Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Random Ideas

Treasure chest...a time of digging for that one perfect reward...a reminder all week to make good choices.  Many years ago I happened to walk in the classroom of a very talented third grade teacher as she had the top drawer of her flat file pulled out. I was very impressed with the organization of her treasure chest. I believe she used an economy system (store) with her rewards, but my students just choose one item. Anyway, there is no digging, but there are reminders. It is located in the first drawer of my flat file.

In the past nine weeks, I have rearranged the desks and tables probably 5-6 times. I am trying to figure it all out. The whole rearranging was not a problem, instead it was the chorus of comments from the students on Monday mornings, such as,  "The classroom is different AGAIN". The rug disappeared for a few weeks, then reappeared. I added wire bookcases for each table group because I was getting dizzy passing papers out to the students and then taking them back up when they were finished. Now the top shelves of the bookcases have a basket-they just lean a little and place the completed work inside. No more playing in pencil boxes, they were collected and placed on the BOTTOM shelf of the bookcases, far, far away.

The whole pencil fiasco was another problem. I really wanted the desks to all face the board so they can see. This arrangement prevents desks from facing each other in a table design so there are no buffers to stop pencils from falling and rolling on the floor. To stop the pencils from falling on the floor (and having that student along with 3 more students who are "helping" get out of their seats to  pick them up),  I purchased long baskets for the pencils and attached them to the desks. Lots of problems, people.
Each of the baskets have tags with the students' names on them. This student's name has been blurred. I punched a hole in the tag and attached it with a zip tie. I put name tags on both sides so it would be helpful for a sub. First, I attached them to the desks with sticky velcro dots. They wore out quickly even though they never removed the baskets (that I am aware of). Then I used sticky magnetic strips, one on the desk and one on the basket. It was just not a strong enough attraction. Finally, I used what any good crafter would use-hot glue. I just put a line of hot glue on the bottom magnet and then stuck the basket magnet on top. So far, so good.

I am pleased that this is the design I have settled on for the last several weeks.
Even though the rug is not large enough for all students to sit on it at one time, it is back to stay (well, for now). I alternate who sits on the rug. I have the students at the back desks sit on the rug during instruction (when needed) and then the next time the students from the front desks sit on the rug and the students at the back desks sit at the front desks. I have clipboards for the students sitting on the rug to use if during that lesson any writing is involved.

Displaying work was important to me. I decided to use my cabinet doors to display work from each student. I use binder clips to hang the work and attached the clips to the doors with sticky velcro dots.
But I wanted more student work displayed and I needed to be able to put it up quickly with no tape, no hot gluing clothespins, no measuring for placement, nothing complicated, etc. I used a jewelry making rope-like string and tied it from the empty holes which are used to keep the bulletin boards in place. I have small clips that hold the work on the string.  (The work that is displayed are mobiles of the branches of government.)

I hope some of these ideas help you in some way.
Next Post: Reading Passages-Binders vs Files

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