Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What's In My Classroom? (Part 1: Welcome and Favorite Writing Tools)

I don't know about you, but I love online 'room tours.' This trend has been popular on YouTube for many years, I think more particularly in the beauty guru community. They would record themselves as if showing their viewers around their bedroom (Room Tour), apartment (Apartment Tour), and even their bathrooms (What's In My Bathroom?).

I decided to join the bandwagon and do a little online tour of my own, in my classroom.

I know it can be a bit tricky posting things related to your workplace online, especially if you're part of the education industry, but rest assured that nothing here will harm my beneficiaries (i.e., my little kiddos), and all private material (such as full names, grades, portraits, etc.) have either been censored or completely omitted for this entry.

Well, without further ado, here are a few random things you might find interesting in my classroom that you also might want to incorporate in your own study areas, whether you're a classroom or homeschool teacher.

I've divided this topic in two parts. Let me kick things off by showing you the first thing my students and I see and experience upon entering Mrs. Bee's realm...

Clockwise: Door, Bag/Coat Hooks, Calendar, Rug

Hello, Frankie! It's the most wonderful time of the year! Our classroom door is currently a work in progress. It is, obviously, Frankenstein themed, and my students will continue to add Halloween and fall themed decorations such as pumpkins, bats, and spider webs. Of course, we are extra careful about hanging paper decor to comply with fire hazard standards.

First things first: put away your bags and coats! I have always been used to actual cubbies for my students' personal belongings, but all I have now are wall hooks, which I think are even better and add to the warmth and colorful atmosphere in my classroom -- as long as they are organized and neat!

Calendar. Although most 7-year olds have already mastered their calendar skills, I still find it essential to have a visually appealing calendar for them to refer to and for the teacher to further sharpen their knowledge of the months, days, and seasons.

Morning meeting and main instruction area. I am an advocate for instruction that is conducive to learning and friendly to a child's attention span; I find that doing most of my verbal instruction and listening comprehension the criss-cross-apple-sauce-hands-on-your-lap way happens to be the most effective. I am in the process of moving my new SMART Board in this area since I use technology for 95% of my instruction.

Tools for writing! My students each made their own privacy folders for independent writing practice. Second grade is a crucial time for students to learn how to write narratives independently, so we do at least 45 minutes of writing a day. My students are currently practicing with a planning sheet that addresses all aspects of a narrative -- the 5 W's and 1 H (Who, When, Where, What, Why and How). Most of my students still find it a challenge to automatically spell and use words on paper, so I encourage pictures on their planning sheets if they can't think of the word just yet!

What's inside their privacy folders?

(L-R) Feelings Card: Students refer to the pictures to depict the appropriate feeling or emotion for the characters in their stories.

Sound-Spelling Card: This is a great way for students to learn how to independently sound out words and figure out the correct spelling for these words. This basic phonics list includes all learned sounds to their specific letter or combination of letters. This encourages them to decode and encode independently without having to ask time and time again, "Mrs. Bee, how do you spell _____?" during independent writing.

Numbers and Colors: My students are also currently in the process of spelling out numbers and colors correctly, which is good practice and the appropriate standard for formal narrative writing.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my classroom tour...

No comments:

Post a Comment