I promised that I would post the rest of my pictures from my room (which I feel better about doing now that it’s 100% finished), and share the ideas that go with them. Now that kids are on their way (Monday’s the day), I’m excited to show them the room and I hope that my future postings will be more about class work and activities.

My “extras” table — keeps a bunch of materials that the kids need, but that can cause a distraction if they’re in the front of the room.

My “Extras” table is something that I started last year, and is a modification of my supply table. I use the Extras table for the materials that kids need, but that can sometimes cause a distraction or huge traffic jam if they’re at the front of the room by other materials. I have tissues, hand sanitizer, scratch paper, sticky notes, extra pencils (that I find in the hallways and let kids have), spare paper, and extra copies from throughout the week all sitting on this table; the table is in the back of the room so that kids can grab what they need on their own. Hopefully, my 6th graders this year will do a little better with it now that I’ve got the space to put it in the back — last year, the table was off to the side and caused a few problems!

I’m trying something new with my absent folder this year. In the past, I had stapled all of the day’s work into a packet for an absent student (and written the student’s name on the packet as well), then dropped it into an absent folder for students. This year, I’m going to put all assignments for a day into a hanging file in my “extra copies” crate and require students to get the assignments on their own. I’ll clean the files the following week (Monday’s work will get taken out the following Monday, etc.), and if students have not gotten their missing work by then, they’ll have to get it from my online database, COLE. This way, I don’t end up with a million things to file at the end of a unit, I won’t have students searching for work from 3 weeks ago, and the students are held responsible for getting their assignments. I had a few kids absent today — I’m optimistic that this new system will work!

Belt autographs will go here. Once kids reach a blue belt, they’ll sign on the blue paper, etc.

I’m sure that other schools do this too, and at my school, we practice some basic math skills with Belt Tests. Kids get 5 minutes to answer 16 problems, and to move on to the next belt, they have to get every question right. Well, I was decent about giving kids the recognition they deserved for passing a belt, but I wanted to get better. Insert my Belt “Wall of Fame” — now, once kids get to a belt, they’ll autograph the wall, thus making them famous! Maybe, with a constant reminder on the wall cabinet, others will be more motivated to kick butt and take names on these belts!

Here, it’s time for me to make a confession. Sometimes (it’s not often, I promise), after I give a student permission to leave the room, I get totally wrapped up in another activity and completely space out who just left. I’ll find myself shouting, “Where is _____?!” in an almost accusatory tone, and some sweet kiddo will say,”But, Mrs. K, didn’t you just let her go to her locker/the restroom/to get a drink?”

Whups. Why yes, little one, yes I did. My bad.

Never fear! I have figured out the solution. Have the student write down that they left. Duh. The teacher in this room before me had a mini-whiteboard mounted on her wall by the door. I divided it into 2 parts (painter’s tape — it sticks for a long time, but doesn’t damage the whiteboard and will come off really easily when you want it to do so), and made one side my “Who’s Out?” side, and the other side is for little announcements that I always forget to make, but still want the kids to see. So far, my students are really great about putting their names on the board when they leave, and I haven’t once had a freak-out moment about someone being out of the room. Phew.

who's out
Who’s Out? and Don’t Forget! board, mounted on the wall right next to the door.

I love perusing through all of these teacher blogs and finding these fabulous ideas — I’ll be honest and say that nearly everything I do is borrowed from other teachers! (Aside from my “Love Mrs. K” board — once again, ALL ME.) I’d love to hear from other teachers to get their ideas!