Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Room Reveal 2015!

Hi y'all!

Welcome to my classroom tour.

With it being my THIRD year of teaching and finallyyyy ironing out some kinks in my past classroom design, I'm SO happy with how this year's set up came to be!

First you'll notice my love for the yellow/turquoise/gray combo. 

I know there can be some controversy regarding room decor, but my philosophy is if I have to spend the majority of my time in a space, it needs to be a space that I find both pretty and functional.

You know?

Also, you'll see I'm a huge fan of assigning kids their "own" chair. It surprisingly eliminates the whine of "So-and-so took my chairrrrrrr!"

Plus it allows for the reminder of, "Um, please don't take scissors or pencils to your chair, because I'll know it actually was you who did it."

Above is a glimpse of my "Hall of Fame" wall. I keep an envelope of really special notes and memories for each year... really is a great thing to have on those horrible days.


The Hall of Fame is a place where I hang suuuuper special momentos from the previous year. 

My current batch of kids always love peeking at who previously held Ms. L's heart...

...and, let's be honest, they see where the bar is set as far as love note-standards go.


Bless Ikea Book Boxes. 

They're five for $2.

And fairly cheap on Amazon.

But, more importantly...

They are my LIFE.

When each kiddo is assigned a classroom number (I have two classes), they get a book box for their Language Arts and Social Studies things.

Easy peasy.

{Not sure how you feel about book boxes? Grab my number labels for FREE below!}

Now my teaching things (ranging from games, read alouds, laminated texts, task cards, etc) are sorted in boxes by topic, month, or season.

It's my happy place.

You can see more about that here.

 I try to keep the area by my document camera pretty clear and neat. I'm trying out my teacher toolbox here since beforehand it was by the sink.

AKA it was nasty.

Speaking of the sink area, here you'll see my cookie sheet boards... well as my too-many mugs.


Yes, these labels are EVERYWHERE.

 I find it imperative to label everything not only so that my kiddos can really start to feel ownership of their classroom, but also because it's the starting block for fostering independence in my fifth graders.

You can find those labels HERE.

Yes, I have a phone prompt for kiddos to answer the phone.

We have to have a conversation about HOW to answer a phone POLITELY.

My word.

Also, I have some paper, pens, and student phone numbers below the phone. 

These Ikea drawers are my life saver.

They serve as my turn in drawers for my morning and afternoon classes, my drawers to hold copies/supplies for each day's lessons, and my place to keep extra copies for redos and absent kiddos.

Can't wait for our mini lesson area to be full again!

I keep most of my boards pretty blank for now -- I'm just leaving them ready for student work and anchor charts. 


Yes, we have a specific spot for Lost and Found.

You wouldn't believe the number of headaches this spot cured.

My small Early Finisher board with activties only has one set of task cards right now, my History Books shelf is empty, and my Pickle and Ketchup board is blank.

I'll slowly integrate those things. I can't have my new lovies overwhelmed!

And yes, those chairs are labeled "table chairs."

I had lots of chairs walk away my first year when they weren't labeled...

My favorite quotes to promote a kind classroom environment found here. Aren't they cute printed in black and white? 

Again, thank you Ikea. Your Trofast drawers are sublime for housing our weekly review stations, our early finisher activities, and my teacher items to cut/laminate/grade/file {coughcoughHEAVENcoughcough}.

{Labels found HERE}

 Items stored for the Ketchup portion of Pickle and Ketchup (like, task cards they didn't finish, or a book they need to finish an activity from earlier in the week) stored in the bucket on the right.

 Library days and group colors kept on pizza pans!

Love how easy it is to say "Yellow group to the table!" or "Gray group line up first!" Plus, it's so nice that the kids are assigned a library day to go independently every week. 

Also mailboxes, small anchor charts, and big anchor charts.

Class lists will be hung on the window so kids can file papers to go home. 


Soon to be filled with papers to distribute in mailboxes!

Some pickle activities and supplies found a new home when we lost that middle shelf.

 Here you'll see our trash buckets, or tidy tubs, amongst some special gifts from students. I think Tidy Tubs are SUCH a lifesaver for interactive notebooks -- I assign the job of CAREFULLY grabbing the tubs and placing them on tables for scraps of paper to only very responsible kiddos.

I totally have on my to do list to upgrade the Tidy Tub labels with my new ones

Click the link or the picture below to grab my new Tidy Tub labels for free.

I just adore community supplies. I won't go back to everyone-has-their-own-baggie-of-supplies. 

I just love my mini anchor chart area. For now, I have my favorite quotes hanging, but I mainly wanted to keep this area a blank canvas for all our upcoming learning. It's so easy to switch out small anchor charts depending on what we're doing in class.

Quotes found here.

It feels SO good to have this space come together!

So ready to visit the homes of my new class tomorrow. LOVE that my school enforces home visits before the first day of school. It's one of my favorite days of the year.

Thank you for touring my room!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Our Teaching Tribe August Challenge

I'm joining up with Our Teaching Tribe to talk about two great products! I've really enjoyed not only meeting Mandy, but also Louise

Yes, I was fortunate enough to review two great products. Christmas came early!

First off, the darling and precious Mandy of Caffeine and Lesson Plans is AMAZING. She was in the middle of making a new product and let me be the first to see it. Like Mandy, I teach American History in 5th grade and I'm SO excited I can tap into her amazing creativity. 

Long story short, her Road to the Revolution is incredible.

This was seriously a labor of love. She's included a great project to assess our kiddos' understanding of the American Revolution, easy-to-grade rubrics, and answer keys to make our authentic grading even easier.

Can you tell how excited I am to implement this in my classroom?


I'm always looking for better ways to make my History instruction more hands-on and engaging. And Mandy seriously made that possible for my American Revolution unit.

Here's just a sample page that I ADORE. 

I don't know about you, but I feel like with emphasis on testing in reading, sometimes Writing and Social Studies can get put on the back burner. 

Her project gives my kids so much practice and exposure with referencing texts and writing in complete sentences (as well as a good review with citing text evidence). I could also see this totally working on our research standards.

I just love when products hit cross-curricular standards.

It's SO good. 

And have I mentioned she is just the sweetest to collaborate with? I cannot wait to make her my new Insta/Blogging BFF. 

Speaking of new BFFs, I was so happy to get paired with TWO people. Next up, is the amazing Louise of Mrs. E's Literature Daydreams.

Guys. She's in LONDON.

SO cool. 

She was just so precious to talk to.

Although she mainly deals with older kids (like, through high school age), she thought my 5th graders would love the creepy story of Ruthless

I could SO see my kiddos being really into this.

I would LOVE to use it around state testing time to review inferencing, critical thinking, and context clues (for those bigger, unfamiliar words)... especially since the story itself would really engage the kids in a time where moral really isn't sky high.

Or, it'd be GREAT to engage the kids near the end of the year when the fifth graders think they've seen it all and that they're big, bad middle schoolers. 

I just love that fifth graders love anything creepy, strange, or gross.

Thank you ladies for letting me peek through (and plan with!) such amazing products.

Click the button below to hop over to the next blog!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Back to School Blog Hop!

Very excited to team up with some wonderful women to bring you a Back to School Blog Hop!

I'm here to talk to you about the glorious gemstone that is an Amazon Wish List.

Hear me out. It's honestly one of the best impulse decisions I ever made.

But first, I'll show you how to make one.

Once you're logged into your Amazon Account, click the "Create a Wish List" under the "Wish List" button. You'll be invited to name it and all that good stuff. 

That way, when you find something you like for your classroom, all you have to do is add it to your Wish List for future reference.
Notice that handy "Add to Wish List" button on the right.

Now before you're all like, "Oh gee thanks, Haley. Creating a Wish List. What a NOVEL Back to School Idea," hang in there.

You could just keep this as a running list of things you'd like for teaching so that whenever a delightful Amazon or Visa gift card comes into your possession.

Which is great. I totally do that.

I have two lists: Books to Teach and Supplies We're Wanting. I've included the links to my actual lists in case you want a thrilling few minutes of seeing the books I want for Reading Workshop, games for Indoor Recess, as well as the Keurig K-Cups I drink. 

Before you laugh about the K-Cups, know that around Christmas Break a mom sent in a gallon baggie full of K-Cup flavors she had sitting around and didn't like, simply because she saw on my list that I like those nifty little cups. Glorious.


I highly recommend breaking your Wish List into these two categories because I use my lists for two purposes.

One, my Books list is a running record of solid books I've seen on blogs and Pinterest and Literacy for Big Kids so that way when I have new Scholastic points or a Barnes and Noble Gift Card, I know quality titles to search. 
Also, parents especially like when they can grab a book title I'm wanting through Amazon's used books. Often times books are just a penny before shipping (as seen above). 

Two, my Supplies list is a continuous, updated list of things we're wanting that my families with computers can always access. My families loved to be involved in the classroom and in their student's education, and this is an easy way that my busy and working parents can contribute. Amazon lets me list items, why I want them, how many I'm hoping to acquire, and their level of need in our room. 

It's pretty fantastic.

Plus, many times families will have a gently used version of a book or game I'm seeking, and I let it be known that we happily give those items a new home!

I communicate these lists through my school blog (as seen above) by creating a Donate to our Classroom! page. I also keep my Wish List link, as well as my school blog link, at the very end of all my emails. 

I also send home a paper copy detailing the link and what my Amazon Wish List is. I've included a template below as a freebie and a sincere thank you for reading through my rambling.

Download it here or by clicking the picture above. The downloaded file has two versions of this template.

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog! I hope you consider utilizing Amazon's wonderful tool for your classroom. :)

Visit me on Instagram for my freebies, ideas...and possibly quite a few pictures of food. No shame.

Now Hop on over to Deniece's PRECIOUS blog, This Little Piggy Reads!

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