Thursday, December 22, 2011

Photo Gallery

A little bit of this and a little bit of that...

Author's Purpose PIEs - Using 2 paper plates, we created Author's Purpose Pies.  Great idea from dandelions and dragonflies.  After creating the pie foldable, they had to sort the definition and example for P(persuade), I (inform), and E (entertain) under the correct flap. (available at dandelions and dragonflies page)

In third grade, we focus on communities.  We just finished our study of Japan.  We researched the geography and land.  We learned about the culture and festivals.  We painted cherry blossom tress and wrote haikus.  We had an art docent from a local art museum lead a lesson.  Chefs from a local Japanese steak house came.  They brought hats, chopsticks, fried rice, Japanese soda, little umbrellas - it was such a fun day!! We read lots of books - some about heroes (Manjiro and the samurai), about the past between the US and Japan (A Place Where Sunflowers Grow; Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes) and just about the culture and traditions.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ten Reasons I Know Christmas is Near

(Passed along from a colleague)
10. You find out where your colleagues family members live - "Where are you going for break?" "Are you getting out of town to visit family?"

9. Homemade cards keep appearing on my table - from students and their younger siblings, complete with Christmas trees, stars, pictures of presents, poems, and name spelled wrong (by December you would have thought we figured it out!)

8. My boys are rotating through the newly placed time out chair outside of the classroom. For the last 2 days I might have to add a couple extra chairs outside.

7. We miss more and more class for the holiday performance rehearsals.

6. I have almost memorized all the words to Justin Bieber's Mistletoe. Yes...I admit...I actually like the song.

5.  I have coffee with sugar cookie flavored creamer and mint M&M's for breakfast, Dr. Pepper and Christmas cookies for lunch, and drink a glass of wine for dinner.

4. Reading lessons are all taught using holiday stories.  (It was actually pretty great having the students ask me thick and thin questions based off of the Polar Express.  They got to play teacher AND their questions were great!)

3.  I find myself not only buying presents for my family and friends but also the few students in my class that won't be receiving much from Santa. 

2. Not only the students are decked out for the holidays in their red, green, and sequins but I actually break out my red pants and green sweater TOGETHER and add my snowman/Christmas tree/snow flake earrings that I've actually saved from when I was in elementary school.

and 1.  I keep repeating in my head...JUST....TWO....MORE...DAYS!

Happy Holidays to everyone in Bloggy World!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Wednesdays are the hump of the week.  If you finally manage your way through the day you are officially on the other side and on your way to the wonderfully, relaxing days of Saturday and Sunday.  I thought we were managing our last Hump Day before break very well.  (As of right...only 4 more school days left!)  We made elf yourself ornaments this morning (think: little elf bodies, big kid heads...similar to JibJab).  Students were coloring and cutting, we were listening to holiday music.  As students finished and I had to help others, they seamlessly moved into Read to Self, Work on Writing, or Read to Someone.  I paused and glanced around the room.  I was so impressed at how far we have come this year.  Yes, there was still one of my favorites crawling around the room occasionally stopping to suck on his finger and observe those around him.  But a redirection and a threat of consequence later, he was on task as well (at least for a short time).  We moved into our reading minilesson, went to lunch, read aloud, recess, and back to math.  Even math went well with students participating - both asking and answering questions.  We finished early and had time for an extra holiday read aloud and multiplication facts practice.  We packed up, went to specials, and came back for Enrichment block with the guidance counselor.  Sounds like a great day...right?!?  They day was moving smoothly enough that I had forgotten the 3-4 times we had to practice lining up, or the extra hallway we had to walk to practice our hallway behavior (I'm at the point where I'm done with reminders and harping on behaviors they know - so we're just practicing and practicing...and practicing).  At 3:40, announcements came on and I returned to the class to assist with dismissal.  And what did I find...a student doing his work on the carpet with obvious green marker all over the white part of the rug.  REALLY?!? 

...Just 4 more days!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hundredth Day Hunger Challenge

One of the teachers at my school is helping organize a canned food drive in conjunction with the hundredth day of school.  After the winter holidays, there is a dramatic decline in the food donations to food banks.  This is way to help the situation and also integrate math.  I've seen lots of ways to keep track of the number of the canned goods each grade or class donates but I like the visual idea of each students coloring a can/box for each can/box they donate.  He is trying to expand the project so I wanted to pass the idea to all the wonderful teachers in blogland.  He's a great guy so don't hesitate to contact him for more information on the project.  It would be great to see the difference the project can make across schools, counties, and states.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankful for You

Today I had the students write about something they are thankful for and why.  During share time, I normally randomly choose 5 students and then let 2 other students volunteer.  Unfortunately, one boy did not get to share his writing so of course he HAD to show me right then.  (This is what's wrong with our transitions!).  I was kind of short with him and then I read what he wrote.  He was thankful for! (I'll post his work when I get a chance.) I tend to get the cards on my birthday and Christmas and Teacher's Appreciation day.  I get the cards when I've given them a guilt trip about their poor choices.  But it was just a nice to be included among the stories of parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, etc.  It got me thinking.  How often do I tell my students that I'm thankful for them?  Now warning...I'm not a poet or a writer, but I wrote a poem to share with my students tomorrow telling them that I am thankful for them as well.  Even through all the hard moments they really do give me a lot.  They are the reason I teach!

Thankful for You

In case I don’t tell you enough
I am thankful for you.

I am thankful that you make me laugh
and thankful that you care
I am thankful that you try your best
and thankful that you’re fair.

I am thankful when you drive me crazy.
I am thankful when you share your woes.
I am thankful when you share your stories.
I am thankful when you don’t step on my toes.

I am thankful for your watchful eyes,
listening ears,
still hands,
and open minds.

I am thankful for your deep thoughts,
crazy comments,
silly dances,
and loving hugs.

You are my kids, my school family,
and I am thankful for you.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Xtra Math

When I taught 5th grade I wanted to know why my students weren't fluent with their multiplication facts, when I taught 4th grade I wanted to know my students weren't fluent with their multiplication facts, and now that I teach 3rd grade...I see why.  Where is the time??  Not only do I have to ensure fluency of the newly exposed multiplication facts but I have to go back and teach them their addition facts.  The students can't figure out 8 x 2 because most of them don't even know 8 + 8.  A couple weeks back I read a post on Kleinspiration about this free online resource - Xtra Math.  I decided to give it a try.  I set up my class. Logged onto Xtra math on my classroom computers.  Showed my students the already created how-to video and then they got rolling.  They LOVE it!!  First they take a placement test, then they practice, practice, practice and repeat.  When the program determines they have mastered the facts, they move onto more challenging facts or the next operation - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Students are all moving forward at their own pace...differentiation!! All my students don't get to it everyday.  Sometimes it is just 1 or 2 students during the morning or as an anchor activity in math.  But, they are starting to sign up at home which is doubling this practice time - just 3-5 minutes per session. When a students finishes in the class they are to go and tap the next student on the list....I have to pull students from getting on when I'm teaching.  "But my name is on the computer" they argue.  I guess that is one thing I don't mind arguing over...
..more time practicing math :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Veteran's Day

When I was in college I fell in love with a boy who I had known for quite a few years.  Unfortunately, we didn't end up together in the end (long, unnecessary story at this point) but my feelings never went away. He was in the army and was deployed twice.  He passed away June 23, 2008. 
Since that time I have found it very difficult to do lessons and activities with my students on Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. So I've just moved past those days like they were just another day off school, but they are so much more. Last year my wonderful co-teacher taught the lessons but I was still able to be in the room.  This year I'm going for it. My lessons are written and copies are made for tomorrow's Veteran's Day lessons.  The students I teach (8 years old) only know a country at war.  It is important that they understand how brave these soldiers, how proud we should be of them, and how we should always remember and never forget them. 
I pulled all my lesson and activities for tomorrow from somewhere online and now I'm pulling together some great Veteran's Day activities from some of my favorite blogs that I follow to share with you. Make sure to check out their resources and great blogs!

Veteran's Day Choice Board from ashleigh's education journey
Veteran Acrostic Poem from Cooperative Learning 365

 Veteran's Day Bubble Map from Ginger Snaps

Co-Teaching in the Inclusion Classroom

Last year I began working on my master's degree in Special Education.  I'm doing it through Western Governor's University.  I was skeptical of an all online university but I researched it, looked at the program, etc and it's legit.  Things have been going great.  There are 6 month semesters which is great for teachers who need to work on classes over the summer or winter break.  As well, the classes are competency based meaning you don't have to take it for a certain length of time, just prove your competency of the objectives through either objective or performance based assessments.  So that's my plug for for the reason for my post.
In my most recent course, I developed a unit on co-teaching.  For the past 3 years, I have worked closely with a special education teacher in my classroom and we had things down to an art.  I really saw the benefits of inclusion for special education students.  Now, we did not have things perfect as there is always room to grow but we had some things right.  So for my last course I did research on developing a professional development unit for co-teaching pairs.  It focuses on what co-teaching is and how to implement it in the classroom.  If you're interested in implementing a co-teaching approach in your classroom, this is definitely something you should check out.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mr. Pinocchio Is Back At It

Mr. Pinocchio is back at his ways - not that the lying ever stopped.  Since my last post honoring my gifted (yep...truly labeled AIG) student, the lying hasn't really stopped but I've been trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.  His mother doesn't want him to get a bad reputation and doesn't want him blamed for things that he truly didn't do (others are always putting the unwarranted blame on him of course).  So of course he didn't tell another student to Suck his p#^!$ so that stuff comes out.   Of course he wasn't following a girl around the room.  Of course he wasn't saying inappropriate things about his crush. Of course he wasn't talking in line or during silent lunch.  Of course he wasn't playing around in the bathroom.  Of course! Of course! Of course!
I'm a teacher....not a saint...and I couldn't take anymore.  So today during indoor recess when he was accused of using the Scrabble Slam letters (which I use to think was a great game) to spell words such as butt, poop, and b!&@%...I really did want to give him the benefit of the doubt.  There was another boy involved who also doesn't make good choices (already suspended twice this year) and they were blaming it on each other.  The other one MADE them do it.  One sweet boy ...who never does anything involved and I felt bad for him.  I called all 4 boys (Mr. Pinocchio, Mr. Bad Choices, Mr. Good Choice, and the Tattle Tale) all into the hallway to call an administrator and discuss their poor choices and lack of taking responsibility for their actions.  But then a boy on my carpet said one of the saddest things..."So you probably just want us to sit quietly on the carpet and wait?"  OMG....this had happened so often they knew what I expected...that was not okay.  I let the 15 students not involved go next door to a co-teacher who was teaching the same mini-lesson and I marched my 4 special boys to the office.  I've held it together pretty well recently - not letting my students' poor choices get to me...but I had had it.  I let a few tears slip once in the office but I dropped them off and my wonderful admin got to the bottom of it.  Mr. Poor Choice owned up to his choices and was quickly sent back to class because telling the truth is often more important than the actual choices. Mr. Good Choice wrote a letter about staying out of bad situations.  The Tattle Tale came back quite proud of himself.  AND YES...IMAGINE IT...Mr. Pinocchio lied. Luckily  the masterful principal was able to find the truth though.

When will kids learn that telling the truth will often get them out of trouble faster and with less consequences than lying??!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Grant for My School - Vote for Us!!

Vote for the grant so my school can get some much needed PE equipment!!! You have to register to vote online but you can also text - its a lot easier. Text clorox5594 to 44144.
Program Detail:
Sandy Ridge opened in August 2011 as a visual and performing arts elementary school in Durham, North Carolina. We have approximately 600 students in Pre-K through 5th grade. Sandy Ridge elementary school provides strong instruction in the core curriculum, but with a focus on the visual and performing arts. The Physical Education program utilizes the SPARK curriculum which is designed to involve all children, be more active, incorporate social skills, and emphasizes both health-related fitness and skill development. As a new school, we have very little Physical Education equipment and no available funds for staff wellness activities. This grant will allow us to build our equipment inventory as well as providing additional wellness programs for our students and faculty.
How this Grant will Help:
This grant would provide Physical Education equipment, a fitness course for our nature trail, and employee wellness activities. The Physical Education equipment will be used by students of all ages at Sandy Ridge Elementary. Students and faculty could access the fitness course at recess and during Physical Education classes. Equipment would be selected based on the developmental needs of various age groups. Employee wellness activities would include personal training, nutrition education, activity classes, and health screenings. Having this equipment would encourage enthusiasm for participation in activities leading to the improvement of the health and physical well- being of our students and faculty.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What to do during AIG pull out??

For the past 4 years I have worked with both AIG and EC inclusion.  I did work closely with an EC teacher to work on collaborative co-teaching during the inclusion time.  However, I was AIG certified and did not work with a solely AIG teacher to help provide differentiation and enrichment for the upper tier.  Now that I do (and its great), I have to figure out what to do with the other part of the class during pull out for AIG Critical Thinking Skills.  The first week, we had a mystery reader.  It was a parent who came in and she had a great reading lesson that really included the students in the reading (I think I might even copy her strategy.)  This past week, we did an art project.  As an arts based magnet school, I am supposed to be integrating art into all instruction with a specific focus during our last 45 minute block of the day - enrichment.  It is during this time on Fridays that the AIG group (plus some other high students) is pulled.
  • My group started with a read aloud of Tomasso and the Missing Line.  
  • Then we brainstormed all the different kinds of line someone can draw.  The kids came up with zip-zag, straight, curved, diagonal, intersecting, angled, wavy, dark, light, etc.  
  • Then, after passing out a handout on lines, students were able to make any type of art with lines - and lines only.  Some students when straight to a house or landscape art.  I began mine on the board and a few students began to see that they could make "designs" of lines into a work of art.  
  • Here are some of the great products (not completely finished but you get the idea)...

If I could do the lesson again, I would also introduce the students to some well known art that uses great and obvious examples of various lines.  Maybe my artist friends and help me know where to start?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Character Traits

So I know I haven't posted in a while but I'm finally getting around to it and I have some great ideas (at least I think so) to share!  Most of them I have borrowed from somewhere else online but here they are...all put together.

I started the week with "I am.." character traits.  We went over character traits using a great sheet from Read.Write.Think.  Then, (after modeling of course) students chose or brainstormed at least 10 character traits to write about themselves.  When I took their pictures, I made sure to ask for evidence of a few of the traits they chose.  It would have also been great to do a quick write.

We studied character traits the same week that the students had to take COGats (AIG) testing.  Since I knew the kids would be exhausted and its a movie with strong characters - we watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  The old, better movie of course.  Over the three days of watching the movie, students had to record the actions, words, and feelings of the 5 "kid" characters - Charlie, Violet, Veruca, Agustus, and Mike Teevee.  After the movie, students created a foldable with pictures of the characters, and character traits with evidence from the movie.  The kids loved the lessons and it showed that they truly do understand character traits.

Willy Wonka Character Graphic Organizer

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Feliz Complaneos

Sometimes kids forget to tell teachers how much they mean to them.  However, when birthdays come around we are showered with cards, gifts, flowers, and candy.  My birthday was a couple weeks ago but I wanted to share the love that they gave me.

I made Owl cupcakes for my kids.  Vanilla cupcakes and chocolate frosting.  You add 2 halves of an oreos - the sides with the creme and then Reese's Pieces for the eyes and noses.  The kids told me they were the BEST cupcakes that they've ever had.  I think it was just cause they looked pretty :)

Presents for the fabulous teacher!  Chocolates, teddy bears, lotions, soaps, and a few beautiful roses :) The best are the many notes/cards I got from my thirdgraders.
"Dear Ms. M, you'll never know how much I [heart] you! Happy Birthday Ms. M! I glad to have you as a teacher!"
This student wrote this little note, then folded it in half and stuck it in my sweater pocket.  My kids decided to shower me with gifts and misbehavior for my birthday so I just kept pulling out the note and it brought a smile to my face :) At one point in the day I even moved all kids back to green because I said that I was just going to pretend everyone was making good choices for my birthday.

Birthdays are not only special for teachers but students as well.  A week after my bday was one of my sweet ESL girls.  Her dad was supposed to come at lunch and bring cupcakes but he never came.  You could tell she was disappointed.  He made it by recess and it was raining so we were all in the classroom.  She gave him a big hug and he left us with a cupcake cake - pretty cool.  Before we passed them out, the class sang Happy Birthday and she started crying.  Uh oh, what did I do wrong? My poor little shy girl was crying.....crying tears of joy :) She said she was soo happy.  The class showered her with hugs and Happy Birthday wishes.  My students really have big hearts :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award!

Thanks to Elizabeth at First Year in Third Grade for the "Versatile Blogger" award!!


1. Able to adapt or be adapted to many different functions or activities: "a versatile saw".
2. Changeable; inconstant.

Now for the rules. When you receive this award, you must thank the person who gave you the award, tell seven things about you, and pass this award onto 15 blogs that you feel deserve this award.

Seven Things About Me:
1. I've taught 5th, 4th, and now 3rd grade.
2. I'm working on my master's in special education.
3. I'm a big UNC Tar Heels fan!
4. My family is a modern Brady Bunch.  Parents both got remarried in 2009. I gained 3 step-brothers and 2 step-sisters between the 2 remarriages - all in the same age range as me, my brother and sister.
5. I went to my first fashion show on Friday.  Tickets were to the Triangle Area Fashion Week finale - compliments of one of my students' moms.
6. Last year was the year of travels - Key West, Las Vegas, Hilton Head, Isles of Palms, Tennessee, Washington, DC, Michigan
7. I have a fabulous dog - Bailey :)

15 Blogs that I feel deserve The Versatile Blogger....
1. First Year in Third Grade
2. 3rd Grade Gridiron
3. One Extra Degree
4. What the Teacher Wants!
5. Education Journey
6. Cooperative Learning and Other Classroom Resources
7. Get in the Fold!
8. Lesson Plan SOS

......Partial list right now...hopefully I will get back to finishing it :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Why must 3rd graders lie?  This has been the question pressing on my mind.  I have to think that many of them don't see it as lying, just telling their version of the truth in a convenient way.  For instance...

Suzie comes to me..."Johnny pinched my hand."
"Johnny, come here.  Johnny, did you pinch Suzie's hand?"
Looking at the red mark on Suzie's hand...."Johnny, you didn't pinch Suzie?"
"No I didn't pinch her." The tears are starting at this point as well.
"So, you're telling me that your fingers didn't touch Suzie's hand."
"No....She just..." and so the confession begins that obviously it wasn't Johnny's fault because Suzie took his pencil.

Do they not understand that it is still pinching?!?!  My brain has been so boggled over trying to figure out how to approach these situations which happen not only once but often twice or more a day with various kids.  Ideas anyone?!!? Strategies?? Help!

Now, most third graders will eventually admit to the truth after I wear them down.  Let's not even start to calculate the amount of time I spend trying to wear students down to get to the truth.  However I have one Mr. Pinocchio.  His nose won't fit in the classroom before the year is done.  "No, he didn't turn off the lights in the bathroom, that was so-and-so accidentally leaning up against them.  That's why he didn't realize." "No, he wasn't playing around by switching bathroom stalls twice.  That was because they were obviously all clogged up (even though no one had told me and we all know all third graders want to talk about bathroom things)."  "No, he didn't chase the girl around the playground.  So-and-so MADE him do it (although the girls claim there was no one with him and the other kid said he didn't either.)" "No, he didn't mess with so-and so's hair in the other group.  Everyone else in the other groups are lying."  I've tried telling the poor kid that the whole world isn't against him.  I've tried explaining the story of the boy who cried wolf - he's been caught lying before so its hard to believe him now. But he still won't admit to ANYTHING.

AGRH!  This is very much the frustration of a Wednesday evening.  The counselor and principal intern (who is FABULOUS) are involved...hopefully things will look up soon.  Until then...what do I do with all my Pinocchios?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Math Project - Envision Topic 1

We gave our first unit test on Friday and I have to say that my kids did pretty well.  And the ones that didn't....well I had an idea that they wouldn't.  The one thing that all kids did struggle with was reading and following the directions so I know to work on that for next time.
Next week is going to be review week.  On Monday, I'm working with another teacher to split our classes to reteach and enrich before our district assessment on Tuesday.  We'll also have to go over how to bubble in answers since they will have one of their first experiences on Tuesday.  Then Wednesday and Thursday we will also split our classes to reteach and enrich based on the scores from the district assessment.  For this unit, I will be working with the enrichment group.  On Monday we'll be working with BIG numbers.  On Wednesday, we are going to complete the Envision Topic 1 Project.  Then, on Thursday we'll explore the problem solving strategy of making an organized list.  For the Topic 1 Project, I typed up the directions and then tried summarizing information from several Wikipedia sites.  It was a task but I know I'll use it again.  I have pasted the link below so you can benefit from my weekend of hard work :)

Envision Topic 1 Project - Research a tall structure and present the structure along with number facts and a drawing of the structure.

And...just for you.  On Friday, we'll be giving the Addition Pretest.  I could not...for the life of me...find one I liked online.  So I took a couple okay ones and put them together.  My addition pretest for third grade is found below....

Addition PreTest

Have a great week!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Tornados OH MY!

So since I have started the school year I have felt the trembles of an earthquake, dealt with the winds from the outskirts of a hurricane, and had tornado warnings...and it's only the first week of September!  Today brought the tornado scare.  When I woke up and turned on the news this morning I knew things weren't going to be good.  The forecast called for turbulent, volatile weather all day long.  Students piled into the classes wearing rain coats and rain boots and carrying umbrellas.  Students were late from missing the bus due to rainy weather.  Then about 10 minutes into my reading lesson (this is already after morning meeting as well) my principal comes on the intercom for the pledge of allegiance and a wonderful announcement about the weather and what to do in case of a tornado drill.  Now remember this is brand new school without concrete plans for these kind of things.  So post-announcement I was forced to answer questions about what we do and how we sit (duck and cover of course!!).  I also had to ease the minds of a few very worried 3rd graders. (Although this had to have been better than the dance teacher with the class of first graders in tears.  They proceeded to practice duck and cover, learn it was just like an armadillo, and then got to move around the dance class like armadillo and practice times!).  I reminded the kiddos that it was my job to protect them.  Their parents put them on the bus each morning knowing they are safe because they are with me.  I let them in on the secret that they didn't need to worry because I would take care them.  Then, they got to throw their imaginary worries at me for me to hold and take care of.  Skip ahead in the day...past the indoor recess...past the thunder and upset the "tornado drill."  The students did great.  They stood up, lined up, and ducked and covered where I told them to.  However, something they never teach you in school....How do you keep a hallway full of 2-5 graders silent in the duck and cover position for about 25 minutes?  I hurt for them.  Their knees were sore, their backs hurt, and their focus was wearing!  For the most part the kids did great!  We finally stood up, dusted off our knees, did some stretches and went back to tornado (that I am very thankful for!!).  I dried some tears...yes it was scary but remember I'm here to take away worries and keep everyone safe.  I complemented the positive behaviors and discussed the not so good ones (talking, laughing, kicking each other, etc).  I even answered the best question of all....
Little girl's question: "Ms. McNinch, was it okay if I was praying while I was down on the ground?"
My response: "Of course it was dear...because we both know that even though I will do my best to keep you safe, there is only person who can really do that."


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Random Printables

So these are not organized in any way but I thought I would post some of the things that I have been doing in the first week of school.

Lost Book? Owl Theme Poster (pdf)

I PICK Good Books! OWL Theme Handout (pdf)
Based off of PICK from Daily 5

What I'm Reading Now! Teacher's Sheet Owl Theme (pdf)
Take a second to post what you are reading.  This reminds the students that you're a reader as well.

 Self Portrait PPT --> Based off a lesson from one of my FABULOUSLY AWESOME co-teachers

I hope you find these helpful!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A View of the Inside

FINALLY....I have pictures of my class! I hope you enjoy my unorganized photo tour.

Bulletin board outside my classroom.  "Look at our FABULOUS work!"  There is yarn with clothes pins going across the board to easily hang work.
This is my FACE of a Reader cabinet.  This cabinet faces my guided reading table so it is easy to refer to during small group work. 

This bulletin board houses my OWL of the Week area, classroom jobs, and Box Tops for Education collection envelope.

Turn in bins.  The top bin is "Notes for Teacher" and then there are bins 1-5 and I just have students use them in order.  I found it too difficult to have only 1 for LA, 1 for Math, etc.  Then at the bottom students can find the notebook paper and graph paper (currently there is none because there is no paper for the copier). At the top is the reminder to turn in assignments that are "Hand In Ready."

I'm always asking the students to explain "Why?" and these signs remind them to go ahead and answer that questions by explaining their answers with "...because..."

Morning Meeting poster that I LOVE!  I got this idea from a friend last year.  The clouds have the 4 parts of Morning Meeting -- Greeting, Share, Game (should be changed to Activity), and Announcements.  Then the poster gives 4 expectations: 1. Come to meeting with empty hands. 2. Sit with your legs crossed and your hands in your lap. 3. Listen to the person who is talking. 4. Raise your hand when you want to talk.

My new thing...posting learning targets.  Here are my student "I can" statements and my daily schedule.  We got LOTS of pocket charts :)

Have to love Beth Newingham's genre posters!  I will post the different Read Aloud books that we read under the appropriate genre poster.
Future Word Wall - in the library corner

Part of the library corner.  The bins are only partly labeled due to lack of ink in my printer. Blah!

Great shelves to display books.

Other side of my library area.  New rug.  Bench made from self and 3 milk crates.  Butterfly chair from my childhood room.

Bright Links interactive projector.  It projects directly on the white board!

Small group work table, plant grow light for our first science unit, director's chair, and tons of cubbie space with BEAUTIFULLY made curtains.

Current table arrangement.  The students stay at these two long tables and then move to the small group work table if they need to separate themselves from the group.

CRAFT PROJECT...I made about 4 paper bag owls to decorate my door. "Whooooo's in Ms. M's class?"

Rug...numbers and colors in English and Spanish.  This is the area for morning meeting (students sit in a circle) and minilessons (students sit in rows/group).

Teacher Space..all mine!  No students allowed back here.