Thursday, July 30, 2015

New Furniture Part 2: The Finished Product!

          In an earlier post, I shared with you how to make over your old classroom furniture, using just colored contact paper and border. Below you will find the result in my classroom.

    *****Every shelf in my room looked like this before I began.


               * Art Shelf

              *Math Center

           * Writing Center (a chalkboard made from chalkboard contact paper on the back of a bookshelf)

           * Science Center

             *Block Center

          If these transformations inspired you, then start today! If you think you don't have time or money, start with just one color of contact paper and one shelf. Or you can cover the tops of every shelf and save the rest for later. Anything you do will be an improvement and make the room look more inviting!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pocket Charts: Creative Ways to Organize Your Pre-K Classroom!

           In my elementary school teaching days, I used a lot of pocket charts. You know, the huge deep blue ones that cost a ton of money each. They were useful for writing things on sentence strips. They were also used for calendars and other classroom activities. However, when I switched to Pre-K, I found they took up space I didn't have, and I couldn't use them in the same way.
           Recently, I have fallen in love with the smaller, colorful, cheaper pocket charts. I find that they are more useful in a Pre-K setting. AND they are only $1 each! They are available at your local Target Dollar Spot for Back to School, or even sometimes at Dollar Tree in the teacher section. I have come up with several ways to use them in the classroom to aid in organization, as well as integrating them into the classroom routine.

            1. Job Chart
                *To make this chart, I bought the colored strips that fit this chart, also just $1. Then I found clip art online to match each job that I had. I attached the picture to the strip And then wrote the title next to each. I hung them side by side because of the location I wanted it to be. Then I added the "Helping Hands" border at the end.

            2. Schedule
                * This is a visual schedule for the students to manipulate each day. I started by writing down each main section of our day. I left off the clock time to allow for adjustment. It makes it easier to move the activities in case of an early release day or special events. Besides, most 4 year olds understand time as a sequence of events, not numbers on a clock. I added pictures of my students doing each activity to help them "read" each part of the day. To finish it off, I added a clock border. The student with the job of "Time Keeper" moves the car down the schedule throughout the day. I have it located near my circle time area so that it is easy for everyone to see.

         3. Small Group Organization
             *This pocket chart is located at our circle time. We review it each morning meeting so the students know which small group activity to go to for the day, following our morning meeting. I have the teacher names for the two teacher directed activities. Then I draw pictures of the independent activities. For the most part, every student does every activity through the week, though sometimes modified for their needs. Each day I rotate the activity cards by moving it up one row. I use the students pictures (index size and laminated) to make up each group. This makes it easy to switch out students so that the groups can be arranged by ability. I change groups at least monthly based on the growth of individuals.

         4. Center Signs
             *These charts are located in each center. For the first few months of school, they will be used to show the name of the center and show pictures of what can be done in each center. Pictured below is the one for the Block Center. We will go over the chart during the first few weeks of school during our small groups times. This is where we take a smaller group and introduce each center, the materials in it, how to use it, and how to clean up.

                *After we are well into the routines of the classroom (2-3 months into school), we will turn the center signs into various pocket chart games. I will post another article once we are into school to show different types of games I use.

         So RUN, don't walk, to your local Target to stock up on these great pocket charts! I mostly chose the blue charts to go with my wall color,  but there are more colors. Even if you still don't have an idea for them yet, get them. They do go quickly!

Monday, July 27, 2015

New Furniture! (Or at least make it look that way)

            One of the biggest problems with making your room look inviting is the furniture. You can decorate the room all you want, but if your shelves are old, scratched, and just gross, it ruins all of your efforts. However, there is a clean and easy fix! Below you will see a step by step guide to making your old furniture look new and amazing! 

STEP 1: Gather your materials. You will need:

                         *Colored contact paper or shelf paper                 

                         *Border to match the theme of the shelf

                         *Packing tape (easiest with a dispenser)

STEP 2: Remove everything from the shelf. (Labels, toys, dirt, etc.)

STEP 3: Measure and Cut

                        *Measure contact paper on each shelf for length, and cut to fit. Use the grid on the back as a guide. 

                        *Roll up your cut paper, then place on the shelf. Cut about an inch from the edge. This will allow a smooth cover on the shelf without any overlap of contact paper. 

STEP 4: Place contact paper on each shelf. 

STEP 5: Measure and cut the borders for each shelf. 

STEP 6: Tape the Border to the shelf. 

                       *Start with using a strip of packing tape overlapping the edge about 1/2 inch. This excess tape will help attach the border to the shelf, as well as create a seal so that the border will not lift up or be peeled off. 

                       *Seal the top half of the border by laying another piece of packing tape across the top. Again, make sure it overlaps about 1/2 inch to allow it to be sealed to the shelf.

                       *Depending on the width of your border, you may need to add a third strip of tape in the middle of the border. You want to be sure that all areas of the border are covered in the tape. This will help the border stay attached, as well as protect it for easy wipe down. 

STEP 7: Label your shelves, place the materials back on the shelf, and enjoy! 

****This can also be done on cubbies, or anything else that needs to be covered!

Sunday, July 5, 2015


This is my first blog. My family, friends, and coworkers said I should start a blog. So here is my attempt! I will learn as I go, so excuse the progress! I am going to share my 13+ years of teaching experience with you. I hope to offer great tips for your classroom, as well as new ideas for activities to do with your students. Let me know what you would like to see!