A Fresh New Start With a Terrific Group of Students!

It is exciting to be back in school and starting out fresh with a terrific group of kindergartners who are eager to learn. My students first day was Tuesday. Yes! I do have my challenging students but I will do my best to accommodate their needs and support all my students to have a memorable, successful year.  Building classroom culture, learning the rules and establishing routines is priority. Through my years of teaching kindergarten, I've learned that you have to expect the unexpected.  "Anything goes in kindergarten." You just can't assume anything. Students need to learn in very detailed, simple, step by step directions on how to do the simplest things such as how to wash hands, sit quietly in circle, use the restrooms properly, line up quietly in the hallways and a host of other routines. Before the students walked through the doors for the very first time, I spent hours and hours setting up my classroom. The following pictures show what I've done this year to make my classroom an inviting happy place to learn.

I just love Owls and have an Owl theme going on throughout my classroom. I can't wait to hang up the student's pictures on our "Look Who's In Our Room" bulletin board.
Here is a view of the front of my classroom. I have a Mimio Board and Elmo in my class and use this technology often as I present new material. Don't you just love arriving to school with all the shiny, sparkling  floors. Our custodians did an amazing job getting our school ready! 
  This picture shows the back of our classroom where we have our meetings on the carpet.  The blue felt board will display "Words We Know" as words are introduced. You can see a center chart in which students are assigned literacy choices and calendar work.

Each table has a caddy with classroom supplies that are easily accessible to all my students. These caddy containers hold everything. I  found the wire bin holder that holds my dry erase boards on the bottom, and  three long plastic bins on the top from Really Good Stuff. This year I found smaller caddys that fit perfectly within the plastic bins to hold scissors and glue sticks. I use the soap boxes that I found from Stop and Shop for only 69 cents to store my crayons.  You will notice the yellow name tags at the tables. They are wooden paint sticks that I spray painted and added owl stickers and velcro to the back. Home Depot let me have them for free. I bet if you walked into any hardware store and asked for a few paint sticks that they would be happy to give them to you also. These name plates last the entire year and I can easily switch seating arrangements since they have velcro on the back. On the right you can see our individual bins to hold leveled books, student work, and journals.  
Here is my desk. Notice the bulletin board off to the side of it. I run off all my important schedules and calendars on different colored paper so I can easily find it. I can easily find pens, scissors, markers and other supplies as they are hung in a clear plastic shoe bin beside my desk. You can see my cones I got from the dollar store to place at tables of students doing amazing work. My green bell is used for transition time and clean up time.  

This is one of my favorite bulletin boards. Each year I hang up praise notes or post them in the pockets for students showing positive behaviors and acts of kindness. We use the PeaceBuilders program at our school and the PeaceBuilder virtues are posted. 
 Here is our lunch board/ attendance board. I use the side of my filing cabinet with colored tape to segment the different choices each day. I wrote students names on wooden cloud shaped pieces and attached magnets to the back. Students check in as soon as they arrive to school.  I did make picture lunch cards with a wide variety of lunch choices. You can find these at my teacher stores. 
I am soo lucky this year! My classroom just received three brand new touch screen computers with Windows 8. I am not used to Windows 8 and I've got a lot to learn as I program these computers for my students but I just can't wait to get started. 

Do you have a blog with pictures of your classroom as you set it up for this year? I'd love to see it. I always love to be inspired by other new creative ways to organize and get ready for the school year. Please comment below and I will be sure to check it out.

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