Monday, July 29, 2013

Math Center Organization

I recently purchased math bin labels from That's So Second Grade to help my organization of this year's centers. The problem I have with my classroom is that there isn't much wall space considering I have three 8 foot book shelves all being used for books which leaves me with very little wall space to work with. I don't know about you, but I literally dream about my classroom when decorating it... it is pathetic, I must admit. I didn't know where I was going to put bins if I purchased them so in my dream I remembered about another awesome purchase from Craigslist! This shelf that had pull down drawers that I remembered using for myself last year near my teacher desk to hold thank you cards, birthday rewards and other misc. items. I woke up in the middle of the night just to count how many math labels I had and it was fate. I had 9 pull down drawers and there were 9 labels!! YEA!!!! :) So the next morning, I drove to school and immediately moved the lovely white shelf which was extremely heavy but very worth every little bit of sweat to get it in the corner near my manipulatives! 

TA DA!!! I LOVE it! :) 

 Here is a blurry close up of the labels. (Sorry.... my camera phone...) Each label has a topic with common core standards listed below it. 

Here is a sneak peak inside of the drawer to get a clue as to what I put in each drawer. 

I laminate all center activities and place them in a laminated manila pocket folder. I glue on the name of the game before laminating making the games look all pretty! :) 

My next project will be finding an area for Word Work and LA activities! 

Have a great week! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Reading and Writing Menu Freebie!

Hi all!! I have been trying to find a way to organize myself and my students this year with a student planner from That's So Second Grade. This girl is genius! When stumbling across this post, I had the "WOW! That would have made my life easier last year!" moment. I purchased her student planner pack along with "Cupcake For Teacher" monthly behavior charts to add to the planner with my specific behavior chart. I was thinking about how I can keep my students accountable for their learning even when they are reading at home so I thought I would include a CAFE menu with a Daily reading log with a column for the goal they are working on each time I conference with the student. I will add this to the student planner and when I conference with the student they can write their goal we discussed that day in the blank to work on that goal when they read at home until we establish a new reading goal.

I am also including a writing menu that correlates to the Lucy Calkins Writing Workshop model. I will not include this in the student planner but will place this in their writing folder in class to refer to during individual conferences. This is a tweaked version from's version of a writing menu from pinterest. I added stretch word to hear all sounds, and conjunctions to my version of the menu.

Preview of Reading Goals


CAFE Reading Menu, Reading Log, and Writing Menu  - TPT store

Reading Menu, Reading Log, and Writing Menu - GoogleDocs

I hope you are able to use these in your classroom and find them helpful! :) Enjoy the rest of your day!!!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tissue Paper Borders

So, my elementary school had to move the entire building into another temporary building for about two years in order to work on renovations. Today, I was finally able to be in my classroom! At the beginning of July, I began taking a class towards my Masters in Reading and have had no time to breath! Until today..... :) Yes, I went to school on a Saturday to decorate the bulletin boards because I was dying to get into my classroom to prepare for next year! Well, can I just say that it was very spooky being in the building all by myself and I had a case of paranoia every time I heard something in the background!? Needless to say, I couldn't find the hall light switch and immediately felt like I was in the middle of walking into a horror movie scene....luckily I survived! :)

While I was visiting my awfully hot classroom (old, old, oooooold building), I worked on my favorite thing to do! Bulletin boards!!! To be honest, when I was first hired last year, all I could think about was which bulletin board I would have for reading, writing, math etc. and how I would decorate them... ha! Nothing has changed this year! :)

Here is a little tutorial on how to do tissue paper borders which I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to do.

1. First cut tissue paper into strips.

2. Take the strip of tissue paper and pinch like so. 

3. Then staple the spot where the tissue paper was pinched.

4. Next, gather the remaining tissue paper, pinch and staple. 

(This will take a good amount of staples to finish the border.)

Finally, the finished product!

If you feel that the staple pressed the tissue paper flat, just brush your hand over it to fluff it up. :) 

Very simple and very cute for any classroom! 

I tried using strips of paper last year from a Pinterest pin and I found it really hard to make the paper look a certain way. The tissue paper is really easy to work with and suited the look I wanted for my classroom. 

Try it out and tell me what you think! :) 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Library Bench and Bookshelf

Hi all! My name is Kelly and I am a second year teacher embarking on a new journey of teaching second grade! I recently finished my very first year of teaching first grade. I couldn't tell you how happy I was to find a teaching job in a grade in which I had fallen in love with. I tutored first graders for four year in my undergrad program within the same classroom. I had the best opportunity of student teaching with the teacher who I learned so much from. Though, I found out fast throughout my first year of teaching things go a little differently with just a single adult in the room. Students do not have another person to go to to ask questions, deal with little problems that arise as the other carries on the lesson, etc.  A LOT was learned my first year! This blog will be a place to share my new creations of classroom organization (I absolutely LOVE DIY projects thanks to HGTV and Pinterest), classroom management, and teaching ideas for all to use! I hope you will be able to find my blog helpful to incorporate some ideas you find here in your classroom! :)

First things first, last summer I had a summer project including a reading bench for my classroom library and this summer wasn't any different.

Library reading bench created last summer. The bookshelf is from Ikea and I reused my memory foam from my twin bed from college to make the cushion. I simply folded the memory foam once to make the cushion. You may need to trim the foam to make it fit. My sweet, sweet mother sewed the cover for the bench. I found the cupcake fabric at Walmart. This fabric became the inspiration for my classroom last year and by the end of the year all the students were saying, "Miss Dorsey, you must reallllyy like cupcakes! You have them everywhere!" And I did. But to be honest, I wasn't much of a fan of cupcakes until this print. Imagine that! 

 As I learned from my father, you can find ANYTHING on craigslist! :) As I was searching for a kidney table I stumbled upon a fabulous lady who was selling these AWESOME bookshelves that would be perfect for my new classroom! So with my HGTV goggles of seeing what this lovely piece of furniture could be, I got, I mean my father got acquainted with his sander and paint....I helped too :). 

The bookshelf before....

Voila!! The improved bookshelf! A colorful addition to my new classroom! :) The color of paint used for the top and backing of the bookshelf was called Limolicious from Lowe's. It is under the Valspar brand! I fell in love right away when I saw the paint chip in the store. :)

Yea, my dad retired from the painting task and let me take over for the second coat :) 

I think I went to four different Target stores to find those wonderful book bins across the top... They were only $3 and hold up better than the paper bins for a dollar. Parent gift cards to Target were a big help with this purchase. 

Other book bins were found at the wonderful Dollar Tree and Hobby Lobby store. :) Thanks for stopping by!