Friday, 7 September 2012


So my new obession at the moment is using velcro in my room. Here in England there is this stuff called Blu-Tac, which is basically like stretchy putty that you can stick to stuff and then stick anywhere you like .... supposedly. I have a love/hate relationship with the stuff. Love it because its so easy to use, hate it because  after awhile posters and papers start dropping off my wall and sometimes there is a blue residue leftover.
Cue the velcro idea! I saw some great classroom job charts on Pinterest and decided this would be perfect to keep my room immaculate this year. I had originally thought about using popsicle sticks in paper envelopes, or something along those lines. Then I though about sticking the students name under a job with blue tac ... but then ... inspiration.
I decided to use velcro strips under a job heading.
I then took each students picture and laminated them. Behind each picture was the otherside of the velcro strip. I put all the pics in a plastic sleeve and stuck that on the chart with velcro. I hated the way the sleeve hung open so decided to create a fastener for that with velcro as well. (See the obsession starting!)
I then was able to randomly select a student and stick their face under a classroom job. I thought this would also be handy if I ever had a sub because they could instantly see who was responsible for our room tasks.


Thursday, 6 September 2012

The First Day

So today was the first day of Year 3, not only for my 25 students, but for me. My school is a junior school which means that students come up to us from infant school. These poor kids have gone from being the top dogs at their school which only went to 1st grade (Kindergartern here starts at 4, so they have 3 years in infant school), to being the tiniest newbies at the big scary junior school. It was so weird having to teach the children EVERYTHING about the school, from how to line up at break time, to getting them to sit in their seats for more than a minute.
I hope I'm not the only person in the world who really doesn't love the first day of school. This is mainly because of the tediousness of the whole day. I know its about getting to know the kids but I can't wait to start having a timetable with specific lessons. Tomorrow I'm going to attempt my first planned lesson. I'll be using the book First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg. This is perfect for my new students and I'm hoping to get some great text-to-self connections.
On a totally unrelated note I have spent the WHOLE summer agonising about how I want to teach and making my displays. I love/hate Pinterest for their abundance of ideas. Now one difference I notice between teaching here and being in the states is that teachers in the states are OBSESSED with their displays and classroom themes. In saying that teachers also love spending their own money on their classroom. This is ony things I have brought over here with me, much to my fiancee's displeasure. In England teachers ... not so obsessed with their displays or classroom themes. In fact, most of the time their displays are made by the teaching assistants. I had a hard time letting the teaching assistants label my kids books. Secondly, teachers here do NOT spend their own money on their room. It's so strange to be in a school where I can copy, laminate, use paint and cardstock, without feeling extreme guilt or worrying how far away the nearest copy place is.
So back to the displays... I spend literally 4 whole days making my displays and its looks like they took ten minutes. I'm hoping for the payoff somewhere down the line. How long do you take to make your displays? Do you spend your own money for your room?


PS: A big thanks to Second Grade Shenanigans, Clutter Free ClassroomLadybug's Teacher Files for inspiring me so much this summer. I can't wait to use all the tips and resources you have suggested.

 My pride - spotty tray labels, mind you this was after a whole set of labels had already been made and laminated for me. They didn't have spots or the font I wanted so I spent ages remaking and putting them on the trays.
 Main wall with IWB. I've had to get creative with the space.
 House point area - students get house points from all adults in school for doing well with their work, being kind and a myriad of other things. They are given a house when they join the school Each week the housepoints are counted and the house with the most points for the week gets the housepoint trophy.
Red = Windsor, Green = Buckingham, Blue = Balmoral, Yellow = Sandringham
Unfortunately I made the 'objectives' circles before I knew where I was going to put them, so I've crammed them in .. kinda hard to read but was determined not to spend more time with my circle cutter. Frames idea from Pinterest (of course) - will write my maths, literacy and other subjects objectives on the glass. They will be displayed for the whole day so kids can reference what they are doing. 
 Awards area
 Flowers are all different parts of writing. In each petal is an example and the leaf has the part of writing.
 Writing Wall

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