80s Themed Kindergarten Classroom

It has surely been a while – but since student teaching, going back to my former job, and then landing a summer camp to teaching job, I’ve become a Kindergarten teacher for 2015-2016!

I am beyond excited. I was lucky enough to get a position at The Goddard School close to my house for the school-age summer camp program this past summer. We had a lot of fun – my room included kids from age 6-11, many of them siblings! While we did some fun experiments and other summer camp activities, I was looking forward to a more structured classroom with children of the same age/grade. I took the position for the Kindergarten teacher at the Goddard School for the upcoming year. It was great because I already knew the students coming into the program since they were in the Pre-K room when I started summer camp.

This past week was used for preparing the room for the upcoming school year beginning on Tuesday 9/8 after labor day. Our school-wide theme was “Learning Through The Decades” and I chose to decorate my room as an 80’s theme. Take a look to see how I incorporated Kindergarten requirements while using an 80’s theme for decorations.

80s Theme Classroom

80s Theme Classroom

birthdayandcubbytags

I used my school-agers to help complete my Pac-man birthday wall. They helped paint my pac-man and color in my letters and ghosts. I downloaded the Pac-man font to use for “happy birthday”. The fruit were just regular google-images I printed out and had the summer campers color in.

I used a printable of a cassette tape for our cubby tags and printed them out on bright colored paper and then laminated. I wrote each child’s name on them and placed them above their cubbies.

artcabinet

At our school, it is a requirement that every place on the shelf and every bin is labeled with a picture and word of what is supposed to go there. I love this idea – it helps students know exactly where to find materials and where they go after using. I see myself using this idea at any age level in an elementary school to help them know exactly where things go. After I organized and labeled my art cabinet, it felt so good to have a spot for everything to go!

calendar

I didn’t have any bulletin boards in my classroom, so I needed to create a makeshift one for our circle/calendar time. I used pencil lined border and the chalkboard themed calendar from School Is A Happy Place. I laminated each piece and used Velcro strips to add to my wall. The students already know a few “days of the week” and “whats the weather” songs so I plan to use the same ones when they come into kindergarten with me. I made the “calendar” sign using teal and red construction paper cut into flag shapes and printing out the letters to add to each shape. I then just attached them to the wall using sticky dots.

classrules

Any successful classroom has rules! I loved using the printable rules from Kindergarten Kids At Play. I printed them and attached them to the matching teal construction paper from other signs in my room and then laminated and stuck them to the wall. I have these right next to my calendar, but at a lower level so they are more at the student’s height to see throughout the day. I am sure we will be repeating these many times over the first few weeks of school to help them remember!

jobsnumberchart

This is to the right of the calendar wall. I used a bright orange pocket holder from the Target dollar spot to hold my classroom job list. The holder only has 8 spots – but I only have 9 students and 2 of them are half days, so this works perfectly. If needed, I can double up on snack/lunch helper or teacher’s assistant. I also created on a bright green poster board from the Dollar Tree a 1-100 chart. Over the first few weeks we will be counting 1-20 and moving through each 10 numbers as each week goes on. I know I will reference this chart often, so I made sure to have it close to the circle time/group instruction spot. To make sure parents and others knew that my room was “80’s themed”, I wanted to incorporate something that stated it was the 80’s. I used a flag banner from the Dollar Tree that is brightly colored and filled with fun patterns (polka dots, chevron, etc.) and wrote “Rock The 80s” to fill the flag.

alphabetrubixcube

Lastly, I created a rubix cube using 12×12 scrapbook paper, laminating them, and then using black washi tape to separate them into 9 blocks. I am not the best with creating letters/drawing freehand, but luckily I have an awesome co-worker who made my letters for me to show it was a Rubix Cube. You can also see part of my Alphabet wall above that my summer campers helped me create. I tried finding a printable alphabet chart to use, but none of them were quite what I was looking for. I created my own by printing out a colorable picture for each letter, then tracing block letters of each capital and lower case letter, and having students color them in. This helped make my decorations child-made as well!

I also added some lightning bolts to my windows as 80’s themed and look forward to adding more student-made decorations as the year goes on!

Weeks 2-3

The past couple of weeks have really flown by! I’ve gotten to teach about 75% of the day on some days and it has been going really well so far. There is a lot to learn and I’m grateful for my cooperating teacher and supervisor to help me along the way.

It has been great to see all of the work that truly goes into teaching. During my pre-student teaching, I would come and observe, do a lesson or two, and then leave during the day to go back to work. It is quite different seeing a full teacher’s day and all of the time and work that goes into it all. I’m excited to begin teaching more and more each week and to really dive into full-day teaching.

One topic I am continuing to work on right now in the classroom is classroom management. My CT uses a common clip chart that the students can clip up or clip down depending on their behavior. Many of the 4th graders are receptive to this motivation, but at this age there are a few that do not receive motivation through this. I still will implement it while in her classroom since the majority of the class responds well to it and it is something they are already used to.

I am trying to find a way to gain student attention throughout the day as well that works for my teaching style. I introduced on Friday during our end of the week class meeting that when I need their attention, I will be clapping twice and then holding my hand up and putting a finger down each second. This will signal to them that it is time to quiet down and redirect themselves to listening to me. If I get to 1 and they are not listening and focusing, I will receive a point. If they are settled down, then they receive a point. At the end of the week we will total the points and if they win, the class gets to clip up. If I win, they could potentially clip down. My goal of course is to not win.

After reviewing many strategies that teachers use to gain attention in a noisy classroom, this seemed to be a good way to start. I will see how it goes and adjust if necessary over the next few weeks. I think the clapping will be helpful since I do not have a very loud voice and many times when I do try to get their attention when they are all talking, it can be unheard. It will also help that they will see my signal of my hand up and fingers going down to direct them.

We shall see how this goes this week!

Week One!

I began my student teaching on Monday January 5th and so far I’ve survived my first week! It has been so great to be a part of this 4th grade classroom and seeing all of the behind the scenes work that goes into teaching.

One thing that has really been great to keep me on track so far is this student teaching binder that I downloaded from teacherspayteachers.com. I can see myself using this site and community a lot when I become a teacher. The resources found on the site are amazing and come from such creative minds! It’s great for inspiration and to use things that other teachers have come up with for instruction.

week1

Click Here to get your own student teaching binder! The download is only $5 and has kept me super organized during the first week of student teaching. It is completely customizable for your own experience. For example – the resource pages are helpful to keep all of my standards and handouts in one spot for each subject – and I was able to edit them to fit the classroom I am in. I looked through many types of student teaching binder templates, and this one had the most options and seemed the most functional with the editable version. The cute blue chevron was a plus as well 🙂

The students have all made me feel so welcome in their classroom! On Monday they wrote letters during Tier Time to me introducing themselves and letting me know a bit about them. They were so fun to read – this class is full of creative and diverse minds and I’m so glad to be a part of it. They’ve also given me plenty of sweet notes and paper snowflakes.

week102

I am so excited for next week – I will begin picking up the morning routine procedures, doing two math introduction lessons, and starting a focus reading lesson on Wednesday. It will be picking up fast, but I know I’m up for the challenge and excited to learn from the experience.

2015

2014 was a whirlwind busy year! I am excited for the new year to begin and continue my journey into teaching. Some background information about me and where I have come so far into my teaching career: -I graduated in 2010 from Philadelphia University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. My goal at that time was to eventually get my master’s degree in school psychology to become a guidance counselor in an elementary school. -I realized how difficult it may be to become a guidance counselor, but I still wanted to work with young children. After a lot of thinking I realized that teaching was something I would be passionate about. I had wanted to be a teacher in high school but went in the direction of psychology instead. I do believe that my psychology degree will really help with teaching though, so I do not regret that one bit! -I enrolled at Drexel University for their Master’s program in Teaching & Curriculum Prek-4th grade in April 2013. This was all online aside from my field experiences at the schools. At first, I was really nervous about doing everything online – worried I may not be able to pick up the material as easily as I would by physically going to a classroom. Not only was this not the case, but I have a much higher GPA than my courses I took in undergrad. I have learned so much so far from all of the online courses and my professors were always there for me. Online is a great way to go if you need to work full time but still want to get your degree! -My field experiences: -Field observation Fall 2013: 3rd grade -Pre-Student Teaching Spring 2014: Kindergarten -Field observation Spring 2014: ESL students -Pre-Student Teaching Fall 2014: Kindergarten -Field observation Fall 2014: 4th grade -In January 2015, I will begin student teaching full time in a 4th grade classroom. I am beyond excited and cannot wait to begin this chapter!