Sunday, September 25, 2011

drying rack tags

Another system that I have found to work well is laminated class tags that I can quickly throw on top of wet work in the drying rack to tell me later in the day which class it belongs to (I tend to forget.) I started out with only one set, but ended up making another for each class to label piles of completed work as well. Previously, I was quickly scribbling down the class on scrap paper, but that system failed as I would forget to actually put it in the rack and/or I would have to make a new label nearly every class period. So far, all systems go- problem solved!


Well, similar to the "Freshman 15 club" in college, I may be a member of the "First-year 15 club" this year. One of the perks of being an Elementary Teacher, visits from the smiling, gift bearing Star of the Day or birthday boys and girls. I just cannot resist the sweet treats from these children.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

First Grade Planted a Rainbow

First Grade created beautiful flower collages inspired by the book, Planting a Rainbow by Milwaukee's Lois Elhert. As you can see, there is a theme in the art room-- the First Grader's also kicked off the start of the school year by studying color. After we read the book I placed a paint try on each table with a big glob of white tempera and a big glob of blue tempera and some sponge squares. We talked about how the sky can look many different ways depending on weather, and each sky painting will look different, and left it at that to see what they came up with. The next class period they added the "color wheel" pedals and the other plant parts using different methods that they discovered throughout the class period. I was impressed by the individuality of each flower. While reflecting on the past two weeks, I have discovered something we need to work on in the room- there is no right or wrong answer! From Kindergarten, all the way up to Fourth Grade I have student's asking "is this right?" "how am I doing?" Which is fine sometimes, but I would like to work on decision making skills and self confidence.  Onto Kandinsky!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kindergarten Painted Turtles

The Kindergarten's have been busy created "painted turtles." This was a quick two day activity, day one: finger painting stations. I placed one container of each color on each of the 6 work tables in the room. I put one drop of paint on each triangle of the color wheel to guide the kindergartner's through the sequence of colors. Each table rotated together, carrying their painting throughout the room until they had finger painted with their "paint brush" a.k.a. pointer finger, all 6 colors of the color wheel. Day 2: They traced (some created their own), cut out, and attached the body parts. This was hilarious! I had to bite my tongue and try not ask "is this the head, arm or leg..?" They did a great job, and now they are on display in our LMC story area!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Artist of the Month

Each month, Swallow Students will be studying a different Artist here in the art room. Some classes will study the artist at length, others may not depending on our unit sequence throughout year. This month we've been busy with Kandinsky!

more systems!

Referring to the job chart in my earlier post, only the "Supply Master's" come up to the supply "pick up" to gather the supplies for their entire table. The job chart colors rotate every month to change up responsibilities in the room.

"This is where broken pencils come during class so we don't waste time sharpening pencils with a loud, cranky sharpener." Looks like I've got a lot of inpatients.

all SYSTEMS go

This sign I made to hang on the door the days that we need smocks. It has seemed to cut back (not completely eliminate) the question of..."do we need smocks today Ms. Stewart?" over and over when they enter the room.

This corner of the classroom is a go to for students that are ahead of the rest of the class. I really would like not to have much "free draw" time allowed, rather an area with "creative challenges"with some experimentation/creation as well.

Job Chart. Best thing ever. Each students has a little colored tab next to their seat that corresponds with the job chat. I have four different categories: Team Leader, Assistant Team Leader, Supply Master, and Clean-up King or Queen. So far, this has worked wonderfully, they student pride themselves on their classroom responsibility. This system was put in place to maintain classroom order, give the students as much time as possible to work, and provide students  with an environment where they rely on one another mainly and work collaboratively.   

I can't take complete credit for this system. It as actually something that I observed a first grader doing. He finished a few minutes early, so I asked him to walk around and collect scraps from other tables in the classroom. I over heard him saying "Trash Truck, Beep, Beep!" First of all, I thought it was pretty cute, and then I had an "ah haa" moment and thought this is a great way to get the scraps picked up before they leave the room. I made signs for my recycling and trash bins and now the students are now asking when they finish if they can "take out the recycling truck." Heck yes you can.
Systems. Systems. Systems!

and so it begins

Well, So far so good- I have survived the first couple of weeks as a first year teacher, yay! Messy, tired (ugh delete... make that completely exhausted some nights) but could not be happier. Now,  If I only had as much energy as a five year old...