Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Welcome to Room 511!

 Kids come back to school tomorrow!  Moving school districts has been a challenge and change can definitely be difficult, but change can also be really good for us as it pushes us to learn and grow.  At my new district, there aren't many teacher workdays at the beginning, but I had already set up my room as I moved in, so I didn't have a ton to finish up.  I will say that one thing I LOVE about my new district is that today was a non-contract day, so after a couple of days of meetings and last night's "Meet the Teacher", it was so nice to have the day off, go out to eat with a friend, and just relax before kids come tomorrow!

But before the chaos of school starts, I wanted to share my new room with y'all, so Welcome to Room 511!

At the door, you'll notice the awesome Welcome sign from Sarah Carter and the Math Person sign from Scaffolded Math.  Also on the door are some curtains that my older sister sewed for me out of the remnants of my bulletin board fabric.  I love that my doorway reminds me of my family, my friends, and the MTBoS!

You'll also see the beginning peek of the classroom with Wipebook Flipcharts on the wall.  That was an adventure and I'm super grateful for a friend's help today to get those all hung and mostly level! :)

Moving on into the room, you can see a better view of the Wipebook Flipcharts as well as all of the tables. :)

My class is currently seated in groups and I hope that can continue.  They didn't tell us any directive about having students all facing the same direction this year so I'm hoping I can keep them in groups because I really missed those interactions.  Our directive is to keep the kiddos 3 feet apart and my tables are 3 feet wide and the kids can spread 3 feet side to side, so I'm hoping that works out okay!

Right now, my class sizes range from 18 to 28, so when I left yesterday, I had 6 tables of 4 and 4 extra chairs.  I had emailed the principal asking for another set of tables and when I arrived this afternoon, there were actually more tables than I needed!  I set up the last table and now every student has somewhere to sit... hopefully :)

As you enter the doorway, to the immediate left is one of the student areas with the calendar, turn in trays, pencil sharpener, etc.  The file cabinets are PACKED with school supplies because I apparently have a huge spending / buying habit when it comes to good deals on school supplies! LOL  

A few of my favorite things here..
- Team Cup Posters (Thanks Sarah!) - I LOVE using the Red / Yellow / Green cups and so glad they are back this year!
- Ladybug Welcome sign was a gift from my mom and it just makes me smile
- Problem Solver pillow made from a t-shirt I found in the girls section at Target several years ago

Along the front wall is the agenda board, the "main" whiteboard, and the puzzle / play corner.

This year, I'm teaching two levels of Geometry - regular and honors.  I've taught Geometry for years, but not two levels of it, so I'm a bit nervous about that.  I've already posted about the play area, but I do love the books in the windowsill!  I've been adding a few new books thanks to eBay, so I'm excited to have several books to swap in and out throughout the year!  

Back at the door, to the left, you'll see the row of cabinets with my second student supply area.  In this area, you'll see markers, colored pencils, patty paper, the group folders, and cleaning supplies.

Two favorites here...
- The Women of STEM posters look fabulous against the blue cabinet
- I LOVE the jigsaw puzzle!  In June, a friend and I had gone to Half Price Books and saw this Cardinal puzzle.  Since my new school mascot was the Cardinals, I decided to pick it up for the elderly neighbor man.  He loves doing jigsaw puzzles, especially in the winter and he was delighted to put this one together for me.  It really looks awesome in my new room!

The last area is my desk area and this was the MOST challenging area of the room for me!

First off, on the metal bookcase, you'll see my individual whiteboards and the cool holders my sister had made for me.  You'll also see the dry erase table tents that I had to have from Target Dollar Spot but haven't quite figured out yet! LOL

The red and blue back here was really hard for me.  I did better with the blue because I already had some ideas, like the yellow "Believe" sign from Ted Lasso (Thanks Meg!), but what do you do with a tomato red wall?  I knew I wanted something back there - a whiteboard, a bulletin board, something, but what???

Then, last weekend, I'm on Facebook Marketplace and up pops this yellow ladybug bulletin board - OMG - PERFECT!!!  I had already picked up the Home Sweet Classroom sign from Hobby Lobby, so now I had an anchor point.  I already had made a photo with my word of the year (Lego) and the photo of our bracelets, so throw in some quotes, a few more decorations, and my desk area is finally done!

Now, all that is left is for kids to fill those chairs tomorrow and we'll be ready to kick off the 2021-2022 school year!

Monday, August 9, 2021

#Made4Math - Birthday Pencils and Planner


It's my last Monday of summer, y'all!!!  How in the world does July go so fast?!?!

I'm changing schools this year, so I officially report on Friday for new teacher orientation and I'm so not ready for school!  My room is mostly done, but I have yet to even think about lesson plans!  Part of that is I don't know yet what the COVID protocols will be for this school year - will I be able to get back to group work?  Using my INBs?  Just so much unknown.  But I did get a chance to meet the rest of my department last week, so that was fun!  I am excited about the change and to try something new.

Since this is my last Monday of summer, I have soooooo much on my to-do list and very little is actually ready to show you, but here we go...

In case you are new to #Made4Math, it is a weekly blog challenge to share a project or creation for your classroom.  I love reading your posts, so please join in the fun using the hashtag #Made4Math on Twitter, IG, or blogging about your project. 

Here are last week's posts in case you missed them:

Farica (@Nerd_QED) shared about a lesson plan revamp

Jane (@extraneousroot) shared about assessments and math songs

Elissa (@misscalcul8) shared some photos of her classroom revamp

I shared an update on my Play Table and a few new puzzles to print

We would love for you to join in the #Made4Math fun - Post your creations on Twitter, blog, or IG with the hashtag #Made4Math!

Now on to this week's projects!

Project #1 - Birthday Pencils

In early July, I found these pencils in the Target Dollar Spot and I just LOVED their positive affirmations! I honestly have no idea how many students I have this year, but I quickly purchased all of the packs that I could find.

I've always been really bad at the whole birthday thing, but going to a new school, I really want to try harder this year to recognize student birthdays and I thought these pencils might just do the trick! I pulled up my trusty PowerPoint, made a few shapes, added some free clipart and a cute font and I was on my way!

I made 6 flags per page, printed them out on various colors of paper and then I'll cut them out, snip a spot near the top and poke the pencil through!  I've not cut them all out yet because my pencils are at school and I really don't want to transport hundreds of little flags - I have made an example here for you though! 

On my first try, I decided to use a hole punch to make holes, but the snipped lines were easier and worked better, so snipped lines it is :)

If you want a copy of the Happy Birthday flags, click here to download a PDF.

Project #2 - Lesson Planner

This project isn't quite complete, but I'm working on it!  If you've been around for a while, you know that I love making my own planner for the year.  Last year was the first time I tried using a Junior sized planner and I found out that I LOVED it!

Here are some previous posts on the planner:
- Junior Planner Reflection

With the return to school, I need to get my act together, so I've started working on my planner...

One thing that I love doing is making my own covers out of plastic pocket folders.  Here, you will see that I cut down a blue / silver folder from Dollar General and I'm using pink discs and pink cardstock for my dividers (not pictured).  I LOVE discbound notebooks and if you've never tried one, I HIGHLY recommend that you give it a shot!

Here's a copy of the 2021-2022 monthly calendars if you want your own - print them two to a page, flip on short edge, cut them apart and use the Junior size on your punch to make your calendar!  The rest of my planner won't change much, so you can use the links in the posts above if you want to make your own planner!

Okay, that's it for me today... Until next time, keep creating and sharing!

Monday, August 2, 2021

#Made4Math - A Play Table Update


This past week FLEW by and now it's time for another #Made4Math Monday post!

I'm telling you - the month of July has to be the shortest one of the year for teachers... so much to do, so little time to get it done :)

August is now here and school will start soon, so this past week was spent working on my classroom.  It' STILL not done, but it's closer than it was last Monday, so I'll take that as progress! :)

In case you are new to #Made4Math, it is a weekly blog challenge to share a project or creation for your classroom.  I love reading your posts, so please join in the fun using the hashtag #Made4Math on Twitter, IG, or blogging about your project. 

Here are last week's posts in case you missed them:

Kim (@LogicalPoetry) shared some new labels for her classroom

Jane (@extraneousroot) shared how to do a Geometry Make-Over

I shared about some new labels and clipboard stands for my classroom

We would love for you to join in the #Made4Math fun - Post your creations on Twitter, blog, or IG with the hashtag #Made4Math!

Now on to this week's projects!

Project #1 - A Made4Math Update
A few weeks ago, I shared about the Puzzle and Play Corner in my classroom, but at that time, I hadn't finished it. It's now done! :) On the left is the original photo I shared on that post.

Last Monday, a friend came to help me unpack and she was amazing in helping me unpack all of the puzzles and games and neatly organize them into the Sterlite drawers! I had also laminated a title and put up a border on the Cartesian plane. You can see the binders hiding in the corner. I had ordered a table skirt from Amazon to hide the clutter, but it took a while to get here. My friend and I went to IKEA on Tuesday, so no work got done that day, but on Wednesday, I was back at it by putting up the Mental Math board and installing that table skirt to hide the Sterlite drawers. In the windowsill, you can find some mathy books to read, including my favorite "Introductory Calculus for Infants" Project #2 - Some New Puzzles!
Of course, with the play table now done, I decided I needed some new puzzles.  Pre-COVID, I had one of those Page a Day calendars with Mensa Puzzles and I kept several of them to create for the table.  Of course, I couldn't have my table last year, so my Mensa Calendar stack stayed on my desk until this summer.

You can print them here:

Don't forget to share your creations on Twitter, IG, or blog! Until next time - keep creating and sharing!