It's been a couple of weeks since I've even been able to look at my Teachers Pay Teachers store OR my blog! This post will be a little personal and a little school related since I've had a lot going on in both areas! First exciting news - we're buying our first house! We're moving in this week so as you can imagine it has been CRAZY at our apartment, purging, packing, cleaning and repeat. In fact, Joe could see how bummed I've been about not being able to do much on here, so he's doing double duty with packing and cleaning off our balconies as I work on here. This is a peek of what it looks like to be us right now:
And that's just our entryway! It's a disaster in here! As stressful as it is, we're so excited about our new house and can't WAIT to get started on renovating and decorating the new house. I'm sure more pictures of the moving process will creep onto the blog here and there.
Another thing that has kept me busy is planning and preparing for my Grandma's funeral last week. She passed away over six weeks ago, but with family schedules we couldn't do a memorial service for quite some time. Even though it wasn't under the greatest circumstances, I was able to see my entire family and it was AMAZING. I don't get to see my cousins often, so it was really fun spending the weekend with them.
Now that life is (sort of) back to normal, I'm trying to get back on track with everything! For the last couple of weeks, my students have focused on shapes in math. This is one of my favorite units! It's a shame ours has to be so short. We use a ton of songs like the one from Teacher Tipster that my kids love and plenty of centers involving play-doh and geoblocks. I love hearing all the academic language my kiddos learn while they're exploring and creating shapes! Here are some pictures of the centers we use:
How are you practicing shapes with your students? I love new center ideas!
Just throwing this one in for fun because we're dog sitting for my all time favorite girl this week! Caddy is such a jelly bean when she's here, but he loves it, too. Hopefully even with all this moving ahead of me I'll be able to post soon!
Earlier this week I saw Ms. K's Little Rays post on Daily 5 which got me thinking about how mine run. I love love love my literacy centers every day! Every year I am constantly changing bits and pieces to make it better for each of my classes. One part of my literacy centers that has always been tough for me to keep organized is the meet the teacher station. How is it that I can keep my kiddos organized, but I can't always keep ME organized??
I've had these bin organizers for a couple of years and I've never had a great use for them. I've used them for extra supplies and I tried using them for word work - neither things were effective uses of the space.
When my friend and professional organizer Danielle helped me put my room together this year, we really wanted to make these bins work. We decided to have them essentially be the command center of my guided reading materials. This has worked out perfectly for me! In previous years, all of my materials were scattered in several different places and I never felt fully prepared during groups. I was always up and around looking for letter mats or whiteboards. Now I have everything in one spot right behind my table.
For now, post-its are a perfect temporary labeling system for these bins until I get a firm idea of where I want everything. Activities, as you know, are ever changing during small groups so whatever labels I end up using will need to be easily removable so I can switch them out easily. Right now, most of my students are working on a Pre-A level. We're using a lot of letter and name activities. Here's what I have in these bins so far:
Having this system has helped my groups to move so smoothly because I have everything ready and prepped for each group and it's all in one spot! Another thing that my kindergarteners work hard on is knowing when I'm unavailable to them during centers. I always try to have a clear signal that shows them that my attention is needed at my group and that I cannot be interrupted. I have tried several things and this year I'm using a lamp behind my table. If the light is one, it signifies that I'm working with a group and cannot be interrupted. It's working well so far!
There is always room for improvement, so I'm sure that this will be ever-changing throughout the year! I'm already prepping mix & fix activities for our sight words. How do you set up your meet with the teacher stations?