June 30, 2011

My Classroom Purchases {new color scheme}

We've been out of school for a week now, so the back-to-school supplies are pretty limited around here. I've been living vicariously through all of your excellent purchases you've shared in the Classroom Shopping Linky Party {THANK YOU!!}.

There are still many days to enter, so stop on over if you'd like to share your shopping!

So far, my focus has been on a new classroom design. I've had the same basic color scheme for about three years now. Here are a few samples of the old color scheme...

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June 28, 2011

Classroom Shopping Linky Party!

This linky party is devoted to the die-hard teacher-shoppers. The ones who leave the house on supposed "normal" shopping trips. You know, food for the family, basic supplies for the household. 

But we all know our secret. We are teacher-shoppers. And we represent a unique group of consumers.

Only the truly skilled (i.e. teachers) can achieve our form of shopping. It involves distracting loved ones ("do you want to check out the ___ section while I look here?"). It involves (at-times) embarrassing situations, especially for family members ("They don't have 25 of them!" or "It doesn't come in blue!!"). You know what I mean. I hope.

Because you are the ones who manage to find treasured items for your classrooms in the cheapest stores in your town. You are the ones brave enough to dig through an entire bin of items to be sure the one thing you are looking for is not hidden at the bottom. You are the ones flagging down tired employees, imploring them to check the stock out back. You cannot be stopped. You are a force to be reckoned with. No typical shopper is safe in your path.

This linky party is in honor of all of you bold shoppers. We must come together to share our loot. Whether they are items to decorate your classroom, supplies for your students, new books for your classroom library, that undeniably cute and necessary stuff from the cheap bins in Target--you must share it here!

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June 26, 2011

Round Leveled Labels for book bins {printable}

Yesterday, I posted about some new labels I've been working on. These are for the leveled part of my classroom library.

We also have a genre section, but it is in need of LOTS of work. So that's a job for the coming weeks. I will be sharing those labels as soon as I finish them, I can't wait to be done that part!
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June 25, 2011

Round Labels!

Well, after all that hard work of laminating and arranging library bin labels this winter, turns out they FADED!!! I had placed the labels on that purple paper (can you see it in the photo?) and the purple is kind of gray now. The sun comes through our windows most of the day so...

Actually, I can't lie to you--I don't really mind because it gives me an excuse to change up the labels a bit!!
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June 23, 2011

I'm done!! And I decluttered!!!

Thanks to this lovely lady! Have you seen her blog yet?? She is absolutely fantastic--creative and organized!

I've been working on organization A LOT this year, but it was a few months ago that I realized my true problem. More than disorganization, it was just the fact that I had too.much.stuff!!

So, thanks to the inspiration from Clutter-Free Classroom and a lot of agonizing over which materials to part with, I decluttered.
I gave items away to students and teachers in my building. I recycled and I threw things away (only those that could no longer be used!). It took me about six or seven times to go through my room, but I did it. 

I will remain honest with my blogging friends. I do have two medium-sized boxes of items that need to be further sorted or discarded. I mean, everyone else was leaving, I have a sinus cold that won't end, and the year was over. I had to go home!! I figured I could go through the boxes in August.

But I am really just down to what we need in class and what we use the most.
Here's my pride and joy--my closet shelves:
Top Shelf: Games that will remain in there, books in baskets for our class sets of books, and baskets in general.

Middle Shelf: Textbooks and our leveled books for the classroom library.

Bottom Shelf: Workbooks, craft items, speakers.

The best part? Most of these things come out during the school year throughout the room, leaving lots of space in the closet!

And here's the rest of the room (we have to cover everything). That big black thing is my teacher desk (of sorts!) and the black and white things are shelving. Most of the stuff on the tables is buckets of books for our classroom library. That odd-shaped table on the far left holds the items that still need to be sorted that I mentioned above. 

I still can't believe it's summer vacation! I've been dying to be on here with all of you, spending countless hours on the blogs. It's rainy and cool here, but school's out for summer!! :) 

(And, being a teacher-geek, I'm already starting my first summer project tomorrow morning!)
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June 22, 2011

Classroom Design: Scene Setters

Have you seen these before? I've used them for a few years now and I love them!

They're called Scene Setters...they're these huge vinyl mural things that people use for parties.

And they are a wonderful way to add some color to your class, hide an unattractive area, or coordinate your room colors overall!
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June 21, 2011

Showerboards as whiteboards

Our school was built in 1940 and has a lot of charm...but also some inconveniences. One of the biggest is the chalkboards. I have two huuuuge, long chalkboards in my classroom. This is just part of one chalkboard that runs along the wall near the entrance (please excuse the mess, I am cleaning up in between workshops this week).
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June 18, 2011

Reference Book Labels {printable}

I know summer is a popular time for organizing classroom libraries, so I want to share some library items this season. I've worked on my class library a lot over the past couple of years, but it is still a work in progress.

I added a new section this year, in addition to the leveled library and genre section--a reference shelf!
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June 13, 2011

Tutorial: Searching through all those blogs...

As I was searching around the internet tonight for a nice activity for Flag Day tomorrow, I started to think...

Wouldn't it be nice if there were a way to search through all of the fabulous blogs I follow?

I mean, I would definitely find an awesome idea on a teaching blog, rather than wasting tons of time sifting through websites.

And you know, all this time I thought there wasn't a way to search the blogs I follow. But you know what? There is!!

And it involves Google Reader.
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June 11, 2011

Tutorial: Customizing a favicon in Blogger

Favi-what?! Just in case you didn't know (I didn't until I had to search for its name last year!) a favicon is that little image that shows up next to your URL, on Internet page tabs, AND (this next one is fantastic for Bloggers) in the Blogroll itself.

Like this little heart I'm going to use for my blog...

It's pretty easy to add one to your blog, thanks to Blogger's new interface. Have you seen it yet, by the way??
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June 7, 2011

Storage Linky Party!

You can’t resist it...you turn down that inevitable aisle in the Dollar Tree and there they are...

They are so alluring, all shiny and colorful and, well, organized-looking!!

It’s plastic storage!! Want to share yours? You can link up below...I'm sharing my favorites here।

The blue baskets above are part of a set I have (ok, maybe more than just a "set"!!) of Dollar Tree baskets. They have served many purposes, but are best for holding our EDM games (see more about those here and here).

These clear tubs are for my classroom library. I got the idea to use clear from the fabulous teachers over at Proteacher, as well as some other websites. The clear is great because it will go with any color scheme you have in your classroom. I use the larger tubs for the genres/subjects I have tons of books for and...
...the smaller ones for the rest of my books. I'm thinking of changing up the labels a bit this summer (and of course I will share anything I do with them!).
This next shot shows two of my other storage favorites. The little blue baskets hold our community supplies. The drawers (which are my ABSOLUTE favorite) store my files. They make a great counter-top space as well!

I have some big storage plans for this summer...I want to get a few more of the three drawer storage units (as shown above) to hold my daily papers and assessments on my desk. I also want to get some kind of smaller drawer craft storage...nothing too big that I can fill up with junk (I'm in a huge decluttering phase right now). Any suggestions for craft storage?

Now I know I'm not alone in my obsession with storage--and I would love to see your favorites and how you use them...just link up below!
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June 4, 2011

Desks and Tables Linky Party!

Ok, that title would probably sound strange to anyone but a teacher!!!

I still have a few weeks left to the year, but I am thinking of some changes for next year and I'd love your input on this next topic...

Desks, tables, or both?
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Giveaway Winner!!

Congratulations Kelly!!
Please contact me at: ladybugresources@yahoo.com

A huge thank you to all those who entered!! :) :) :)
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June 2, 2011

Video Tutorial: Adding a Google Reader button!

I know many people enjoy reading blogs through Google Reader, so I did some searching around to see if there was a button to make this easier...and there is!

The website to generate the button can be found here: Add to Google Button

If you'd like some more information on how to add this button, you can also check out the video below.
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June 1, 2011

Google's new feature (and it's good for us Bloggers!)

Have you seen this button on your blog yet? It just appeared on mine today (it's right under the post comments link). I had NO idea what it was, so I searched around a bit and found out it's pretty cool...it's kind of like a "like" on Facebook.

When you click on the button, it gets saved to your Google Profile page. It shows off which websites you like a lot and recommend to your friends.

And it's reeeally cool for Bloggers, because you can +1 individual posts, in addition to the whole blog itself. I tried it out on Ms. M's Word Wall Linky Party. Then I headed to my Google Profile Page and the post itself was saved under my +1's!
And you know what that means?

We can bookmark specific posts! I LOVE THIS! I had been just adding certain posts to my regular bookmarks, but you know how out of control that can get!

You can read more about it here on Google itself...

Do you think you will use this feature? I can't wait to use it more. Be ready to find some +1's on your blog posts, from me saving all of them!!
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