Saturday, August 29, 2015

Little but Magical Changes

I may be in the minority here, but I am a firm believer that even if you don't change your classroom theme for the new school year, there should be something new.  I don't want my new students to just fall into the empty spaces left behind by my last students.  I want my new students to notice differences, be intrigued by the changes, feel like they matter enough for me to make changes.  Because they do.  I believe they deserve something they can call their own.

I didn't make any huge changes for this year, but there are small things here and there that I changed just enough to create wonder and excitement.

Flying ear hats!  My super creative mom helped come up with the idea and my handy dandy daddy did the hard work: hanging up my ear hats!  Last year they sat on top of my cabinets.  This year, they're flying above them!  It's fun when the air conditioning kicks in because the hats move like they're floating. :)

More pillows/rugs!  To help encourage my students to take advantage of my alternative seating arrangement and provide them with comfortable options, I bought more pillows!  I never realized how expensive pillows are, but I got lucky and found some fun, inexpensive, Disney themed ones.  The only problem with more pillows is a place to put them!  Last year my 7 pillows (and two rugs) fit perfectly on my low square table, but the additions took much more space than that.  I re-purposed my supply crates from last year and have now created an out of the way home for the pillows.  (If only the class could put them back as neatly as I do!)

The pillow crates are under the counter by the round table.
New seating options!  My last class LOVED my two big bean bag much so that both of them exploded in the last week of school. :( My classroom said goodbye to the bean bag chairs and my search for new seating began.  Lucky for me, my sister (also a teacher) switched grades this year and no longer had space in her classroom for this fun striped saucer chair!  And to top it off, the bench by the window is a toy chest/bench that we've had at home since I got my very first desk set (all of which is now in my classroom!).  Great storage, great seating, and free!

More fun decorations!  Disneyland is celebrating it's 60th anniversary right now and I would highly recommend you go if you can!  As part of the 60th celebration they are selling popcorn buckets shaped like the Mickey head balloons.  These are clearly a must have for my classroom!  I still need to get the third one (red), but I love how fun they look "floating" into the sky.

I also came across this awesome photo booth kit.  It came complete with two frames and six props.  These made for some great, fun first day of school pictures!

An expanded classroom library!  I'm not sure how, but I seem to have gained a ton of books over the summer.  YAY!  I bought the six square shelving unit from Target to house my series and LOVE it.  I like how organized it looks and being able to keep each series together.  I also bought more baskets like the ones on top of my shelves (Big Lots) for certain types of books and placed them on the shelves.  This is my effort to keep my classroom library as organized as possible...but then the kids attack! ;)

Ride posters!  I've been hanging on to my set of incredible Disneyland posters until I could find a good place for them to go...and I'm finally starting to get them placed poster by poster.  Last year I had maps of Disneyland and California adventure under the question, but with the placement of my chrome book cart there, there wasn't going to be enough space and I didn't want it to look cluttery.  I thought these three posters would be great with the question because each has to do with the question in some way: the wildest ride in the wilderness, the happiest cruise that ever sailed 'round the world, and the train that can take you all around Disneyland.  It's up to them how they want to start!

Awesome easel!  This might be my new favorite thing.  I bought this easel at Ikea ($14.99!) because I am going to need something for my chart tablets during my mini-lessons for writing (we're starting Lucy Calkins).  Now that I have it, I love how I can use it for everything!!  It has a chalkboard, whiteboard, roll of paper (for when I get super creative?), and a small shelf below the whiteboard.  We use it every day and it's fabulous!

Magnetic letters!  Ok, so this may not really have anything to do with classroom these magnetic letters are awesome!  They're a fun way to add some color to your whiteboard and create titles/labels/etc. that are purposeful and easy to see.

You know, Disneyland Tokyo, Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Avo*! (*Abbreviated school name)

New chairs!  Found these puppies at Ikea as well.  Ten bucks!  I bought two and the kids LOVE them!  They are another fun alternative to sitting in a normal chair at a desk all day.

The most awesome chair I could've ever asked for!  I wanted a director's chair for my birthday so my family teamed up: my parents bought the chair and the canvas and my sister decorated it with her amazing artist skills!  Holy moly it's amazing and more than anything I could've imagined!  It's such a happy thing to have right up front in my classroom; a great reminder that even on the roughest days, I still have so much to be amazed by!

And of course: Cinderella!  One of my students gave this life size Cinderella to me at the end of last year...and she's AWESOME!  The only problem is that she kinda takes up a lot of space, and I don't want her to get banged up by children!  (Or me, since I tripped on her on the first day of school and she almost fell on a student...Cinderella attack!)  I've had her out for about a week, but I think it's time for her to go back to the castle for a bit.  I think she'll come visit once in a while as a special treat instead of being a permanent fixture.

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