Saturday, August 20, 2011

Our Third Grade Classroom

The preparations are well underway as an exhausting yet thrilling week of pre-planning comes to an end. Our superhero theme, Empowering the Future, made it easy to decorate for the student WOW factor, and no detail was overlooked as we strived for an organized classroom that would provide purpose and limit student transition time between activities. I feel like we were thoughtful and successful in setting up a learning community that will meet the needs of our students and ourselves. Take a sneak peek inside our classroom before the learning journey begins...

The Hallway of Our Learning Headquarters

Upon rounding the corner, the hallway comes alive with color thanks to the hard work of a parent volunteer who graciously gave up days of her summer to help us WOW our future students. The black clothespins fastened securely to red construction paper await the hanging of student work that soon will adorn this Hall of Fame. 

 We welcome all superheroes on this year's learning adventure!

At the bottom of our yellow promotion cards, filled out on every student at the end of each year, the teacher writes something good about the student. The incoming teacher uses that valuable piece of information to make sure that every student feels loved as they enter their classroom on the first day of school in the new year. This tradition titled, I know something good about you, has been a Chets Creek tradition since our doors opened in 1998. This year my co-teacher, Miss Russell, had the great idea of creating bookmarks to post the Something Good About You sayings so when the board comes down students can track their reading with their new bookmark.

The Math, Science, and Social Studies heroes are ready to go outside the Headquarter of Learning.

Our classroom plaques remind us of our Guiding Vision, Learner Outcomes, and Core Values. 

A sneak peek inside our classroom... You may notice the stars over each table which have been set up purposefully with table groups and numbers that will be used for rituals and routines around gathering materials and working in small groups.

The bare walls are departmentalized with an area designated for math, science, and social studies artifacts. Hot gluing plastic clips makes it easy to put up and remove necessary charts as student learning unfolds.

The cubbies are numbered with a metal shelf in between to make sure that student back packs are organized and are not a distraction to learning.

There is a corner designated for our Math EDC area. Calendar, clocks, two hundreds chart, measuring tools, place value charts, thermometer, counting tape, and math manipulatives are set up and ready to go.


Place Value Chart

Organized and Labeled Math Manipulatives

 Counting Tape--Set up in groups of five and ten will make it easy to record each day of the school year. Cards are waiting for numbers 1-180 and students will look for many patterns along the way.

Our classroom has a gathering area were students can come to the floor and be up close and personal for classroom lessons. To secure the carpets, double sided tape works like a charm.

The board set up with colored masking tape allows for ease in recording the day's events and essential questions. Notice that just below the whiteboard our number line is easily seen and reachable by all students. 

Above the board, we have math strategies posted.

Math and Science Portfolios and items used for Tuesday Folders.

The word wall, though blank, is set up and ready for learning. Velcro dots secured to laminated posterboard and attached to the classroom cabinets leave plenty of space to display words. The words are pre-made on Avery labels that have been attached to index cards and laminated. The front of the card has the word and the back of the card has the definition. After words are embedded in classroom instruciton, they can be easily found placed on the word wall from pencil pouches organized in a three ring binder by unit. The words can be taken down by a student if they need to look up a definition and placed easily back on the chart with the velcro.
Thank you to Melissa for such a great system that keeps on giving! We miss you!

We have five student computer stations in our classroom. In addition, Miss Russell and her former co-teacher, Mrs. Ross, were selected as technology magnets in our district, so we are blessed to have a laptop cart, too. We will certainly put them to good use this year!

Our PTA sponsors Sunshine Math, an additional math homework sheet, used to push student learning to new levels. We are prepared to record and reward students who are going above and beyond the call of duty.

In third grade, students will learn how to multiply and divide. We have two doors in our classroom designated to record student progress. As they master a set, they will get to "sign the door."

Student work bulletin board is ready for some SUPER work!

With part of our science textbook adoption, we received leveled science readers. We removed the books from their boxes, organized them by their science content and put them out in our Research Library.

Each day when students enter our classroom, they will receive two SOLAR dollars. They will log their money in their account books and keep their money in pencil pouches in the pouches on the back of their chairs. Students will have the opportunity to save their money and spend it on our store items when the store opens each week. We have items to buy, but more maybe more popular, items to rent. Offering items like Teacher Assistant, special desk, special chair, and extra computer time are great perks that don't need to be replenished by the teacher. Kids can also rent popular games and have time to play during Store Hours.
(Displayed beside the Store is our birthday wall and this year students will get to wear a birthday cape on their special day. Pictures to follow soon.)

Science can be messy business and time consuming, but with prearranged rituals and routines, it doesn't have to be. These cheap ($2) trays are labeled by table number and already contain student maginifying glasses. In the morning, science items for experiments and labs can be set up, and student handlers can easily transport their trays during classtime.

I hope you enjoyed the "sneak peek." Stay tuned as we begin this year's learning adventure...


Sherrie Rabe said...

Amazing!! I love everything! I hope you enjoy this year in the classroom.

Pat Laurence said...

Looks great! I know you will have a wonderful year!!!

Melissa Ross said...

Everything looks fantastic! I can't wait to follow your school year. Miss you guys!!!! :) Melissa

Malea said...

Found your blog using the "Next Blog" button on Blogger. Love it! My mom is a kindergarten teacher, and I'm hoping for a college level teaching career. I've always loved helping my mom set up her classroom, and prepare for the new year! So fun, so exciting! Looks like you had fun too!

Dee Dee Tamburrino said...

I am utterly amazed at the thought processes that had to occur to bring your classroom to life in such a way that everything has a place and a purpose. Your set-up is "intentional teaching" at its best! I am so impressed!!

Tell Melissa I miss her too!!

wmhaines said...

Where did you find your border?

Suzanne said...

@wmhaines I honestly can't remember where we found the border. A colleague ordered in bulk so a group of us could have the superhero themed items. She googled Superhero border. I know it wasn't from a company we normally go with, but everything showed up in a timely fashion.

newmanm said...

I love your blog! I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Head over to my page to grab it!

Anonymous said...

I love the science wall. Can you tell explain each component more? I could not read it in the picture. THANKS!

angie597 said...

This is fabulous! Thanks for sharing. I have a question about how you assess your multiplication sets. I am very interested in the way you do it and would love to know more about it! I teach 4th grade. I look forward to hearing from you.
My email is

Jason said...

Very creative and inspiring. I just finished my Superhero themed room and you gave me a ton of ideas. Great work!

Roneet said...

Wow!!! That looks fantastic!!!
I wish we (in Israel) had such wonderful classes and teachers like you!!!

Anonymous said...

I love your ideas! I'm leaving 4th grade (Reading) to teach 2nd grade and this site helps me organize the many subjects I will teach.

Anonymous said...

How did you word the cards that talked about their superpowers? I'm thinking I'll be using this idea this year!