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Sunday, August 26, 2012

So happy to be back to school and classroom photos.

Back to School!
What a fantastic first week.  I love my students already and am so excited for the challenge they will bring me this year. 

My focus this first week was to find out how my new bunch does with directions and how independent they are. As I use both guided reading and guided math it is essential that my students be able to work independently or with small groups.
I started the year with an activity the very first day. The students were given written directions and a check list of stations they had to visit inside the classroom.  They had an activity to complete at each station. It was a great way for me to observe how independent and capable my third graders are.

Here are a few of the stations:

Students picked two pencils and sharpened them for our classroom set.
Say Cheese! Great way to get a picture of each student in class. 

We can't wait to see how much they grow by the end of third grade. 

Estimating is part of our Maths curriculum in 3rd grade. This helped me see who understands that concept. And who doesn't love peanut m&m's. =0)
I asked students to sign there name to our anchor chart. 
At this station students wrote their birthday next to their name. Of course this gave me some insights into who understands how to write a date in format.

The kids had such a great time with this activity. It took less than 30 minutes and I was able to see strengths an ears of needed improvement in my students. And of course the m&m activity was LOVED!!

The winner of the estimation was off by only 6 and received his own little goodie bag of m&m's as a prize.

I've also included pictures of my completed classroom. I should say completed for now. It changes all the time as most learning spaces do.  I am not big into classroom themes. I think they can shift the focus from student centered environment to a teacher's decoration project.  Having said that, I do choose a simple color theme each year. This year I chose primary colors and I like how bright the classroom is looking.  
Enjoy the pictures and see you soon!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Happy Freebie Friday!

Good Morning Everyone and happy Freebie Friday!

I’m off to Germany today to get a mani/pedi with one of my closest friends. She and her husband are moving away from Switzerland in a few short weeks and I am trying to get as much time with them as possible. We go to Germany for our pampering because it’s 60% cheaper and as a teacher we all  need to save every penny (or in my case rappen) that we can.

I am busy, busy getting ready for the new year to start in two weeks. I have unloaded one of the two pallets in my room and am making good progress. Here are the before shots and I’ll be sure to post all the after pics once I’m done.

I’ve also included a picture of our new staircase. It looks a bit treacherous right now but I’m hoping that with the rails installed it will look much safer.

I wanted to make some new supply labels for the kids drawers. So that’s my Freebie Friday today. But take a look back and you’ll see three other freebies this week.

Have a great weekend and take some time to pamper yourself as well!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Couple of Cute things for free!

I have to say I feel incredibly productive today. I re-designed my calendar wall (pictures to come), created a new weekly reading log and created my own version of a mini poster that I saw on Pintrest. Feel free to grab the Reading log for yourself if you are interested.

 Click here for your mini-poster!

Click here for the reading log!

I also took a trip to the school today. WOW! There has been a lot of construction going on this summer.  My classroom along with several others had new hardwood floors put in. And the biggest project is a brand new staircase that was put smack dab in the middle of our entryway. I'm posting pictures of all this tomorrow as well. As you can probably guess the place is a huge mess.  Because of the new floor I had to pack up my entire room and place everything on two palates. I now have to move everything back in. While the task is daunting (to say the least), it does give me an opportunity to make changes and re-decorate. Can't wait to show you all the before and after pictures of that project either.

So in the are the resources I created today and feel free to download away. =0)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Re-launch of Chalk & Slate!

It’s been an exciting summer of continuing education, book study, planning, relaxing and traveling. I have tried to fit it all in and I can’t believe that the five weeks are coming to an end.

I promised a while back that I would “re-launch” this blog with a renewed focus on the PYP. There are so many teacher bloggers out there that offer so much wonderful insight and creative products that can be used in the classroom. There is, however, a much smaller group of bloggers that address the IB and even fewer that focus on the PYP. I would like to share my journey with all of you as I learn more about conceptual teaching and guiding students through inquiry. The topics that we will discuss and the tips you will get can be applied universally to your teaching regardless of whether you teach in an IB school or a Title 1 School.  I hope you’ll find value in what you read here and hope that you contribute to the discussions. I am learning so much and continue to learn from other teachers. I am so grateful for bloggers and all the amazing collaborative spirit that they bring to the table.

I spent the last weekend of the school year at an IB training course in Zurich. It was an amazing and enlightening experience. I felt full of great ideas and left with a clearer understanding of what the PYP is all about. While I understood the 5 essential elements before going to the training, I came away with a clearer picture for myself.

I have created a PYP Synopsis that I will be using to pre-plan all six of my units this year. I’m posting it here for you if you would like to use it as well. For those of you not familiar with the elements I will be addressing them for the next 5 weeks on my IB Thursday posts. 

In celebration of this re-launching occasion I am posting a little freebie. It's my Daily Schedule Labels. Just print, laminate and attach a magnet to the back or use it on a bulletin board or a pocket chart.