Monday, September 17, 2012

R is for Reading Center, S is for Sweet Potatoes, T is for Teaching

R is for Reading Center...

I'm very proud of my reading center!!!  I know that reading is the main focus of education these days, and a reading center needs to be inviting.  I worked hard to make my reading center inviting, defined, accessible, and organized.  This is what I did:

This is a full view of my reading center.  I have the space defined by a wall, a table, a bookshelf, a homemade bookshelf, and my crates.  I also added a rug that didn't have a home anymore once Logan moved in.  The back table is my listening center (on the other side), and I hung a tablecloth around the table to make a little fort for the students to crawl under.  I also have the beanbag in there.

I have already discussed my crate seats, but just in case you were wondering, the idea came from theboutons.  As an update on them... the students sure have learned to sit carefully!  Each one of us has wiggled a little too much and fallen right in.  It kind of became a game for the students.  Then, when some of my more ornery students started trying to fall into them on purpose, a substitute for the classroom came up with a brilliant idea of flipping them over and placing the pad on the other side.  Now, our circle time chairs are upside-down crates with pads, but our reading center chairs are still the correct way.  They seem to be holding up pretty well in the reading center.  I keep the reading stuffed animals in there (thank you, Kohls), as well as some big books.  They are also used by the students as cages for their animals during playtime.

Next, I have this makeshift bookshelf.  Well, makeshift would give the impression that it is temporary, but this is as permanent as the students will let it be.  I got this idea from pinterest as well, but a little different.  It's from readinglady.  I just needed one more bookshelf and goodwill was clean out, so I made this instead.  The blue tubs hold the sensory materials for the students: squishy balls, theraputty, etc.  

We do have to keep a close eye on them when they are in the reading center to make sure they are reading and not playing, but most of them are pretty good at it.  I just took two plastic drawers and put a piece of plywood (spray-painted black) over the top.  It has completely come down once when students were pushing, and one student was pleased to see he could push down on the middle of the plywood and it would begin to crack (therefore gaining him all sorts of negative attention) but it's still standing!

This is how the books are separated on my bookshelf (the ones not in bins).  There are categories on the top, and alphabetical on the bottom.  These are just paint sticks from home depot with the names/letters written on them.  I love this idea from pinterest!

Finally, this is the outside of my reading center (the other side of the bookshelf... was very ugly!) Logan helped me make this sign inspired by pinterest. It's from clutterfreeclassroom

 Can you also spot my owl bookends I made last year?  That was right at the beginning of pinterest I believe!!

So there's a lot of fairy tale things I'm missing from my pictures that I've added to my classroom.  I'm thinking I'll have to do a whole fairy-tale theme post and show you everything! I'll work on that this week.

S is for Sweet Potatoes...

Yum yum yum, I love sweet potatoes.  I had to try these roasted sweet potatoes from fortheloveofcooking.  With honey. And brown sugar. Yuuuuuuuuum.  Mine definitely could have cooked a little longer, but they were delicious no matter what.  No picture, sorry! I ate them all up!

T is for teaching...

Oh yeah, I've been doing that too.  That teaching thing.  You know, the thing I've been preparing for since I was in 2nd grade playing teacher after school? Yeah, that. I can say this... I love when students make progress.

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