Category Archives: 2013-2014 Classroom Pictures

Gingerbread Man Map and Dollar Spot finds

Here is the map that I use to help my kids track the GBM’s travels around the world.


I got this map at Kohl’s last year and its made by Discovery Kids.ย  They are around $20 or so. They come with these awesome velcro labels that you can use to label the continents, oceans, countries, and even states/cities.ย  There are also animals included so you can show your students what animals live where. IMG_1352

Here are some of the velcro labels.ย  I sorted the places out from the animals to make it a little quicker to find what I need. IMG_1353When I was looking through the Dollar Spot at Target this past weekend, I found these 10 packs of foam gingerbread man and instantly thought of a math activity we could do with them to get them all decorated up. (I’ll share my idea later).ย  I picked up 4 packs of the GBM and 4 packs of the Pom-poms to decorate them with (along with some other goodies I already have).

Today is your last chance to shop the Tpt Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale! Don’t forget to use the code “CYBER” to get the discount!


Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚


Each vacation we have from school, a few of my school friends and I trek to our closest IKEA and buy lots of things we don’t really need.ย  Here’s what I got from our Thanksgiving trip.


I got this adorable cart I’ve had my eye on for 2 years now!ย  I got rid of the previous shelf that was here, got rid of lots of stuff and consolidated it down to this. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  My friend who went along suggested that I could use this card to help pass out materials to the kids more quickly.ย  I love that idea…just load up the materials on the cart and roll them to the kids or pick up materials from them.ย  I pushed it around my room and felt a little like a stewardess. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  IMG_1348

Here’s a look at what’s sitting on the top shelf.ย  These are the things I use on a regular basis.ย  The tall pink thing you see is my dollar store collapsible trash can.ย  I put things in it when I’m demo-ing how to do something. IMG_1349

The second shelf holds all my demo materials, pattern blocks, cubes, tiles, cards for our agenda, etc. IMG_1350This is another cart I got that I shared about a few weeks ago.ย  I went back to IKEA and got two more of these.ย  I’m using it to store the masters for my Math and Literacy Work Stations.ย  That way if I run out, I can quickly find the replacements. This is the same cart that I use for my small group materials.

Don’t forget that today is the first day of the Tpt Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale.

sale_300_300Use the code “CYBER” to get the discount. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

The Gingerbread Man is back (almost!)

The Gingerbread Man (GBM) is almost back!ย  We are on Thanksgiving Break, so where did I spend part of my vacation?ย  In my classroom of course!!ย  I needed to get the GBM crate out of the closet without the kids seeing it. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Here’s what the underneathย  area of my loft looks like now:


This is the crate where I organize all my GBM things.ย  Each country has a folder. ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_1322

This “Unit Pack” folder holds all my Gingerbread Man Unit materials.ย  It’s really easy to pull out what I need from this folder to prep all the envelopes that the GBM leaves us. IMG_1323

Next in the crate is the Tale of the Gingerbread Man play that we have our K kiddos present each year.ย  We are taking the year off from this play this year because we have such a short window between Thanksgiving and the end of the semester.ย  We just didn’t have enough time to get everything together, so maybe next year. ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_1324

I am usually in charge of running the sound board, reminding the kids of the movements, and turning the microphones on and off for speaking parts.ย  So you see all my markups in my master binder that I have with me during all of our practices and the actual presentation. IMG_1325

These are many of the GBM stories that I have collected. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  In my GBM unit, I have shared a list of most of my GBM books. ๐Ÿ™‚ You can also see the folders for each country.ย  I have all the materials I need for each packet in the folders.ย  You can get the letters in my GBM unit. IMG_1326

I also have a folder for all of the Literacy Work Station and Math Work Station materials we use during the GBM’s visit. IMG_1327

Behind all my folders, I have extra envelopes if I decide to add another country.ย  I like to add countries that my students have lived in so they can share some of their experiences.ย  IMG_1328
In the front of the crate, I have the more 3D objects that will be sent along with our letters.ย  I keep the menorah, dreidels, puzzles, etc., here.


And then there is the pile on top of the crate.ย  It serves two purposes, one to hide the envelopes underneath it, and two, its everything that would not fit in the crate or things I need to copy or have copied for the unit. IMG_1330

This is what our first envelope looks like. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  It will be “delivered” on December 2nd. IMG_1331

We will be measuring with these candies soon and I’ll be posting this GBM Write the Room activity soon in my Tpt store. ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_1332Finally, here are my GBM puppets that we use to retell the story.ย  We sit in a big circle and we pass the wooden spoon puppets around in the order that the GBM is chased in the story.ย  I got the faces years ago from the December Mailbox book.ย  I’m not sure if you can still get it, but I will be working on creating some to share. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

After Photos

Here are the “after” pictures showing my loft.ย  I cleaned it really well this week and just in the nick of time too–my son was sick at school last Friday and so he laid down and slept under my loft.



Not spectacular, but much, much cleaner than it was!! ๐Ÿ™‚ย  This is sort of my area where I put things that I will be using in the near future.ย  Later this week, I’ll show you how messy it already is! ๐Ÿ™‚

Don’t forget that Tpt will be having a huge Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale on the 2nd and 3rd of December.


Get those wishlists in order! ๐Ÿ™‚

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Guided Reading Groups

It is a difficult thing for me to find a system that works for organizing my guided reading materials I am using each week.

I went from this:

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 9.43.53 PMI used to put all my materials into Ziploc baggies and line them up in this tub.ย  They got all mixed up, so that wasn’t working–it was taking too much time to find what I needed.

To this:

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 9.47.20 PM

My stacking drawers are similar to these except I have drawers that slide in and out.ย  Functional, yets, problematic, yes!!ย  I was very limited to the size and quantity of materials I could fit in these baskets.ย  I needed to find something new!!

To the new love of my life: IMG_1274

I got this beauty at IKEA last time I was there for $15.00!!!ย  The drawers are called LENNART drawers. I had to do some quick assembly, but this bad boy fits right under my horseshoe table with about an inch of clearance.ย  The drawers have waves in the back of the tracks to keep the drawers from falling out.ย  The drawers slide in and out very smoothly and they are about 3 1/2 to 4 inches deep, so I can store everything I need in them!ย  There is also a nice 4 inch space under the bottom basket where another basket could easily slide in.ย  IMG_1275I’m going back to IKEA in two weeks and you’d better believe that several more of these are on my wishlist!! I need one for the other side of my horseshoe table and this is the perfect height for me to put my laptop on (well at least for short people like me it works!!).ย  I have several more places picked out in my classroom that will be getting a set of these. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll share some more pictures later this week of my guided reading materials in them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Messy Mess!

How many of you have an area in your classroom that looks like this?


This is the area under my Home Living area/Loft.ย  I just keep putting things here with the intent to put them away soon. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  This space is right behind my desk area and is always the collection area. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Lucky me!! I have a student teacher, so I spent some time cleaning this space up and later this week, I’ll share the after pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_1286

How do you keep your cluttered areas clean?? ๐Ÿ™‚

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Binderclips and Seat Sacks

I am still loving my binder clips on my kiddos mailboxes.ย  Who ever though of this idea should have made millions!ย  Its so much easier to figure out who still has mail in their mailbox without having to move all the papers out of the way.



I’m also still loving the seat sacks that I made a few weeks ago.ย  They are holding up quite nicely and holding lots of items too! ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_0942

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Name Cards

I like to make name cards each year for a variety of uses in my classroom.

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 9.11.10 PMI print them out using the “contact sheet” option in iPhoto.

I use my 1 1/2 inch square punch and cut out pictures of each one of the kiddos 3-4 times.ย  I use one set on business cards.ย  I glue about 1/3 of the picture on to the right end of the business card.ย  I then write their name on the other part of the card and then laminate.ย ย  I then stick magnets on the back of them and we use them when the kiddos have to go to the restroom.ย  They move their card from the filing cabinet to the magnetic board so we know who is where. ๐Ÿ™‚

I also make a set without magnets and use them to call on students when we are doing something whole group.ย  I cycle through the cards and that ensures each child gets a chance at the activity.ย  I call them Morning Message cards.

I also make several copies (3 to be exact) for my Literacy and Math Work Stations.ย  We are going to be doing 2 Literacy Work Stations this year, so I will have two pictures of each student that I can rotate through their Literacy Work Stations.ย  I will also use one set for Math Work Stations.

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Crayon Boxes

I bought these plastic containers at our Dollar Tree to hold our crayons in this year.ย  They worked great…except when the kids went to put them away, the lids kept falling off and the crayons would spill into the bottom of the organizer.

I think this idea would work better with different containers, but stay tuned later this week to see how we solved this problem! ๐Ÿ™‚



Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

Classroom 2013-2014 Set Up

I went to school today to start setting up my classroom and I took some pictures of how everything was when I finished for the day.ย  MANY thanks to my wonderful husband for coming along and helping me get the big furniture set up! I’ll explain what each area is under each picture.ย  I stood in the middle of the room and took pictures all the way around and then some close up shots. ๐Ÿ™‚

Small Group Supplies

This is where I will store my supplies for my small groups.ย  The two white crates store intervention materials.ย  On top of that are extra supplies, my do-a-dot stampers, and in the two blue tubs-dry erase markers. Storage under Promethean Board

Last year, I used these shelves so my students could store supplies near their tables.ย  This year, I’m storing their supplies differently, so I am using these shelves to store materials under my Promethean Board.ย  I have the dry erase boards on the left and clipboards on the right.ย  Easily accessible when we need them during our large group work. ๐Ÿ™‚Large Group area and easel

This is where I sit when we are doing something whole group.ย  You can see my easel and part of my ELMO off to the left.ย  The green bulletin board (it will soon have black paper on it) will be my focus wall for our reading series. Small Group table

This is a look at my small group table, where the small group supplies are stored and the shelves that store lots of my materials are. Loft/House

Student tables.ย  I’m trying something new this year and pushing all 6 of my smaller tables together.ย  It may or may not work…but I want to give it a shot.ย  They will store their supplies in the middle of the tables in the dead space that happens there.ย  See those tubs that are on the tables?ย  I cleared out all the stuff in them before school got out for the summer!ย  Most of it was donated. You should see how clean the closet is now! ๐Ÿ˜‰Student Tables

The other two student tables, my sink area, and my new aquarium!ย  Any good ideas for fish I should put in it? ๐Ÿ™‚ You can also see the open door to our storage closet (I share with the teacher next door–she has a door directly on the other side of mine).ย  To the right of that is our “office”–AKA a spot to store more stuff! ๐Ÿ™‚Closets

Looking towards the hallway.ย  The blue cabinets to the left are where the kids hang their coats and backpacks.ย  Library/Closets

Way in the back is my bookshelf with all my read aloud/theme books.ย  Then you see the backs of our computers and in the front, is part of the library. Light Table/Promethean

Here is the light table.ย  I’m bringing it back out!ย  I think the kids will love playing with it and they will be able to retell stories and build with the clear LEGOS on it. ๐Ÿ™‚Promethean Board/ELMO

Back around to the whole group area. Library

A picture of the libraryMath Work Station Storage

My new cart for storing Math Work Stations! ๐Ÿ™‚Baggie Book/Supply Storage

This is how I store my school supplies that the kids bring in.ย  On top are our baggie books that the kids take home with their homework packets. Small Group Table

Once I get this table cleaned off, it will be my small group intervention table that my assistant can use. ๐Ÿ™‚Curtain Rods to cover shelves

I’m making curtains for these shelves along the back of my room and this is how I’m hanging the curtains.ย  My hubby put the hooks up for me today and I just got tension rods (because they were the cheapest!) and made them the correct length.ย  You can kind of see them in the picture showing my small group table up above. ๐Ÿ™‚

Tomorrow, I’m headed to IKEA!! ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Then time to make the curtains to cover up these shelves! ๐Ÿ™‚

What do you think so far?

Kristen ๐Ÿ™‚

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