Sunday, 15 September 2019

Classroom Tour 2019-2020

Hey folks! It's been ages since I've been here on the little ol' blog. So I finally took some pictures of my "finished" classroom (do we ever really "finish" it? lol. mine is ever changing) and thought that I would share a peak into my classroom!

My back to school theme this year was superheroes, so here was my hallway bulletin board. On the first day of school we colored masks from Oriental Trading. I took a picture of them in their mask, cut out their heads, and taped them to superhero bodies that they coloured. They look so cute!!

Here is the doorway into my classroom. The "Mrs. Ross" round wooden sign is from Simply Stained on Etsy. Beside my door I have my "Where Are We?" signs that we change when we leave the classroom so people can find us! 

Here's a view of my classroom from the doorway. I am very fortunate to have a very large classroom. It used to be a kindergarten classroom before my school got the addition with two new kindergarten classrooms. I also only have 16 students this year which is AMAZING. I have never had such a low number and this is very rare for us. Some of the other grades in my school range from 22-27, so I'm very grateful for my small class this year.

These cupboards are to the right of my door. I have all my dismissal/fire drill stuff at the top of the first one. My question of the day board that students answer every morning. And my reading centre choice pocket chart. We haven't started official reading groups yet, so students have not started choosing their own centres yet. Hopefully this week or next week we will start that! You can read more about how I run my reading centres {here}.

Then I have my student cubbies. They keep their shoes, backpacks, and jackets here. Indoor shoes go in the cubbies at recess/home time. 

Here is my birthday display from my new Whitewood & Watercolours Birthday Chart pack.

Then I have my three classroom rules posted: Be Respectful, Be Safe, and Be Responsible. We read the book "Back-to-School Rules" by Laurie Friedman and thought that boy had WAY too many rules for us to remember, so we broke it down into three easy rules we could remember. Each day during the first week we looked at one of the rules and wrote down some examples of what it meant. We put these charts up on the cupboards and my plan is to take pictures of students who are demonstrating our rules and place them on the space beside the rules!

Across from my cubbies is my little command centre. This has my agenda book tub where students hand in their agendas, my done work and still working tubs for finished and unfinished work, and my levelled home reading book tubs. Students choose books from these bins to take home for their home reading bags. (This is the only section of my classroom library that is organized by level.) The desk is for my volunteers. We aren't allowed to have tables in our hallways (fire hazard apparently), so we move the desk in and out into the hallway for volunteers or EAs to work on with students.

Behind my home reading bookshelf is my theme table. On this table I put out stuff related to out theme unit (science/social studies/health). I'm starting the year with a social studies unit on groups we belong to. We are talking about our self identity, the groups we belong to, feelings, and rights/responsibilities/rules. I use a lot of activities from my Grade 1 Interactive Social Studies and Health units. The feeling stones was purchased from Stay Classy Classrooms on TpT. I modgepodged the face parts onto smooth stones I bought. The Emotion-oes dominoes were from Amazon. I can't remember where I bought the Inside Out figures from, but they're super cute and they go well with the emotion book set. Then I have a basket of books that fit with our theme and a pocket chart that has some vocabulary cards in it. 

Down from my cubbies I have my Math Centres pocket chart and my hundred chart (because this is right beside my horseshoe table where I do all my small group teaching). Last year I did my math centres like my reading centres where students got to choose their centres, but this year I'm just simplifying it with three centres: work with teacher, math tubs (hands on activities and games), and iPads (math games).

In the corner I have my IKEA peg board system to keep all my teacher tools and supplies. Up top I have my name pencil from Tallahassee Sunday on Etsy and an awesome Elephant & Piggie painting from a student's mom last year.

Here is my small group table with my crate seats. I've been trying EVERYTHING to cover my crate seats with something that would last. My first year I used just fabric. It was fine but stained by the end of the year. The next year I put new fabric, but then put clear vinyl over top. The vinyl was all torn up by the end of the year. The next year I tried a flannel-backed table cloth. That was ripped up after the first month. This year I have found a winner!!! I used outdoor vinyl fabric, meant for boats or cars. It is super strong and easily wiped down! I can see this lasting all year and maybe even a couple more years to come!! :) 

Behind my table I have my family tree bulletin board. I used the Schoolgirl Style Woodland Whimsy Tree bulletin board set, Better Than Paper Chalkboard background, and Schoolgirl Style Birch Border to create the board. Then I asked families to send in a picture of their family to hang up by our tree. The sign in the corner says "In this class we are a family" and is also from Simply Stained on Etsy.

Here's a peak at my teacher area. The 2x3 cube shelf is from Canadian Tire. It fits one of those three-drawer units in it perfectly. Two of the drawer units are for my lessons/work for the week. The third one is where I keep my math group stuff (notebooks and lesson materials). The bottom row are my reading group bins. Luckily this year with only 16 kids I'm only going to have about 4 reading groups--not six. Then I have the 2x2 Ikea Kallax shelf that I keep my laptop on. I saw @iteachwhatsyoursuperpower post on Instagram about the new Kallax inserts. There's one that cuts it into 9 spots (apparently for wine, but teachers see more uses!!) and you can find long white drawer organizers at the Dollar Tree that it into it perfectly! I fill those up with my small group tools--whiteboard markers & erasers, dice & mini erasers, subitizing cards, etc. Lots of uses for these containers!

To the right of my teacher area is one of my table groups. This is the pink table. I bought there chairs from Walmart in the US a few years ago. 

Here are my new table caddies. I bought these clear organizers from Walmart this year. I've colour coded them with scissors, dot stickers on the glue sticks, and colourful erasers. 

Here's the green table. Green chairs from Walmart as well. I also have three green Otto Stools on the other side. 

Purple table has three purple chairs from Walmart and three purple Kore wobble stools from Really Good Stuff. 

Orange table has Hokki stools provided from the school.

This is the "yellow" table. Chairs and table are from IKEA.

This is the "blue" table. It is lowered so students can sit on the floor. The log cushions are from London Drugs.

Here I have my literacy shelves. The purple bin contains my monthly holiday books (these are my September back to school books right now). The first 6 white tubs are my word word tubs. The small black bins are my listening to book centres (iPod nanos I inherited from my mom when she retired this year and headphones). The listening books are in the tubs on top of the shelves. I number all my books so students just have to find the song number. Then I have my writing tubs, writing folders, and writing books (picture books that are about writing or inspire writing minilessons). 

On this side of the class I have my word wall up on my cupboards. I used my Whitewood & Watercolours Word Wall Headers. Right now we just have colour words and our names. We'll be adding our sight words to them as we go along. 

On the counter are our book boxes. The black bins are from Really Good Stuff. The yellow folder is our poetry folder. Then students are allowed to keep five books from the classroom library. These can be any books from the classroom library. I allow my students to change out their books whenever they want. I don't have specific "shopping" rules--they can change them whenever they want. Below the shelves are our STEAM bins. We use these at the end of the day after our theme time. Labels are from Brooke Brown on TpT.

These are the only cupboards that are actually organized on the inside. I've got bins and bins of school supplies, arts and crafts stuff, bulletin board stuff, and other teacher goodies. I use my Chalkboard & Brights Classroom Label pack on these.

This is our classroom library. Probably my favourite area of the classroom. The couch is a Klippan from IKEA, but I bought it used. The cover comes off and can be washed, which is awesome for the classroom. The shelves are all IKEA. The black chairs were from Walmart.

I got the idea of hanging the crates on the wall for my stuffies from @_growinglittleminds on Instagram. I just used command hooks to hang the crates on the wall. I bought the mini clear Sterilite crates off Amazon. The silver cabinet on the wall houses our classroom iPads.

On the wall behind our classroom library is our Wow Work. It also doubles as a yearly portfolio. I saw this idea from Katie Knight at Teacher to the Core a few years ago and wanted to try it out. I attached these two-prong fasteners to a piece of laminated black cardstock. Then I just use a two-hole punch to punch holes into the top of my student's work and then slide the work onto the prongs. We just add the next page on top of the previous page, so by the end of the year we'll have a nice collection of our writing samples.

Here is my front meeting area. Chairs and bench from IKEA. 

Dark brown benches were from my basement (I think originally from Canadian Tire). Black and white carpets are from IKEA.

In this corner of the room we have our calendar, math tubs, poem of the week, and our explore board (for anchor charts, etc.).

I keep this black IKEA cart next to my Explore Board and pocket chart stand. It holds extra calendar cards, my partner matching cards (for morning meeting), anchor chart markers, etc.

I think that's about it for my classroom! And in case you think my room is too "pinterest-y" perfect, behold the cupboards where stuff just goes to die... lol... I have four of these big cupboards and they're all just jammed with stuff. That might be my next summer organization project.

Oh, and my crate seats are all full of stuff as well that I have not organized yet. #oneday

I'm going to try and get back into the blogging thing a bit, so if there's anything like you'd hear about, just leave me a comment below! Have a great school year!

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

The Gingerbread Man

I think the Gingerbread Man is my favourite fairy tale to study. I usually spend the whole month of December reading and comparing different versions of the Gingerbread Man. We started on Monday this week, so from now until Christmas Break we will read a total of 19 Gingerbread Man books. My students always love them! They can't wait to see which one we'll read each day.

I love making a large Gingerbread House to keep track of the different books we read. The title cards on the side came from an old Gingerbread unit from Deanna Jump. The decorations are just enlarged clipart from KPM Doodles. I printed off covers of all the books and tape them to the top of the chart each day. Then after we read the story, we write down the characters (in order of appearance), the refrain (repeated part), and the ending. We include a :) or :( depending on the ending for the Gingerbread character!

Here are my favourite 20 versions of the Gingerbread Man. (Click the links below to find them on through my affiliate link.):

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Bouncy Bands for the Classroom

Do you do any sort of flexible seating in your classroom? Are you interested in adding some flexible seating options without changing your classroom too much? I am lucky to have a bunch of different flexible seating options, but one of the most popular options is the regular desk chairs with the Bouncy Bands attached to them. I've compiled a top ten list of awesome things about Bouncy Bands to share with you here.

Top Ten Benefits of Bouncy Bands:

1. They offer students a chance to get their wiggles out without them having to get out of their seats.

2. They are strong and durable. They are well made to last you a long time with frequent classroom use.

3. They are easy to use and install--they just slip onto the legs of a desk or chair. They stay in place well too. They never fall off. I stack my chairs at the end of the day too and they just slide up the legs quickly to stack them easily.

4. They aren't costly like other flexible seating options. They start at $13.95 each for elementary school chairs. You can get options for desk legs instead and they also make specialty ones for chairs that don't have. If you don't have much of a classroom budget, here are some tips on getting your Bouncy Bands funded through Donor's Choice.

5. They are quiet! I don't even hear them in my classroom when my students are bouncing their feet on them throughout the day.

6. They help students focus in class. Here's a small survey done at at Gravette Upper Elementary. There is also more research done about the benefits of Bouncy Bands here.

7. You can say no to fidget spinners by offering them a Bouncy Band instead! ;)

8. The CEO and founder of Bouncy Bands is a school counsellor--someone who actually works with students and understands what would help students learn and focus best!

9. Bouncy Bands are great for all learners, but especially students that may have ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, or active students.

10. They work for any age level. They come in different sizes for different chairs/desks. The benefits are the same for all ages--it helps them focus and pay attention!

Go check out to learn more about them or make your purchase! :)

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Bouncy Bands but all thoughts and opinions are my own.