Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Show & Tell Tuesday - Back to School Time!


Show & Tell Tuesday is here just in time for my first week getting in back to school mode!

This has been my happy place for most of the summer!  I will miss my long summer days spent on the lake but look forward to the fall weekends!




Jake's fraternity had their annual parent's day this past weekend which includes a fundraising auction for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.  After all the baskets were auctioned off, they auctioned off throwing pies at your favorite Delt.  Jake was certainly a good sport, and Barnaby was there to help get him cleaned off!



I have just barely begun to get ready for back to school.  My first little project was an idea I saw on Fifth in the Middle.  I love this name stick holder which you make with two Crystal Light containers!  Once you pull a stick, you can put it into the slot on the other side so you know which ones haven't been pulled yet.  You can read all about how to make one here.  

Use empty Crystal Light containers to create a name stick holder.

Here's my version...





I can't wait to use it!

 Now here's what you need to know to link up and share your Show & Tells!

Linky Information:

1. This is a monthly linky.  The idea is to “Show” up to four pictures of things from school, home, etc. and “Tell” us all about them.  Created the most amazing bulletin board ever?  Show & Tell us about it!  Have the best seats at a Red Wings game, right next to the bench?  Show & Tell us about it!  Play the best game at a party with your class?  Have a pet that just got the worst haircut ever?  Show & Tell us about it!  Only have one thing to Show & Tell about?  Not a problem! 

2. Product promotion will be limited to one and only if you are introducing a brand new product or sharing pictures of how you just used a product in your classroom.  The focus should be on sharing, not pushing things to sell. 

3. Please choose one of your Show & Tell pictures as your image for the thumbnail and type your blog name to go below the picture. 

4.  Use the main Show & Tell Tuesday button and link back to my post.  Use the numbered Show & Tell buttons in your post to share your pictures.

5. Please leave comments on at least three other posts, including the ones before and after yours.  It's always nice to get feedback from your blogging buddies! 






Saturday, August 5, 2017

Classroom Management & Discipline Series - Setting Up Your Classroom

August is really underway, no matter how much we wish July could linger.  Back to school season is upon us, and it's time to switch gears and get ready.  Some of you may be about to embark on your first teaching experience, and many of you, like me, have goals for improving upon yourself as a teacher for the upcoming school year.  This is one of the things I like most about my job.  There is a clear beginning and end to each year, with time in between for me to reflect and plan how to make things better for my next group of kids.

Over the last twenty-six summers, I have spent time thinking about how to modify and improve every aspect of my craft.  What's a better use of my classroom space?  What bulletin boards will be most useful for my students?  (And stay up the longest!)  How could I teach this subject in a way that would be more interesting to my students?  How could I involve parents more?  How could I manage discipline more effectively?  This last question is so important.  Classroom management is key to a quality learning environment.  Students are going to have a difficult time learning if the classroom is out of control, and you are going to be stressed out every morning when you walk through your classroom door to face the day.

Whether you are about to begin your first year of teaching and are unsure about how to set up a classroom when it comes to discipline or if you are a returning teacher who feels that this might be an area in which you could improve, I hope to give you some strategies that will strengthen your classroom management in this blog series about classroom management and discipline.


If you are like me, the first thing you have to do when you return to school is prepare the physical space of your classroom.  You may not realize it, but the layout of your classroom and arrangement of furniture should be done in a manner to promote positive behavior.

The first thing you should decide is which wall will be considered the front of the classroom.  You may not have a choice, if you just have one marker board or chalkboard.  This is a picture of my classroom, and the pink arrow is pointing to the marker board which is the front of my room.


Once you have identified the front of the classroom, you should have your desk or table situated so that your back is to the front of the classroom.  In other words, you are facing the back of the classroom.  The picture above is taken from my chair, showing the "Mrs. Rye's eye view".  Below you can see my work space from the students' point of view...


I have a horseshoe table with five stools tucked behind the curtain for when I want to work with students.  All of my teaching materials are on shelves behind my desk.  You want your desk or work station placed at the front of the classroom so that your facing your class when you are sitting at your desk.  In the past I have had a table in the back of my classroom where I worked with students.  But the old saying is so true...out of sight, out of mind!  It makes a huge difference if your students see your face, especially if you have perfected your teacher look!  Your students will be more likely to be off task and not working if they can't see you.  

Also, if I am working with only one student, then I have them sit next to me on my side of the table.  That way they are not blocking my view of the class or any student's view of me.  While I'm working with that student, my eyes periodically sweep the room.  If I see someone off task, I keep coming back to them with my eyes until they look up and see me.  I give them my raised eyebrow "get back to work" look and that's usually all it takes.  You may be wondering, what if they never look at me?  Well, often times when students are doing something they know they aren't supposed to be, they do look at you to see if you are looking at them.  They will become accustomed to the fact that you are always aware of the whole classroom, not just the student(s) working with you.  

Once I have identified where my work area will be, then I can arrange my student desks.  The most important factor when placing student desks is to minimize the number of students who would have their back to the front of the room where the marker board or chalkboard is.  This could be accomplished easily by putting the entire class in front facing rows, and though I sometimes end up there by necessity, I don't typically start my year with that arrangement.  Besides the fact that it takes up more room and the rows inch forward all day, my goal is to have the students working with partners and in small groups.  


I arrange my desks in groups of six.  I do this for a couple of reasons.  I want everyone to have a partner, and my file box shelves each have six spots.  (Click here for information about the file box shelves.)  When putting the group together, I move the back two desks (where the arrows are pointing) so that they are facing the front of the class.  The other two pairs, who are facing each other, only have to turn to the side to look at the board.  I think groups of four are great as well.  Each student has a partner, and the whole group can also work together.  With a group of four, I place them facing each other, so they only have to turn to the side to look at the board.  If I turned the group with a pair facing the board straight on, then I would have two students with their backs to the board.  


Often times, we do not have as much space in our classrooms as we would like.  One way to conserve space is to push desks right up against a wall.  


One problem with doing this is that two of the rows (see arrows) now have their backs completely to the board.  Worse yet, I can't see their faces, and they can't see mine if I'm sitting at my desk.  I still put a couple groups against a wall, but then I have to be very careful about who I seat in those two rows.  I will discuss seating charts in another post in this series.  

Once my groups are all arranged, I can design my favorite part of the room, the library!  When configuring your library, it's not just about where to house your books.  Our classroom library is the much coveted comfy reading area!  So, I have to do what I can to ensure that students will actually read in the reading area instead of talk.  How do you do that?  It comes down once again to being seen.  If your reading area has places where a student can hide and not be seen, then sometimes kids will try to take advantage of that to do things other than read.  So, when designing your library, put all tall shelves on the outside perimeter (in the back or on the right or left side).  


I also place chairs on one of these three sides.


I put nothing or only very low items on the front perimeter, the side that is closest to the front of the room and my desk.  The reason is that you want to be able to see everyone who is reading on the carpet.  If they know you can see them, they are more likely to do what they are supposed to do.  Sometimes a student will be laying on the floor, and I can't see their face.  In that case, I make sure to check on them as I'm walking around the room to confer with students, and I also take note when other individuals in the reading area keep looking in their direction.  That is a sign that they are not reading.  

Taking the extra time to arrange your room with discipline in mind will pay off dividends when those students arrive!  



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Back to School Sale and Giveaway!

It's time to start wrapping my head around the idea of going back to school!  The first thing I'm going to do is grab some of the things on my wishlist during the side wide Back to School Sale!


Everything in my store is on sale as well!  Already discounted bundles are an extra 10% off, and everything else is 20% off!  Plus, don't forget to use the promo code BTS2017 to get the extra 5% off courtesy of TPT.  Click here to head to my store.

I was also lucky enough to win a $10 TPT gift card that I can now pass along to one of you!  Enter below, and a winner will be chosen at midnight on August 2nd.  I'll send it your way so you have time to spend it on Wednesday.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, July 28, 2017

Glorious Giveaways!

July is winding down, and though I'm sad to see it go, I'm happy to share three more fabulous giveaways to close out this month of great deals!


Be sure to enter each one!



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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Half Off & Dollar Deals!


Tuesday means it's time to take half off a couple of products that will help you with back to school!  I have been doing a 40 book challenge for several years after reading The Book Whisperer, and my 40 Book Challenge Bundle helps me and my students keep track of all the books they have read.  Below you can see the bulletin board where my students' books are tracked all year.  


Each student also has a 40 Book Challenge reading log where they keep track of all the books they read (including the ones they don't finish) and which genres they have read.  They also have notes on each genre plus their list of books they would like to read in the future.  This set has everything you need to create a bulletin board and reading log for your students.


Today you can grab it for half off in my TPT Store!

Every year I devote one of my bulletin boards to my classroom helpers.  This is the board I have had up for the past couple years...


Each student has a card with their picture on it and velcro on the back.  I have small pieces of velcro on the bulletin board under each job, which makes it easy to change them out every couple of weeks.  You can create your own bulletin board with my Classroom Helpers Bulletin Board Set #2.  It's also editable!



Check it out in my TPT Store today where it is also half off!

I didn't have the time or energy on Sunday to let you know about my dollar deals for Monday this week, so I'm extending them through today!


I have tried several different ways to display my learning targets, and this is by far the one that works best for me.  I have a space on my whiteboard with each of the subjects I teach.  Each morning I just write it with a marker.  



I have a free version which you can grab here, or today you can get the editable version for just $1 by clicking here!


Extended through today, you can also grab my Close Reading Bookmark & Bulletin Board Set for just a buck.  


I saw my students referencing their bookmarks throughout the year...

along with our bulletin board. 


Take a closer look in my TPT Store!

Take some time to browse through the other half off deals by clicking here.




Friday, July 21, 2017

More Glorious Giveaways!


We are giving away many more fabulous gift cards this week, so be sure to enter each one below!  Best of luck!



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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Two $$ Treats Thursday


My $2 dollar deals today are all about classroom management.  My Thanksgiving to Christmas Classroom Behavior Incentive will save your sanity in those crazy weeks between the holidays!  You can read all the details about how this works (and it really does work!) here.  

You can implement this behavior incentive on your own without my bundle or save yourself a little time and grab it in my TPT Store today for just $2!



My second classroom management product can be used at any time of the year, but I like to use it during the last marking period of the year when fifth graders are at their craziest, and I'm just about out of patience!  A classroom economy is just what you need to whip those kiddos in shape!  Students earn money by doing the things they should already be doing (but for some reason are not!), and they pay bills and buy privileges.  It is truly a lifesaver at the end of the year!  Check it out in my TPT Store.



Find all of the other $2 deals here.