Organization Week: Schedule Cards and File Organization

Today's freebie will be how to present your daily schedule.

 In my classroom I use a long, blue schedule pocket chart.  It is hot glued to the side of a bookcase.  It originally held schedule cards with the clocks.  However, with so many frequent changes in our day, I didn't want to be held to the minute.  Instead, I wanted students to focus on the order of the events.  Also, we have several students that are extremely affected by schedule changes.  To highlight a change in schedule or special event for the day, we add in the special event card.

Click here to download the schedule cards.
I also have labeled plastic letter trays and white plastic drawers.  I keep these on my desk.  The plastic letter trays hold all of my materials of the week.  I have labeled the sides of the trays so I don't get confused!  The top tray is important papers that may get lost in the shuffle or I need to send home- but not for a few days and so on.  Next to the letter trays I have plastic drawers.  One set of drawers holds papers for parent notes (carbon less papers from Highlights), certificates and rewards.  The top set of drawers holds papers to be filed, copies made for future weeks, and papers to be graded

Click here to download the days of the week headers and drawer labels.  I printed the days of the week also to be headers for the schedule pocket chart above.
Halfway through the week!  Yay!


Organization Week! A Week of Organizational Freebies!

I have declared this week "Organizational Week!"  You know...because I am so organized I am starting this on Tuesday.


But, that's okay because there are freebies in this post!  Today's focus will be spelling and word study.
Tomorrow in our classroom we start center rotations for spelling.  I still need to add student names/ groups but I think I will do this simply on index cards.  Here is the center rotation chart.

If you would like to read about how I am organizing my spelling centers (based on Beth Newingham's ideas ) click here.  Also in this post are copies of the printable activities to create the centers.
If you would like a copy of the center game labels click here.

If you would like a copy of the spelling group labels click here.

I can't believe we are three weeks into the school year! I am remembering how much a love the beginning to the year: classroom set up, new ideas, clean and organized spaces....and also how much I hate training children. Oh how I wish they could read my facial expressions and remember procedures like my kids the year before! I don't know why it is a such a shock to me. I feel this way EVERY year. But each year I am somehow surprised!

 I am still putting last mintue touches and tweaking how the room is organized. I continue to do this all year, but some of the things are pretty big, so I am not ready to post a classroom tour just yet. I will...but not yet.


Meet the Teacher Monday

So...there is this whole linky party thingie at Blog Hoppin' and I thought I would give this whole party shindig a try. We will see how it goes.  I am pretty much the world's most boring person, so I can't imagine writing anything fascinating here.

Tell us a little something about you...

I'm Mandy at Mandy's Tips for Teachers Blog and  I have two cats and a husband and a stinkin' cute baby girl.  She is ten and a half months old and I swear she is B-R-I-L-L-I-A-N-T.  She can say da-da, na-na ( that's me- no ma ma for her!  Nope, she likes to call me the name most grandmothers get.  I'll take it- I have gray hair anyway!), Bo (my cat's name) and D (my other cat's name, Daisy).  Seriously.  Is she not a genius? 
 I went to college to be a teacher after changing my major. I had this wild hair to be an artist, even though I never took any art classes outside of the community center.  Not even in high school.  So I took several drawing classes, a portrait class and a watercolor painting class (which I LOVED).  Somewhere in the middle of the portrait class I realized my portraits never looked like me and in my class of a whopping 12 people, I was no where near the best.  I feared I would never have steady employment with my mediocre talent and decided to be an art teacher.  And then I realized there are almost 0 job opportunities for art teachers since there is only one  job per school and I majored in Elementary Ed.   It was only fitting since I loved playing school and dreamed of being a teacher (and a waitress in first grade) as a child.

How long have you been teaching?
I think this is my tenth year.  I always get confused because I started in the middle of a school year.  So this is either nine and a half or ten and a half.  I think it is ten and a half but they all kind blend together after the first two and the most recent two.  Ehh.  The kids were cute!

You might not know...
My first year of teaching a child hid a wild baby possum in her book bag (her dog had attacked it at the bus stop and she decided to "rescue" it) and snuck it out (wrapped in a jacket) on to the recess field.  I caught her (and the possum) only after it had scratched about half a dozen children.   I released it in the woods to let it crawl off and die in peace and realized a bit too late that this made it a bit difficult to test it for rabies.  Whoops.  But, I am totally prepared the next time a child brings a wild possum to school.
I have also given a child the Heimlich maneuver at school as well, but that's another story and another day.

What are you looking most forward to this school year?
A new start.  Not being pregnant.  Not throwing up on people I work with.  Finally being comfortable with third grade standards and expectations.  A new approach to guided math/ math workshop.  I have lots of fun new things on my plate!

What do you need to improve?
I work really hard at getting organized, but have a really hard time *staying* organized.  I want to learn to be a more efficient manager of my time.  I still work late most days and it stressed me out trying to get home, make dinner, clean up and spend time with my husband and baby.  I think I need to learn to say "no," but this is really hard for me because I *want* to do so many things!

What teaching supplies can you *not* live without?
I love my Promethean board, my easel, chart paper, markers (Mr. Sketch are the BEST) and my BOOKS.  I have tons and I LOVE them.  I have so many they are EVERYWHERE in my house.  I literally just gave away 2-3 boxes of my upper grades chapter books because I just had way too many.


That was therapeutic!  See?  I really am "The Most Boring Woman in the World,"  just like the Dos Equis guy but with a Diet Coke instead of a foreign beer.

I am linking this up to Blog Hoppin'!



First Week of School!!!!

How in the world is Monday the first day of school?  Where did my summer time go?  In my head it feels like  I will be back to my summer-time-love-on-baby-schedule after last week's blip of working on my room.

Monday students will arrive and for the most part I think we are ready.  It is scary- I am afraid to think and am *actually* ready for fear I will jinx myself!

Here are my first week lesson plans.

 For the most part we covered procedures with a few activities sprinkled in.  We will start hitting the content areas the second week of school.  I am a firm believer that my kids need to know how to do things for my classroom to run seamlessly.  And it actually never is seamless, but it is a nice goal to have!

I hope everyone has a WONDERFUL, SMOOTH and peaceful first week!


First Week of School Treat

Today was my first day back to school!  This week is our preplanning and students will arrive next Monday.  The summer FLEW by, but I am ready for a routine and a brand new year!  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE setting up the classroom!  It is overwhelming, but so many possibilities are buzzing in my head.

I found this adorable idea on the blog First Grade and Fancy Free.  I cannot take credit for the original idea, I just modified it for third grade.

I am going to staple the "Third Grade is a Piece of Cake" to a Ho-Ho and leave them out on Friday (last day of the first week) so that when students return from specials they can eat them (this is only a few minutes before the end of the school day).

I thought they were so cute! If you would like a different grade level other than third, please post and let me know!

The adorable borders are the ones I mentioned before by Karen Cox at PreKinders.  If you would like a copy of the blank templates, check them out at her Teachers Pay Teachers page for FREE!


Super Cute Polka Dot Borders

Karen at PreKinders has created these SUPER CUTE polka dot borders for FREE download at Teachers Pay Teachers.  I loved that she included all colors and shapes and sizes of frames.  Check out the borders!   I am sure she would appreciate lovely comments and ratings for sharing her hard work!  I can't WAIT to use these in my classroom!  I have so many ideas rolling around in my head for these puppies!


Joining the Band Wagon- TPT Sale!

Well, I really wasn't going to do this.  In my head my blog really wasn't going to be about advertising the few things in my Teachers Pay Teachers page.   (Insert whine here) I saw all the other bloggers throw a sale and I just had to do it too!  Really, I have never thrown a sale so I thought I would give it a shot!  So everything is 20% off (did you know that was the maximum discount available for sellers to choose?  I didn't) and the sale will be for the next four days ( from August 1, 2011 to August 5, 2011). Help yourself and enjoy : ).

***Edited to add** Apparently I am living under a rock.  TPT is ALSO throwing a sale!  TPT is giving 10% off in addition to the seller's sales.  That means that everything is actually 30% as long as you type in the coupon code B1T1S .  It looks like I may just  *HAVE* to shop now.  You know the dishes, laundry, trash and all will just have to wait!  Eek!

And just so I feel less guilty about pimping my TPT page, I am going to post a free resource as well.  I have been playing with my guided reading template.  The one I was using wasn't really user friendly and didn't have all the space I liked and needed. is my new one! I feel any better about pimping my page (that sounds like a really bad song in the making) ...?  Not so much, but eh, it's Monday! many times did I type the word (or some variation) of "so" in this one post?!?! Sheesh!

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