introduce all of the jobs, but, in the end, it is SO worth it because it helps your classroom run so smooth BY THE CHILDREN.  Talk about building community! 
One of the last things I need to do is prepare my MONKEY Books!  I started doing these organizational notebooks years ago and will NEVER go back to any other home communication system.  The only thing I DO change is what they look like (of course!). Hmmmm......


  1. Great ideas - all of them! But I especially LOVE your teacher pennant. Did you make the letters or buy them? I am all about black and white in my classroom with a splash of red and teal.

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