Hopes and Dreams

It's that time of the year!  Time to learn new routines in the classroom.  Time to practice rules.. and practice... and practice.  It's also time to really take time to STOP and LISTEN to your students.
Who are they?  
What are they looking forward to?  
What are they worried about? 
What do they need, in order for these dreams to come true?

I just love doing Hopes and Dreams with my class.  
It's a chance to individualize and begin our yearlong journey together.  This year, instead of filling out a boring worksheet, I decided to jazz it up!  We made Hopes and Dreams Banners!

The front of the banner has colorful symbols, representing all of their Hopes and Dreams.  The back, hidden to the public, contains their worries and hopes in writing.  My students are SO proud of their banner this year!

I went all out and made a package, inspired by the Responsive Classroom techniques!  It's available in my TPT store.  
I'm working hard on organizing my Pinterest boards!  My new collaborative board is #TeachersFollowTeachers.  This is a place for teachers to share their favorite resources.  Check it out if you're looking for great ideas for your classroom!  If you're interested in joining this board as a collaborator, send me a Pinterest Email!

THANK YOU to all my new followers!  Feel free to repin this, if you're looking for teachers to follow you!

Flexible Seating... It's a start!

I've begun to add a variety of seating options for my upcoming class on 18.  I'll be making changes and am open to any and all feedback/suggestions!

Here's what I have so far:  (NOTE: my room is still partially packed from summer cleaning)

My math center and smart board.. I used to have tables here, now it will be a sitting area.
Wondering if I should get seat cushions??

My new writing center... I've added (thanks to DonorsChoose.org more on that to come!) two bean bag chairs (camoflauge print), 1 football bean bag, a large pink bean bag (in the corner), and so far I have one lap desk.  The green shag rug is new, too!  Although it look a bit putrid here, it's actually bright and vibrant.
Thoughts?  Suggestions?

Student tables: I have 2 round tables and 3 clusters of desks.  I also have a u-table with my new rainbow colored stools.  I love the stools!  I'm feeling like the tables are pretty boring... and they aren't really different or "flexible"... looking for ideas!

Reading nook... I have a small rug, 3 bean bags, one fold out cushion, and a rocking chair.
It's messy now, but I'm pretty happy with the options in here!

My new beautiful rug for Morning Meetings, whole class work, and work with the overhead projector.  It's such a pretty color (in person!)
I wanted to get some seat cushions for this but was worried it would get too cluttery.. thoughts?

I'll be assigning seats for the first week, then will use my table tents (see below) and allow for students to choose a seat for the day.  Eventually, they will have more control over where they sit throughout the day.  I think it will be a process for me and them! :)

Table Tents and Life Cycles? Classroom management meets science!

So... I've been trying to fine-tune my Responsive Classroom techniques for the upcoming school year.   At the same time, I'm starting to move towards flexible seating (more on that later!)

 While rereading (one of my favorites) The First Six Weeks of School, I saw a suggestion about using table tents for table groups.  This got me thinking about how to maintain flexible groups and/or allow for flexible seating and student choice.  I decided to whip up some simple table tents.

Then an idea hit me!  What if I incorporate a variety of species for our upcoming study on life cycles??  That got me excited!  Here is what I ended up with:

 Table Tents

I'm back!

The past two years have been very exciting and busy around here!  In 2014 I gave birth to my son, Lukas.  This year, I gave birth to my daughter, Ella.  My husband and I have made the adjustment to parenthood and are learning every day from our two wonderful children.

In celebration of getting "back in the game" with my blog and creating products, here is a freebie!

This year, I'm gearing up to do my best first six weeks of school--following Responsive Classroom.  I have made a variety of posters to use in setting routines and guidelines.

Here is a free poster on classroom rules (you may use this for substitutes, special area classes, special education, as review, or as a starter list before you generate more specific rules WITH your students). Click on the image for a free download!

If you're interested in seeing all of my new posters (with multiple versions of each one), check them out here:

Cheers to a new and exciting school year!