Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dog Themed Classroom Student Work Display

This is the display for student work in the hallway. I used the red border with the little white bones and put the words on top of it. I printed out "Dog Gone Good Work" on tagboard. I used two bright blue and white dog prints on the ends.

The dog silhouette is one I drew on black construction paper. I looked at a little picture of a Scottish Terrier and did the silhouette.  One of the students cut it out. I mounted it with heavy-duty double-stick tape.

You could draw your own. It's easy if you Google "dog silhouette" and pick one you like. An artistic student would love to do it for you, too. Some of ours are student-drawn.  You could do any kind of dog you like. This breed is very distinctive and the students like how it turned out. It's a big deal now to have your work in the hallway with the Learning Target. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Animal Print Classroom Banner, etc.

This banner hangs above the whiteboard in the front of the classroom. It's 6 feet long and hung with hooks in the ceiling as close to the wall as possible. I taped a small dowel rod on the back of it so it wouldn't bow too much.  It comes from You should check it out if you haven't already - they have lots of different banner choices. I looked at other sites like this one, too, but I loved this one the best. It's durable and came in the mail in just a couple of days!

This is the beginning of the Super Improver Wall in my animal theme. I'm on hold here until I get a bulletin board bought and the maintenance guy to hang it for me. (darn concrete wall)

The student numbers had to match, too. This is just printing out the numbers, attaching them to cheetah print paper, and running them through the laminator. I thought they turned out very nice!

Here is the poster outside our classroom door in the green pod. It shows where we are to be found if we are not in the classroom. One student a week has the job of moving the elephant every time we leave and return. An elephant NEVER forgets! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Animal Print Classroom Rules (whole brain teaching)

Bamboo paper for the background and zebra border make a nice bulletin board for Whole Brain Teaching's Classroom rules. All the bulletin boards in the room have this background. Some have the zebra border and some have a tiger border. It looks good with the green on the seat pockets, too!

Here's a pic showing the tiger border. I have an entire wall above the built-in cubbies covered with the bamboo paper and tiger-bordered! This wall was a bit of an eye-sore from hot-glue and various tape and adhesives. We decided to just cover it all up. It's beautiful and soothing now. The cheetah print is from home and looks nice in the corner of the shelf on an easel. Students love all the details of their classroom.

Don't be afraid to make your own calendar if you can't find one that matches your classroom theme! We could not find an animal print calendar that we liked, so we made this one and it wasn't much trouble at all.  We used different animal print paper from Hobby Lobby and glued on the months and numbers. On the poster machine we made the background. We attached velcro dots and that's it! Nice, huh? 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dog Theme Data Wall

       This is the beginning of our data wall. The students love the slogan, "Hot Diggity Dog Data."

       The 4th and 5th graders (and maybe the 3rd) will be tracking their SuccessMaker math scores on the bottom chart.  We are adding a little chart that shows that one year we had one student FINISH the SuccessMaker sessions - it shuts off with an 8.99 grade level, so this is a very big deal. The next year we had one student finish, and last year we had THREE people finish! This year's section will be blank until the end of the year, but we are going to try for 3 or more.    The 4th and 5th grade classes keep track of which class had the most gain on the group average from the gains report, weekly. It keeps them working! (and tracking more data!)

       We talked about what data to track for reading classes and decided on AR goals because it seems that as our elementary students get older, they don't take their AR goal as seriously as they once did. ( even the gifted and talented!) So, we are tracking it on the data wall this year, to see if it makes a difference.

       We may track tests, or exits, MAP score increases, etc. Students love to help with the planning of a data wall. They add their data to the wall.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Animal Print Seat Pockets!

When doing an animal print classroom, or jungle, or safari, you may find that the blue seat pockets just don't match. We found these beautiful animal print handmade ones on Pinterest, followed the link and ordered them on Etsy.
They are beautiful. They were delivered more quickly than promised. The students love them and are being very careful with them. They are fabric and may not last as long as those blue plastic-y ones, but they are so gorgeous, I think it's a fair trade-off! If the students don't overload them, I think they will last a long time, anyway.  The lady who made them even accommodated the size of the chair a bit on the order.

Update: They only lasted two years. My daughter is ordering again from the same source and has texted with the lady that makes them to insure that the fabric choice is more sturdy this time: the animal print sections were fine but the green fabric was stretchy and didn't hold up.
We'll post a photo as soon as we get the new ones on the chairs!

We were playing around with  making them ourselves out of pillowcases and I've got on my list to still get this figured out and posted on this blog!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Animal Print Themed Classroom Reading Area

       So, this classroom made an animal print reading area that's cozy, kid-friendly, affordable, AND upcycles! The upcycling is from taking these 4 old Saxon Phonics tubs with lids and using them as seating in this area! ( I sat down on them so I knew the kids would be fine sitting on them...)We covered the Saxon sign on each of the four sides with different animal print and map print tagboard paper. This paper came in a booklet that was just the right size. We covered all four sides so the seating can be moved around and all sides will still look good. Two of the tubs have wheels.

       We measured the top of the tubs and cut memory foam to fit them. I had a memory foam twin mattress pad from my son's college days - that's what I cut up. The pillow cases for the memory foam were sewed up quick and easy. I used fabric from two polyester shower curtains from Walmart. They were inexpensive and vibrant - one leopard, one zebra. There was lots of fabric left, too, enough for tablecloths for the top of bookshelves, or curtains for cubbies. I'm sure we will use it somewhere. (They had animal print sheets sets, too, but I liked the print on the shower curtains much better.)

       I already had the black rug that fit into the corner.
       The green pads are made from heavy cardboard ovals, covered with quilt batting and then covered with green cotton twill fabric. That's all stuck down on the back side with duct tape. The kids move them out and lay on them when they have time to read. These green things used to be the front and back of a turtle costume. They have a turtle back and belly drawn on them in black Sharpie.

       The kids love the area and it cost very little indeed. I hope this inspires you and your classroom!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Animal Print Valences From One Curtain

      We all try to make a great classroom on a budget, right? Check out this idea.
        I bought a curtain at Walmart for $9.97. ( yes, just one curtain) It seemed to be the best deal for the fabric. I'd looked at sheet sets and fabric, but neither of them had the substance that this curtain had. It's also got a great, bright zebra print.
       So, the top of the curtain had a rod pocket that was the same size as the hem, and the hem was exactly like the rod pocket. You could have hung the curtain up either way. This gave me the idea of how to make the most of my fabric!
       The next thing I checked was whether the fabric looked different if hung upsidedown beside the right-side-up. (sometimes it looks different in color or texture...) I needed to know this because I planned to use the hem as a rod pocket, which would have that part up-side-down.....

       I folded the curtain in half, putting the top and the hem together and cut the curtain exactly in half. Where the cuts were, I folded the fabric down and made 2 more rod pockets the SAME SIZE as the others. Now, I had 2 pieces of curtain with a rod pocket on the top AND the bottom. This may sound wierd, but it worked perfectly.
       Next, I folded each of these exactly in two, laying the top and bottom rod pocket sections on top of each other. ( I did this one at a time)  I cut along the fold line of both pieces. These cuts were where I stitched a tiny little hem on all four valences.
      There! Done! This Animal Print classroom now has four beautiful valences for $10.
       This idea would, of course, work with any classroom theme if you find a curtain that coordinates with your theme.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Dog Theme Classroom Reading Corner

          This is my reading corner in my Dog Themed classroom. I have a rug and two floor pillows. My colors are red and what I call "Cookie Monster Blue." The pillow cases are new towels from Wal-Mart - $3.97 each. They were exactly the right size to just fold over and stitch up the sides. I left the other side open and stuck it together with double-stick tape. This will make it easy to take the pillow cases home to launder.

       I brought in my dog crate and put a nice dog puppet inside. I think the kids are going to get a kick out of this space!

       On the wall is the start of our Super Improver Wall. (Whole Brain Teaching) The levels on the left are seven different dogs, along with a picture and a different color construction paper. I have a student who is our resident "dog expert" and she volunteered to pick out the seven dogs, from small to large, and printout pictures. She did an excellent job!
       The students will work their way up from a Tea Cup Yorkie, through Jack Russell Terrier, Beagle, Schnauzer, Border Collie, Newfoundland, and up to a Mastiff! I don't think my boys will want to be on that Tea Cup Yorkie for very long!

       I will have the title "Best in Show" at the top of the wall.

Whole Brain Classroom Rules

"And How are the Children?" We ask ourselves this at my elementary school. It's a great question as I prepare for the upcoming school year.

Last year our classroom had a Hollywood theme. I loved it but had tired of it after 2 years.... so, what do I love? I love my dog. So, there's my new theme!

I'd been to a Whole Brain Teaching conference in July and wanted to implement some of their best practices into the mix in my classroom. The classroom rules are on my wall, with a dog-themed twist. I put "dog silhouette" into the google box and clicked images. I choose a couple of dogs I liked and quickly drew them onto black construction paper and cut them out.

I typed and printed the rules out, glued them onto bright sky blue paper, and added the read and white dog-bone border. Then I placed my dog silhouettes. I especially like the way the hound's tail overlaps the border!
Here it is with the slogan at the top. "Off The Leash" means that if you go by the WBT rules, then you are off the leash! The class voted between this slogan and "Leash Laws," but "off the Leash" won by a good margin.