1. Add some green to your scene. . .plants, ficus trees, and greenery will make your classroom feel more warm and cozy. I opt for ivy plants because they're easy to maintain and they grow fast and furiously. My "gardener" of the week just needs to water it on Monday morning. It's also a great tool to use when we study plants and photosynthesis.
2. Organization Station. . .Every teacher has tons of notes, to-do lists, papers, school supplies, and so much more! I use this organization station to help be de-clutter my desk and work area. You can purchase these kind of bins at Target right now for $2.50 each. I created a few small labels which make filing and organizing much easier.
3. What's your theme? A common theme throughout your classroom adds personality and warmth to the room. There are so many great ones to choose from. I've seen everything from frogs to polka dots to outer space. Here are a few blogs with some amazing "theme based" resources.
Take a look at Mrs. Jump's pirate materials here! She also has a really cute word wall and pirate "work station" organization here!
You'll love Miss Kindergarten 's beach materials! They are adorable, and I can't wait to use a few of them in my room.
Clutter-Free Classroom has fabulous posts and great information about all kinds of themes! She has an entire series of posts that are have some very cute and creative ideas.
4. Contain the chaos. . .be creative as you look for ways to use containers and storage items. I love the "how to" post that Rachelle made, and I'm going to make one next week! If you haven't checked out her post, you should because she lists several time saving tips and some great ideas for how to make the process smooth and painless!
I love love love using storage materials that are typically used for other purposes.
Here's a picnic basket that goes along with my beach theme. Next year I'll use it to store books. As I plan my reading and writing mini-lessons along with favorite read alouds I can add books to the basket then change them out as needed. When the books aren't in use, I can close the lid and move it away to make room for other materials and resources.
I also grabbed this picnic caddy that can be used to store my supplies. It can stay at my desk area, or ss I travel around the room to take anecdotal notes or work with individual students, I'll have everything I need!
I could go on and on about this tip. . .Mr. Perry is SO supportive of me and of all teachers because he knows how hard we work, but every once in a while he does ask the question. . ."How many containers and bins do you need!?!?"
5. Print, print, everywhere. . .environmental print is such an integral part of a primary classroom. Here are a few of my favorite ways to include print in meaningful ways that your students will love! Include a sign about yourself with your favorite things. Instead of writing out each word, add pictures and icons of favorite books, restaurants, movies, and more.
Label your classroom items. There are many commercial products that have "desk, eraser, computer. . ." You can also consider taking pictures of the items in your own room and add print to create your own labels. I plan to try this out, and I'll you know if it seems to work well. You can also use velcro on the back of each picture so that students can easily remove the photo label as they're writing.
I'm working on a new unit that's all about environmental print. I hope to have it completed by next week, and it's been a really fun project.
I'm sorry this post is so late in the day. Earlier I had a play date with two handsome little guys and a few friends, then lunch with "dear old dad," and then spent a bit of time catching up with one of my teammates!