Classroom Setup Part 2

While far from done I did want to post some pictures of the progress I made in my room last Friday! The more I’m in this room the more I think I’m really going to like it despite the fact that there are no windows.

View from the door to the back left corner.

They still haven’t taken out all of the history stuff, I’m about to put the smack down! Also if you notice I have 6 pods of 4 and then 2 pods in the back of 2 because I didn’t want to have to move everything up in the room to make room in the back for another pod. Is this a good idea or should I say goodbye to my personal space upfront?

View from the door to the back right corner: My command center. I would have loved to do an L-Shape but it would have blocked drawers and cabinets. Plus I like that my desk is in the back so when they are taking a test I can easily spot and trouble makers.
My first bulletin board. (I need to get some kind of fabric to go on these but I just don’t foresee that happening in the near future as I’ve spent WAY too much on school stuff)

The idea for this came from Sarah (thanks so much I steal everything from you) Rubin over at Everybody is a Genius. My mom works at an office where they have a GINORMOUS printer, only downside is it only does things in black and white, nice thing is that if I decide I want to change these I can have that puppy spit a new one out on demand.

The “Student Corner” of my room.

This is where all the info they need can be found. The two black baskets are where I will use hanging files to put any print outs/ homework worksheets/ etc inside so if they are absent they can just come pluck one out. Or if a student comes in late in the year they can go and find all the important stuff – AND it also will be good for me to keep track of original copies. I’m also going to have things like hand sanitizer, a stapler, a pencil sharpener, etc here (is that too much? Help me classroom feng shui people).

I plan on making the bulletin board into something similar that I saw here for when students are absent and they need to find out what they missed.

The little table I’m going to put commonly used papers (no homework form, graph paper, college ruled paper, warmup sheet) and I’m also going to have 4 little bins to serve as Algebra 1 & Math 3 – LHS & RHS. Funny story about this table, I was walking thru the hallway around my room and spotted it just sitting there all be his lonesome. I decided since I couldn’t find any soul around to ask, I would drag it into the very back corner of my classroom before anyone came looking for it. (In another life I was a hunter/gatherer/scavenger) Later that day one of the maintenance guys came around and asked me about if I had seen a table in the hallway – I played coy saying “OH RLY? A TABLE YOU SAY? IS SOMEONE LOOKING FOR IT?” Once he told me he was just going to taking it to storage – I fessed up :)

These are where I will store my INB supplies as well as things we commonly use, so I have whiteboard markers and sleeves there currently. The little blue buckets are an idea I saw on some elementary teachers blog as well as several others (I’m talking about YOU @msrubinmath) and they are for when the students are cutting to put their trash in them instead of getting up every two seconds to put it in the real trash can.
Inside of my INB store caddies.

Any suggestions on how to get the cups to stay stationary? I was thinking about using wall mounting tape – that stuff you get with dry erase boards that when you take them down you take part of the wall with you? Any other ideas? I’m also going to stick some #2s in there, anything else I’m missing? Is this too much? GAH.

Buckets to keep their INBs in – each class will be assigned a color and I will make little signs. There are two for each class. I don’t have the $$ or the wall space for any more.
My desk area!

Yay look at my little Bee!!! Anyway – the circular table I think I want to use at the “turn-in” station. So this is where they will plop their quizzes/tests/ and any other forms.

So Yay or Nay people? Help me get my stuff together before Wednesday!!!

Time is Money – A Fresh Start

While it is going to be my second year teaching, I’m starting at a brand new school and am really looking for a fresh start. There are two major things that I plan on implementing this year that I really hope improve my classes productivity and overall experience.

1. A Timer.

I want students to know that I value their time as well as my own, and I want them to know that in my class we use time wisely. Last year I would always say things like 5 more minutes and then what do ya know but 10 minutes would go by before I would actually buck up and tell them to quit what they were doing. I think because of this my students became more relaxed and knew they could take their good ole time. Not this year. I plan on implementing the timer on the first day to show that I mean business. Not only am I doing this for them, in terms of motivation, and as always preparing them for standardized testing, but I am doing this for me. A timer will give me more structure and help me pace my class. In terms of everyday class, I can say ok we are going to work on the warmup for 5 minutes, and set the timer. When its up so is the Warm-Up. Then I can set the timer for another 40 minutes – this will give me a ring a ding ding when it is time to close up class. I can give closure on the lesson, make sure all their notebooks are ready to go, and all supplies are put away. I can also use the timer and say ok peeps you got 20 minutes for this quiz – ready GO! The possibilities are endless and the more I think about it the more benefits I see.

Have you ever used a timer in your class? What benefits did you see or what did you not like about it?

2. Interactive Notebooks

So along with everyone else and their brother, I am going to give Interactive Notebooks (INBs) a shot (you can find out more information about what they are here). I think these are perfect for the classes I’ll be teaching which are Algebra 1 and Math 3. I think they will give the students great organization as well as a really useful tool that can be used in math classes in the future. I also think having a notebook like this will give students a lot of stability and a sense of consistency, without being necessarily consistent. I plan on incorporating all different kinds of ideas in my INBs, especially foldables. I used to think in college graphic organizers were things for 6 year olds because all they talked about were KWL charts – yawn. I love that foldables are a graphic organizer that have long term uses, especially when they are used to review concepts. I think students will immediately buy into them thinking they are an arts and craft project but really they are a way for students to keep all their thoughts and reflections in one place and in an order than should make sense to them.

Here are a couple of basics that I’ve made for my INBs:
Table of Contents

Intro to INBs: A total rip off of the one Sarah posted about here.

Rubric: Adapted from Megan’s Rubric which can be found here along with a TON of other INB resources.

Made 4 Math #7

Things you should know about me:

– I love sports

– I love arts and crafts

Being a fresh off the press teacher I don’t have much in the school decoration department. Last year when I started my first year teaching I really wanted to cover up the white walls. I spend so much time in the classroom that I wanted to make it feel a bit more homey. At the same time though my decorating sense when it comes to the classroom tends to be a bit more 4th grade classroom than high school. If it were up to me I’d have pompoms hanging from the ceiling and a pendant flag border. As a compromise I decided to make a school spirit banner to 1) take up a bunch of wall space and 2) show some school pride.
Here is the banner I made last year:

It looks like it might have taken a lot of work but it really didn’t. All I did was take a piece of clip art and blow it up to the size I wanted (pixelation doesn’t matter) and projected it up on the screen. I then took a plain white twin bed sheet that I got from Walmart for like $5 and traced the image with a sharpie. From there I just put it down on a flat surface and painted! I even added a pi and an infinity symbol to make it more mathematical. Unfortunately since I was laid off I gave the banner to my bestie in the math department figuring that should would get more use out of an 8ft tall spartan than I would.

This weekend I went through the same process but only used half the sheet to make a banner for my new school’s mascot.

Here is my helper during the process. As you can see where she goes destruction follows.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get him hung up this weekend and will post an updated pic!

A New Beginning and a Blank Canvas

So while everyone else was having a very interesting “conversation” on twitter (in quotes because half of it got deleted) I went to my classroom!

Some of you may know that I was laid off at my old school due to a reduction in force. I moved back home and was lucky enough to find a job nearish to home and in a great district. I’m so excited about starting my second year of teaching even if it is in an unfamiliar place. My new school is HUGE compared to everywhere else I’ve been with ~2,200 students in the high school alone. I’m pumped to be in such a large district and looking forward to all the chaos that comes with it.

Here are pictures of my room right after I walked into it for the first time:

I love that the room is a really nice size and although I love having all the wall space I do wish there was another whiteboard so that I could keep a weekly calendar much like I had done last year. Other things that made me have a mini breakdown were that there was no projector. I was able to email my department head though and she put in a work request to have one installed (yay!!!). I really wanted a projector because I love the structure it provides. It can save so much time by already having a warm up ready and also to have things like definitions and practice problems. I hate having my back facing my little chickpeas. Also I really wanted it for review games. Another big eye sore for me was that there are about 5 different types of chairs in my room. I’m the newbie on the block so I knew I would get some leftovers – I’m just happy to be employed!
I went back to school today along with some boxes and even though it isn’t much here is my progress:

This is all the crap the past teacher left in the room. I piled it up on the circular table by the door. ACK history :)

Made 4 Math #6

I cannot believe it is already the SIXTH #made4math

This week my post is very inspired from other #made4math -ers as well as all those elementary teachers out there who are always making super cool printables. The post that really got me going was from the MathSmith, she had a great post about ColourLovers and how you could use their patterns for your blogs background (PS Its how I have a new chevron background :) ). This got my wheels spinning on how I could use this to make binder covers. Warning: This does take a lot of patience and time, but I think the fact that you can customize these to be whatever you’d like is really priceless.

First up you need to go to and make an account. Its free and easy!
After you’ve made your account go and look at the patterns – don’t worry about the colours, we can change those later!
Once you find a pattern you like you have three options.
1. Use this one as is
2. Browse similar patterns
3. Color this pattern (for tutorial purposes we’ll be coloring our own pattern)

Now over to the MathSmith’s post she shows you how to go through a cropping process to get the image to be seamless, well after I wrote this post the first time (and cropped everything myself) I figured out how to do it the easy way!!! *facepalm* (PS OMG doing it this way makes it so much faster!!!!!)

Once you’ve created your pattern it’ll take you to this screen. Look over on the bottom right of this picture and you’ll see all the different size options. Click on preview! It’ll take you to the picture, right click and save it somewhere on your computer!

Here are the two patterns I made for my binder cover:

Now onto the binder cover!!!! Open up PowerPoint!!!!

First thing we need to fix is the size of the slide, so go to File > Page Setup…
Change the size of the paper to standard paper size of 8.5 x 11 – your computer might prompt you saying it needs to resize the file that is fine. You can’t print out an 8.5×11 color picture you need to have a little space around the edges anyway.
The easiest way I’ve found to insert your pattern into the file is to use the rectangle tool and place it where you’d like it to go.
Now don’t worry about the sides overflowing it doesn’t matter, the left is what your page will look like. You need to format your rectangle though, so take away its drop shadow and also its line, we need to fill it using the fill effects option.
Go over to the picture or template and browse for your pattern. Click the tile button and press ok and then your rectangle should look like the one I have in the background.
Use a couple more rectangle tools and you should have a basic background. Next I used a rounded rectangle tool put it in the middle and added some text.
Here is my finished product, now just save it as a PDF and print that sucker out!
Here it is all printed out and stuck in a binder!

Well I hope you found this tutorial useful, it can be used for endless things – I just really needed some binder covers!!