Learning takes you places

So why have boring displays for each subject when you can keep a cheery but functional feel to your classroom space.

How To: I transformed my “KinderGarden” wall into a more functional display wall for first grade. I was inspired by the theme “learning takes you places” hence the hot air balloon, airplanes and butterfly garland.  Each tree represents a different subject: Literacy, math and Science. I hang our anchor charts here each quarter. The students use this wall all year as a reference. It’s a beautiful space that functions as a large key for our current subjects.

Here in the Pacific Northwest we don’t get much sun… So having a sunny day sort of theme really brightens our room up!

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Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

Have you filled a bucket today?  Source

This amazing book by Carrol McCloud is the bases for my entire social skills curriculum. I read this story all throughout the year, especially after winter and spring break. It shows that every person in the world has an invisible bucket, that you can fill by doing and saying kind things. And by filling others buckets, you are filling your own. It’s a brilliant way to make the golden rule concrete. It’s amazing the change that I see in my students after completing a lesson on this book.

We don’t just read it, and put it back on the shelf. We live this book. I make each student a bucket of their own, then I copy bucket fillers in various rainbow colors. During our Daily 5, if a student chooses writers workshop “filling buckets” is one activity they can do.

How To: To make these buckets I took milk cartoons from the students lunch, cut the tops off, and washed them out. Then I drew  buckets onto various colors of card-stock paper, cut them out then stapled them to the milk cartons. The bucket filler sheet can be found here. I copied those on to rainbow colored copy paper, and cut them out. I always have lots of “bucket fillers” ready so kids can fill lost of their friends buckets.

I always make sure that I give examples of how you can fill someones bucket. We start the beginning of the year out by me asking them to write at least one detail to fill a students bucket, by January I ask them to write at least 3 details onto the bucket filler paper.

Cute SchoolTube bucket filler video.

First Grade Fun!

Welcome to First Grade!

I want my students to see that this is their new classroom, and that they are welcome here. I always have some sort of welcome bulletin board on the front door.

How To: I used butcher paper to create the blue and the tree, the owls each have a students name on them. One of the first things that the kids love to do on orientation night is find their name. It really gives them a welcoming feeling.

Hallway Bulletin Board

Hallway bulletin boards are a great way to display your student’s work for the school to see. This bulletin board uses the generic title “watch us bloom” so I can keep it up all year.

How To: I used brown fabric as the background, and green butcher paper as the hills. At the start of the year each student decorates a “little them” during a lesson on details. I use these little people to post next to their work. The work changes at least once each quarter, but the bulletin board stays the same.

Calendar and schedule

The rug area is where we spent our calendar time.

Our Schedule, Kelso's Choices, and a bathroom reminder.

A few helpful things about this picture. Having a picture schedule is great for primary grades and English Language Learners. This schedule gave must students the power to know what their day would look like. I didn’t have to worry about students asking me “when’s recess” etc. I tried to use picture reminders to go along side the words. An example of this is the bathroom poster.

For this bulletin board, I covered up a blackboard that was there that I didn’t use. I used brown fabric at the background. Fabric won’t fade like butcher paper does. The border is an Eric Carle Border.

My “Kinder Garden”

This was the back-wall of our “kinder garden”.

How To: I used large light blue butcher paper first for the sky. Next, I cut the hills from light green butcher paper and stapled them over the blue. The clouds were cut from white paper with googly eyes. Each student had their own flower. They drew a “me on the first day of school” portrait on white  paper. I used these flowers for the cover of their portfolio at the end of the year. The butterfly’s came from a small shop in Portland, OR. Though I found something similar here: Butterfly Garland

It’s important for your students to see themselves in their classroom. To feel some ownership and pride in the space. A great way to do this is to make sure their work decorates the room.

The Colorful Classroom Welcome

Creating a positive, and joyful classroom environment has always been very important to me. For a child to feel safe and at home in their classroom will only benefit their learning. In this site you will get an idea of how I use my classroom pace to facilitate learning, and keep me sane. Please feel free to ask any questions and “how to’s” and I will post them for you.