Science Room Tour

 

Hi there, friend! I’m thankful you stopped by for a visit.

Here’s a follow-up to my Math Room Tour. This collection of photos basically serves as a way to memorialize my early teaching years. That way, when I’m old and gray, I can show my grandchildren pictures of my class and say, “See kids, there used to be these devices called ‘books.’ ” 😉

As I shared in the Math post, I teach at an independent school and have the luxury of focusing on just two subject areas: Math and Science. It should be said that I love the subjects I teach wholeheartedly and get as giddy as the kids during experiments.

IMG_1819First stop is our reading nook. The turtle was a happy Kirkland’s clearance find, and I pray it lasts through a few classes because I love him and hope to take him home when we (Lord willing) have children of our own. I haven’t named him yet, and I now realize what a disappointing fact that is. Timmy Turtle? Pokey? What works?

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One of the first organizing tasks I tackled was to sort the books into groups by topic, then place them into front-facing bins. I truly believe this is a helpful way to organize books for young children, rather than simply leaving the spine exposed. A classroom volunteer helped me to sort books, cut labels, and adhere them.
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This long set of trapezoid table serves a location for centers, and stores Big Books right beside our library.

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I keep recent newsletters on the bulletin board for students, parents, and visitors. This was our First Grade’s Science fair note.

I have a strong urge to include corny jokes and puns related to the content on each document, but sometimes I manage to resist.

IMG_1826These bookshelves contain various curriculum components, and FOSS kit drawers. Ask me how much I love FOSS kits, and you may have to fake an emergency or illness to get me to stop.

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Though my Second-Grade students made these way before Christmas, I haven’t had the heart to take them down. That day, a student from each group was traced, then the group rounded up their white crayons and colored pencils to sketch their own versions of a human skeleton as we reviewed each (major) bone. IMG_1828

Safety first! I store goggles and aprons in these bins, and the students have learned to get them independently, then ask a neighbor for help in tying the aprons. 🙂 IMG_1829

The table to the right of my whiteboard holds Clorox wipes for easy clean up, board essentials, and my materials folders like the ones in the Math room (these were from Target). IMG_1830

Why is there a decorative frog, clock, and watering can on this shelf? To be cute, of course! I mean, I could loosely tie them in to our Plant and Animal Classification units, but let’s be honest. They serve absolutely no educational purpose, but sure make a big, blank wall a little happier.

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These are our second-grade kids’ cubbies. I make no apologies for their disheveled appearance. This is what we call “keeping it real,” guys. My sweet aunt, a reading specialist, gave me the stuffed Clifford, giraffe, and tiger with companion books during my first year of teaching.IMG_1833

This anchor chart hangs just to the right of the cubbies to try and help the students stay organized. With a picture, it’s easy for the kids to see what needs to added/removed at a glance. IMG_1835

My Science desk, which I admittedly rarely use. On the left is a rocker from my own childhood nursery. It’s another item I hope survives elementary school in one piece. 🙂 The rug was a Kroger marketplace steal and serves as a great meeting area.

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Math Classroom Tour

Since this blog is meant to serve as a sort of record of sorts, I wanted to be sure to include a few photos of my current classroom.

I began my career with a couple of years in Kindergarten, and I’ve since moved up to First and Second grade. A [school] year later, I already regret not taking and keeping more photos of my first-ever classroom!

So as my third year draws to its close, even though it’s not the prettiest, fanciest room, I’ve decided it’s time to snap and compile some pictures.

I teach two subjects to two grades and actually have two classrooms. I get to focus exclusively on Math and Science while the rest of our team covers Reading, Phonics, Language, and Social Studies. I happen to think I ended up with the two best, and luckily for us, I think my team teachers feel the same way about their respective subjects. 🙂

Today, I’ll share my Math room.

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It was most important to me to create a cheerful-yet-relaxed environment. I chose a blue-and-green scheme because I love the tranquility of cool colors and think they’re rather “gender neutral.” I also have a (hopefully not in-your-face) bird theme for sentimental reasons. My family and some of my closest friends have referred to me as “Birdie” and “Bird” since my childhood, and I’ve always adored that name.

I added some hanging lanterns from World Market above the cabinets separating my classroom from the rest of our Learning Community. Our school was built in the 70s during the “Open Classroom” craze, so walls and doors are a coveted commodity. It seems the space was subsequently divided into pod-style learning communities, so many rooms are still open to others.

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Upon entering, I have a little welcome table. It houses a homework “drop off” area (sorted by grade, then time of day), PLENTY of hand sanitizer, bits and pieces for our morning calendar board, and a chalkboard from a sweet parent. Today, the quote reads, “Math gives us hope that every problem has a solution.”

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Above that is a “Fact Family” house made of simple poster board. Creating fact families is part of our daily routine, and we alternate between addition/subtraction and multiplication/division. I try to keep a seasonally-appropriate quote or picture on the left side of the board. What better time to celebrate the seasons than Calendar Time?
IMG_1802I’m in the middle of fixing up this too-busy calendar board. The truth is, they come with too many pieces.

This is a temporary fix until we order some new butcher paper. 🙂 The welcome sign was made with donated construction and scrapbook paper, and the outdoor rug was a Target clearance item I purchased at the beginning of the year. 
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I just created these calendar bits on Word and a precious parent volunteer spent TONS of time cutting and laminating them.

IMG_1804The little birds in the tree are labeled with each child’s name as a special welcome, while the table below always houses a hands-on manipulative of some sort (it rotates all the time) and our “Pencil Hospital.” This fantastic idea was introduced to me by my student teaching mentor teacher. Students simply drop their broken one in the green bucket, and grab a replacement from the blue bucket. There is hardly any time wasted and no disruptive pencil sharpening during class.

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This is our classroom Word Wall. The students choose the words that end up on the wall. The bunting banner above was made from more donated scrapbook paper.

photo 2 I inherited this amazing block feature from the previous math teacher. It draws students in like you wouldn’t believe and I adore the bright colors. IMG_1808My beloved Erin Condren lesson planner. They’re a worthy investment.
IMG_1811My personal bulletin board behind my desk is full of quotes that bring me joy and photos of people I love.

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My desk area. The speakers on the right are essential components of our day. I love to play fast-and-silly music during speedy fact practice, soothing classical during tests, and sing-songy kid music during center time. Plus, they allow me to blast my Dr. Jean (if you don’t know who she is and you’re an Early Childhood teacher, look her up)! IMG_1812This simple set of plastic drawers from Lowe’s has been upgraded with plain old paper to house office supplies out of sight. Atop sit a framed photo of our class on a recent field trip, and two thoughtful parent notes that remind me that what I do is appreciated. I love to send them as much as I love to receive them. 🙂 If you feel the same way, you can download a free thank you note, or join me in creating student Valentine’s Day cards while you’re here.

IMG_1809These file folders are labeled to store daily materials (along with the ubiquitous coffee mug, of course).

photo 3Pictured above are my cubby stuffed full of manipulatives (I picked up the blue plastic bins at Walmart for a song) and my reading center. The Ikat pillow was from World Market. You can see a little bit of my overhead cart in the photo, too.

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Our little writing center (freshly wiped down, but it’s normally covered with materials). I adore my students’ paintings on the board above.

That’s it for the Math room. Hope you enjoyed the tour! I’d love hear about your classroom’s organization if you’re a fellow teacher. 🙂

 

That was the “where” part of my teaching. Now for the “why” part, you can refer to the post “Prayers for My Students,” which rather embarrassingly included a couple of typos until recently. 😉

Gallery Wall and a Few More Updates

Renting has its advantages. I thank my lucky stars every time something breaks and I can just call maintenance. Broken things are always someone else’s problem. Still, it has its disadvantages. Along with feeling like you’re throwing your money away month to month, it also can be tough to make a rental space feel like home. 🙂 I am striving to accomplish that one (CHEAP) update at a time. Because the last month or so has been filled with a few of them, I thought I’d share the “progress.” photo (4)   Not too long ago, our dining area looked like this. And it was cute! Our table was a $100.00 moving sale score. However, it was a bar height table. Great for grownups, not great for visiting children. 🙂 Also, the leaf was chewed up by the previous owner’s puppy, so it was limiting. With hopes of opening up our home to more loved ones, my dad and brother have agreed to build a new one for us (I get to be the glorified assistant). 🙂 DSC_0002   For now, we’re rocking the above look. You can read about the chairs here. I MISS the warmth of the wood, but we have plans to reintroduce that ASAP (though perhaps a little cooler). You also may have noticed the new gallery wall. It’s important that you know what a challenge that was. Because it just looks “so-so” now, but it was some WORK!

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Some people are naturally great at things like this, but I’m not. It took lots of gathering, moving, measuring, and editing. So, it may evolve over time, but it’ll stay put for now. 🙂 Gallery Wall Close Up   It’s full of items I love. The leaves aren’t sentimental, but they do remind me of home. The white grate was a gift from my Mother in Law, and I love every scroll-y inch of it. Wedding Photo   My favorite wedding photo is finally up in our home. It was taken by the very talented Kyle Gregory who you can look up here. ChalkboardThe chalkboard is from World Market and currently features an Easter verse. while I love this scripture, I plan in changing it as soon as I get new chalk. A certain beagle pup ate my last piece. You can buy this chalkboard here. Right Side It also includes the thumbprint tree I drew for our wedding day. Instead of a guest book, we asked guests to stamp their thumb onto our “tree” and to sign our family Bible. I have occasion to look at these sweet reminders of our loved ones every day. 🙂 The “S” was on our gift table. Tree Close Up 2 All those teeny, tiny crosshatching marks in pen were a PAIN. Whew! (Our names have been removed thanks to the magic of Photoshop). 🙂 Buffet Close Up 2 Also updated in the dining area was our sideboard. It was once in the home of my maternal grandmother and grandfather, then my childhood home, and is now in ours. When Mr. S. and I refinished it as newlyweds, he didn’t think it important to mention that he had no clue how to paint. Imagine the horror when I came to view his side of the project. 😉 Buffet Close Up     The lamp and picture were once in my parents’ home, and the ruffled, linen runner was a too-fun sewing project of mine. Living Room ektorp farmhouse pillows blekinge white slipcoverThe art that was in our dining area has been moved to our living room. It was purchased only a couple of years ago at Kirkland’s and was an already-dated shade of blue and brown. It’s got a new coat of white and a “ASCP French Linen” wash to make it good and grimy. Sofa Left I’ve tried to “cozy up” the white slipcovers with the yummy textures of this knit blanket and scratchy pillow. 🙂 P.S. If anyone tries to tell you that slipcovers like this are a pain, they’re liars. Just unzip, wash with bleach, and tumble dry low in case of a spill. The end. You can’t do that with a beige one. Sofa Right The tan-and-white mitered pillow was a Home Goods steal, while the blue-and-white, ticking stripe pillow was sewn by yours truly… ’til 2:00 a.m. with pin pricks and tears. Mitered stripes may have been a tad bit ambitious for a newbie like me, but I ended up with the look I love for just a few bucks. Desk Area This is our desk area, where I’m hunkered down right now. You can read about the ASCP chair makeover here. I’m happy to report that the soft wax means the finish is holding up way better than I imagined! I added a blue mason jar of white roses, a newly-placed lamp, and a fantastic ball of twine from my folks (you can grab it here). Desk Close Up This book brings to mind Mr. S. and was the inspiration for this steamy love letter. 😉 Just kidding, guys. But seriously. The man deserves a love letter. Lucy Stare And here’s little Lucy lounging away on our ottoman. You can read about that lunatic of a dog here if you’re in the mood to cry over a dog story. I always am. The red-and-white loveliness was a quilt sewn by Mr. S’s grandmother. I keep it freshly laundered and proudly on display. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by for a visit. 🙂

As they say around here, “Y’all come back now, ya hear?”

I’m linking up to:

Sweet Haute
French Country Cottage: Feathered Nest Friday
My Romantic Home: Show and Tell Friday
Driven By Decor
Tidy Mom
T
he Shabby Nest: Frugal Friday
C
hic on a Shoestring: Flaunt It Friday

Prayers for My Students

20140416-222500.jpgTeaching is a funny profession.

The “customers” are sort of nuts (mine are all 6, 7, and 8 after all), they sometimes hate what’s good for them, and any innocent phrase can set off uncontrollable giggles (dangers include pausing too long after the word “but,” talking about the planet Uranus with the emphasis on the u, and asking the question “under where?”). Ask me how I know.

>But the most unusual thing about our relationship with our “customers” is that we love them.

Continue reading “Prayers for My Students”

Wildly Undomesticated

Mr. S. doing what he does best with our nephew and niece.
Mr. S. doing what he does best with our nephew and niece.

My husband comes alive outside.

At home, he rests, re-energizes, refreshes and washes. He loves tenderly, laughs heartily, and sleeps soundly.

I love that. I see this as my life-long ministry to him, to create a place of just that in our home. My greatest pleasure in marriage is to see my husband walk in the door, sit down for dinner, or crawl into bed and sigh a happy sigh of relief and contentment.

And lest you think I’m claiming victory over the domestic sphere (ha), let me confess that I’ve made our home a less-than-lovely place many times in my (grumpy, lazy, ugly) sin. Yet we have the luxury of living under abounding grace, and so in spite of our failings, the general pattern of our days at home is one of joy and tenderness.

And though home is good for him, he doesn’t thrive here like I do. The reason is simple. In his heart, my husband is wildly undomesticated.

Continue reading “Wildly Undomesticated”