Saturday, October 24, 2015

Classroom Tour {October Style}

Today I am just here to take you on a quick tour of my classroom in October.
October classroom Crayons and whimsy
Let me be honest and let you know that my desk is never empty on top... EVER! I jut "cleaned" it real quick...which means stuffed things in the drawers.... for the sake of this picture. To the left you see the Deanna Jump inspired palm tree.

Missing from the above picture is one of my favorite features of this classroom... the windows!!!!! So here they are:
October classroom Crayons and whimsy
Those "stained glass" jack-o-lanterns are one of my favorites and you can find the directions for them HERE.

Next, here is a close up of my teaching area:
October classroom Crayons and whimsy
And then my computer is tucked back there and that is my other desk...where actually I spend a bit more time. I got that desk from Ikea because it was small and compact and just worked better than any of the school furniture options.
October classroom Crayons and whimsy kindergarten
Zooming in a bit more... you can see that 1. the desk and my "tablecloth" don't really match. And 2. that really is just a piece of fabric that I am calling a tablecloth. And underneath are many things that I need, don't fit in a filing cabinet and are ugly to look at...so voila... a piece of fabric it is!

Scooting on over to the right, here is my library area:
October classroom Crayons and whimsy kindergarten library
For more on library organization you can see THIS post

October classroom Crayons and whimsy kindergarten

When I first moved into this classroom and saw the HUGE, UGLY trashcan I thought it was ridiculous....why? But it actually comes in handy because we have a ton of trash in kindergarten. Although it is on my to-do list to make it a bit less of an eye sore!
October classroom Crayons and whimsy kindergarten
Above you see the back corner of my room. This is where volunteers and my aide work on prep. You can see my monthly tubs are under there too {usually for the current month and either the previous or future one} This is also where the kids get pulled back to do any crafts that are one on one....such as those orange clay pumpkins you can see.
October classroom Crayons and whimsy kindergarten
I love love love love having bathrooms in my room. For a kinder teacher it just makes life a bit easier. ..sorry if you don't have them. I also love these scuba kids I got from Spring Hill Graphics {which sadly I can't seem to find her store anymore!} I just added some text and had them blown up nice and big! {And I also include this picture to show you that my book shelf isn't as neat and tidy as others... sorry, that is just how I roll}

The picture below is taken from the same spot... I just turned around 180 degrees:
October classroom Crayons and whimsy kindergarten
The turquoise bucket is there for the kids to drop off their "briefcases' as the come on in the room each day. I talk about that more in this post

And that, my friends, is all for today. It's been showing you around my kindergarten world.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Placemats for Easy to Make Centers

Sometimes I need a center or an early finisher activity that is specific to a certain skill... well, not just sometimes... all the time. But sometimes what I need for a particular group or class may be unique and not what I already have.

And I will usually turn to TpT, of course, to remedy this issue.

But occasionally I am in a rush and don't have time to print, laminate and cut a cute new center.... and when that happens this is what I do.....

I make a quick center...usually seasonal.

Here is the one I am going to show you today:

I just made this. I have a ton of upper and lower case letter recognition and matching activities for September. But typically we simmer it down in October usually, moving on to sounds and other skills. This group needs more practice recognizing letters... so I needed a quick fix.

I buy random placemats like these whenever I see them on sale....yep, that is a placemat.

I think I got this one last year... probably on November 1....and it gets thrown in my October drawer. I also will buy themed plates or really anything that is on clearance that I think I can use later.

So could this be any easier?

Here are all my materials: placemat, clothespins and a Sharpie:



I see how many clothespins I can fit... in this case it worked to get 26, which was perfect!
And then we are ready to write... and yes, I realize it isn't 100% equally spaced and some of my letters aren't perfect.....but what is perfect is the part where it took me only ten minutes to make an engaging center my littles NEED and will love!


I tell the kids to leave it just like this when they are finished:

As for me, I will put those clothespins in a Ziploc and clip that onto the placemat. And once in a while I will raffle these off for one friend to take home... usually strategically chosen to be a friend who still needs practice. And I only do that if I don't think I have the room to store it and it won't be needed year after year.

I use placemats for math centers and other literacy skills.... anything where matching happens will work!

So the next time you see some holiday themed placemats on sale...grab them!