Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fun Additions to My Classroom

Each year I try to add something new to my classroom. This keeps things fresh-- which is especially important, because many of my students stay with me from kindergarten through fifth grade. Check out some of my new additions this year!

My $10 DIY Light Table-- My students' favorite classroom material!
When you're a kid, is there anything more awesome than turning off the lights to learn?
Have you seen light tables that sell for hundreds of dollars?
I found a blog post from Glowing a Jeweled Rose with a cheap DIY light table.

I took a plastic container and spray painted the inside and outside black. I chose a white lid, because it softens the light coming out of the box to protect the eyes. Frosted lids work well, too.

Inside the box, I put a string of dollar store white holiday lights and a $5 LED light. I also keep overhead transparency sheets and dry erase markers inside the box. We use these to practice spelling, math facts, and more! I also use translucent geographic shapes and counters for fun lesson additions!

Number of the Day

Morning work activities take forrrrrrevvvvverrrrrrr to prepare. I simply use this daily number flip chart and a "number of the day" paper. I write our monthly math skills on the paper with a bunch of blank spaces. The students fill in the number and go! Instead of making 30 pages for the month, I only have to make one (and, of course, differentiated versions). Time saver!

Window Workshop

 I remember staring out the window as a student and getting in trouble for it. Here, I give students the option of writing at the window workshop. I keep writing starters, fancy pens for expensive words, and writing materials at the workshop. This helps students who need a quiet space or who need to get some inspiration for writing by looking outside. My windows have blinds (hard to see with the sunlight), so students can close them if they choose.

And a few throwback ideas from my old learning support classroom photo album, way back when--

Mystery Box
I took a shoe box and covered it with wrapping paper. I cut a hole in the side of the box and stapled a T-Shirt sleeve inside (so nobody can see inside the box). I put mystery items in the box, and students have to feel around to guess what is inside. I've used this for anticipatory sets, adjectives practice, and writing starters!

I can't figure out how to rotate a picture on Blogger-- sorry! (Feel free to comment to tell me how?) Anyway! I wanted to use Velcro to make my word wall interactive, but I couldn't damage the walls with it. I knew putting Velcro on butcher paper was just asking for trouble-- ripping! I decided to put my word wall on a bed sheet, and I put Velcro on the back of each word. I hung it at student-level, so they could interact with the words on the wall. This made it really easy to move my word wall from one spot to another. The wall was safe, and it could never rip!

Solution for the dangling feet problem

If you're short like me, you probably remember the sore legs that never quite touched the ground in your chairs in school. The only comfortable alternative was to slouch, stand, sit on your knees, or sit criss-cross-- and even those weren't that comfortable. If you're really short like me, you probably even know the feeling now! Putting a stool under students' feet makes it MUCH more comfortable! It also keeps them secure in their seats. (If you teach kindergarten, you probably have at least one child fall out of her chair a day!) Take it from a shortie-- this helps! This stool was $3 at Walmart a couple years ago.

Just a couple of cheap ideas for you! Hope this makes your year brighter :)

Do you have any helpful time savers or fun classroom additions? Share them in the comments below!

A Peach for the Teach

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