Oh how I love summer days! There’s so much more time in the schedule for time with family & friends, yoga sessions, Target trips, patios and evening walks. Even with all that, I can still find time to work on classroom projects!
CLASSROOM JOBS BOARD
First up on the summer to-do list…my classroom jobs board!
Classroom jobs and I go waaay back and it’s been a rocky relationship! You see, first-year-teacher-me decided that I should have classroom jobs. (Important to note here: I started teaching in 2008. Pre-Pinterest, TpT, Instagram, and teacher blogs – or at least I didn’t know they existed yet). My jobs plan wasn’t stemming from any particular need. I had simply seen them in other classrooms so off I went to make a job board.
Actually a job TREE. A giant JOB TREE. Mmmmhmmm. My theme was monkeys (fitting as you’ll see in a moment). Soooo, what goes with monkeys? Bananas!! Yuuup, I loaded that tree up with bananas with jobs. I created enough jobs so that EVERY child would have a job each week.
That tree took me forrrreeevvver. As did explaining all the jobs to my new first graders. The first few weeks went rather smoothly. Until, I started hearing, “Hey! I already did that job!” on Monday mornings.
UGH! I had NO SYSTEM for rotating the monkeys. As you know, our little ones take these things very seriously soooo I had to take the time to try and sort it out each week. It drove me BANANAS!!!! In every sense. Let me tell you, taking that banana tree down was therapy. Lesson learned. The hard way.
Fast forward to now. I’ve dabbled in jobs but found that creating and maintaining the job chart didn’t tend to be worth the effort most years. I had reduced the number of jobs after the Great Banana Fiasco of 2008 but it was still a hassle to manage. Channeling my inner Marie Kondo (before I even knew who she was), it wasn’t bringing me joy so I got rid of them entirely!
I’d happily come to terms with my decision to scrap classroom jobs UNTIL I realized that there were parts of the day that were a constant source of grief…lining up, taking attendance to the office, desk duty.
Since I didn’t have a system for choosing helpers, it would become a chorus of “Pick me! Ooooh me! He JUST had a turn! I NEVER get picked!” While I have ‘Lucky Duck’ sticks for choosing volunteers during learning activities, I didn’t want to mix the two.
That would leave me to randomly choose helpers and my choices usually didn’t go over well. 1 happy child. 19 disappointed children. Not the odds I’m looking for ;). Soooo, cue the return of the classroom jobs system but with a small difference this time…
I’M BRINGING NUMBERS BACK!
One of the reasons I avoided the job chart (among many….cue the banana tree flashbacks) was the amount of time it took to set up. With all the things we have to label and prepare, creating another set of laminated name cards for the job chart never made it to the top of my priority list.
So I’ve decided to use a number system. I’ve experimented with using students numbers over the years but never fully committed to the system. I struggled with how impersonal it felt to assign numbers to my little first graders. BUT I also don’t want to have to create name tags for the job board every year either.
My compromise is to present my first graders with their numbers in a way that makes it fun & special. I’m thinking a big NUMBER REVEAL day and some follow-up activities. Stay tuned!! I’ve got some awesome ideas swirling around in my head which I’ll share once I actually make them happen ;).
Back to the job chart…I found this tin plaque at Walmart for $4 and it’s exactly what I needed! In fact, I should’ve grabbed a couple more as they’re great quality and could have so many uses in the classroom.
And now it looks like this:
I laminated and glued magnets on the back of the number circles.
The magnetic numbers store perfectly on the back of the board when not in use! No extra baskets or containers needed!
I use two colors because I teach in an Immersion program and have 2 classes.
‘I CAN’ STUDENT GOAL CARDS
We talk about goals A LOT in my classroom! It’s important that my kiddos realize that everyone is working on something! It may be academic, social or behavioral. It’s important that we talk about these goals openly because I want my kiddos to support, encourage and celebrate each other. Some of my absolute favorite teaching memories are of my little ones celebrating one another for accomplishing a goal!
I decided to pull out the IKEA Tolsby frames that had been sitting in my cupboard and I created these I CAN cards. They’re perfect for displaying visual reminders of goals and they don’t take up too much space on desks. Yay! They’re a freebie in my tpt shop and you can grab them by clicking on the photos.
A LITTLE DIY PROJECT
Spray paint is one of my favorite ways to freshen up older classroom items. It’s amazing what a difference it can make! Funny story about this mailbox. It was actually on its way out of my classroom. I’d purchased it many years ago when I taught Kindergarten and it had been relegated to the depths of my classroom closet.
During my end-of-year decluttering, I decided it was time for us to part ways. I put it out on the table in the ‘donate pile’ and my first graders started asking all kinds of questions about it!
It had some blank envelopes and index cards in it and they had a blast playing with it for the last few days of school! Now I just had to keep it!! My wheels started turning about how I could use it in my classroom next year. It could be used for Love Notes about acts of kindness, I Wish My Teacher Knew notes, or letters from our new classroom mascot (whom you’ll be meeting soooon)!
While it’s future isn’t clear yet, it has a fresh new look and I’m in looove with this color!!
WORD WALL OVERHAUL
As you may have seen in Part 2 of my Classroom Makeover series, I’m updating my classroom word wall this year too! I replaced the washi tape before heading home for the summer so it was time to get to work creating letter and word cards to match my new Calm & Cozy decor. I created 2 styles of letter cards but I keep flip-flopping on which one to use!! Good thing I’m not responsible for making any important decisions these days!
I use a color system for my first grade word wall so the words are grouped into sets of 20. Once I finish introducing a set, we do quick assessments and then move on to the next color. This system has been amazing for differentiating during centers because my students can play games with the color set that they need to review.
ODDS & ENDS
Before I get to the fun little purchases I’ve made, here are a few other projects that have kept me busy!
Full disclosure here: I have not been consistent with updating our class visual schedule for the past year or so. During our morning meeting I always give my firsties an overview of our day but I’m making it a goal to keep the visual schedule updated too.
Maybe I should make myself an I CAN card?! “I CAN update the schedule.” 🙂
To make it a little more fun, I created these little cards to highlight special events and to draw attention to changes in our regular schedule. I’ll place them beside the schedule cards. Maybe they will keep me motivated?!
A new number line is also in the works…debating whether I trust myself enough to cut these with scissors or if I should wait until I have access to the paper cutter. #bigdecisions
Here are a few goodies that I picked up for my classroom!
Okay, here comes my absolute favorite purchase! My class is getting a mascot this year and it took me a while to find one. And I’m in loooove already! Are you ready to meet our new yeti?!?!?
I ordered my yeti from Melissa at warmpersonality on Etsy. And I couldn’t be happier!! It arrived quickly and everything made me smile…from the ‘infused with love’ stamps on the box, the beautiful packaging to the sweetest, handwritten note from Melissa.
And then it was love at first sight…
I know my first graders are going to fall in love with him too! Now I just have to figure out a plan for his big arrival! And a name… hmmmmm! I’m not sure YETI 😉 Any suggestions?!?!
With love, from my classroom to yours,