News Flash!

Pumpkin book reports are coming along nicely!
Your pumpkin decorating portion is due Oct. 19th.


Check for more pertinent CAPS/Forest View information and dates!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Is is really March in Northern Michigan?!

The weather this week has been A-mazing!!! I couldn't help but want to take our classroom, I did! I mean, why not!?! The weather was in the 70's and 80's, the sun was bright, and everyone wanted to be out there anyway.

I think the children enjoyed learning outside as much as I loved teaching outside! Most of the furniture in our classroom is light, on wheels, and fits through our back I just hauled it all out. We are SO VERY LUCKY to be in a newer building, and my classroom has a back door that opens up to our very spacious playground. We certainly utilized all our spaces this week. Check out what we did!! 

Here, Ethan R. is working on 'Write Around the Room'....and he's finding words/letters as close to the outdoors as he can! 

We took music and movement outside! How cool are we to have an electrical outlet right outside our door? Might as well use it! 

Look how focused and on task we are! The children are not a bit distracted---they are so enjoying learning in the great outdoors! 

Have water table on wheels, will travel! 
These friends are fishing for magnetic letters, and looking for numbers on our floating number ducks. 

Clara decides that Free Choice time outdoors might be nice! 
She heads outside to play some ball with a few classmates! 

Some children opted to stay inside for Free Choice.
Another benefit of having two teachers - we can keep an eye on indoor and outdoor activities!

These friends are using manipulatives from the math center to count, sort, and make pictures with pattern blocks! I think Matt might need some shades---the sun is so bright!

This week we've been working on Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Zaeanna loves to re-tell the story using the story props in our large group area!

Have sand table on wheels, will travel!
Scoop, dig, bury, build, pour, dump out, talk----lots of discovery going on here! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Make-Over Sunday

Today was Make-Over Sunday for a 1st grade teacher friend of mine, Mrs. Jennings! She had won an Ambush Makeover from myself and my good Kindergarten teacher friend, Mrs. Ouwinga!

Mrs. Jennings is a VERY organized, fun, hands-on teacher. She certainly has fun in First! But, like all of us, the days are BUSY working with our littles ones who need so much of our time. And the end of the day - it's time to switch gears and go home to our own families. Mrs. Jennings is also a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a talented quilter. Time is definitely limited! Like so many of us, Mrs. Jennings uses her desk to toss things on her way to the next lesson, activity, specials class, meeting, or working with students. It piles up, and sometimes it's hard to dig out! So-----Mrs. O and I put our heads together and wanted to help her out!

Mrs. O and I are preparing to present in a couple of weeks at the Michigan Association for Early Childhood Education (MiAEYC). Our session is called: File Cabinet Rebellion - Get your Classroom Organized! The other day, while we were getting organized for our conference, Mrs. Jennings happened to mention that her desk need an overhaul. We decided to ambush her - and she was a really good sport about it! Check out the video....

I hope Mrs. Jennings likes her new make-over. I can hardly believe she refrained from coming in to check on me today. She gave me full reign of her teacher space----I can only imagine how hard that must be! I'm honored she put her trust in me - and in return she gets a fun, tidy area---and I get to show other teachers how easy it is to spiffy up their space! 

Here's some before and afters....

Mrs. Jennings' desk (before)

Teacher closets (behind Mrs. Jennings' desk - before)

Under her desk (before)...

Desk drawer 1 - before

Desk drawer 2 - before

Desk drawer 3 - before

What we need are...
1. storage containers/bins
2. Lots of sorting
3. A couple hours of time 

That's it!

We created an "In Box" - everyone needs somewhere to drop notes, paperwork, homework, etc.
At the end of the day - take 10 minutes to file it! It will be nice to see a clean box each morning - ready for the day! 

When working for someone else to make their spaces and places happier, I always take into consideration their wants/needs. Mrs. Jennings requested that her AR (Accelerated Reader) jar must stay on her desk. So, we just cute-sied it up a bit! :) 

Bright colors and lots of labels give every item a rightful place! 

A small box for lost and found game pieces is a huge classroom helper! We have lots of games and activities out each day of the week - with dice, cards, counting chips, etc. It's easy for little pieces to not get put away, and then several children bring stray pieces to you the rest of the day. Have a spot where kids can put those pieces---and at the end of the day...take a few moments to get them back where they really belong! 

All of the papers that were taped to the front of the teacher closets have found a place in this binder. These are daily things Mrs. Jennings might like to refer to---progress monitoring forms, classroom library checkout system, forms for central office, things to be mailed, etc. 

A little re-arranging and there is ample space under the desk now! 

Here, regular kitchen containers were used to store like items. A little chalkboard label keeps everything labeled nicely, and can be erased when the contents are changed. No more scrubbing off sticky labels when you want to re-name the contents of a box!! Brilliant! 

Drawer 3 (after). Don't mind the upside down photo! 

No more paper covered closet doors! Just a little decorative paper to please the eyes! Under the cabinets?
Well, maybe another day! 

Sort, sort, sort---sort like items and put in containers!!

In the end, when working on someone else's space/belongings, there are always items that cannot be placed. A medium sized box was left with items that need to go some where other than this newly re-organized space!

We hope you enjoy your new space, Mrs. Jennings! 
You've been RAK'd! 
(That's a Random Act of Kindness)---go try it out on someone! :)