Monday, August 15

Organizing the Chaos

Hello y'all! Today, I am participating in a Back2School Blog hop and give away. I have teamed up with 50 amazing teachers/bloggers to bring you a wonderful array of management skills and organization strategies to work in your classroom! The hope is that you will "hop" along to each blog. Make sure you enter to win one of two wonderful prizes. We are giving away that change to win a $50 TeachersPayTeachers Gift Card and classroom resources from over 30 other teachers!!! The drawing is through Rafflecopter. Good Luck...

Every year, I try new things to get my organization "just right"....and every year, I have to change or tweak something....sometimes, I even try to reinvent the wheel (CRAZY, I know). However, THIS organization trick, I learned during my student teaching and I have been using it EVERY YEAR SINCE! By now, you're asking "What is this trick???", so here it is...are you ready????

Every year, when I get my student list, I first arrange all students in alphabetical order by last name. *If two students share the same last name, I then order them by the first letter of their first name. (ex. Anthony Smith would come before Brandon Smith). After this is done, I number the students from 1 to however many students I have. I make sure that my students know that their number is just as important on their paper as their name and they will be keeping the same number all year long. This number also matches their locker number. When we line up, we line up in alphabetical order (or numerical order). We count off and can quickly see which kiddo is not in line where they are supposed to be. It may take a few reminders, but they catch on quickly. When handing out work, I simply say "Make sure to put your name and number on your paper".  I also correspond these numbers with the order in my grade book. Once every child has their name and number down your job just got easier!!! "How???" you may ask...well, let me just tell you. When it comes time to turn in those papers, I can very quickly and easily check to see who's paper I am missing. I put the papers (quickly) in numerical order, and I can see if #5 is missing or #11. Now, I can grade the papers as I normally would. Since they are in numerical/alphabetical order, once I start putting grades in the grade book I simply start at the first spot and work my way down the list! No more hunting for the name each time. If I don't have #5's paper, I skip the 5th line in my grade book and keep recording my grades. After papers are graded, I can have them recorded in my grade book in a matter of seconds. Here's how it would look:
"Anthony Smith #1" on his paper
"1--Anthony Smith" in my grade book 
Locker #1: Anthony Smith
Anthony Smith at the front of the line.
Now that their names are on their paper, papers are graded, and grades are in the grade book; it's finally time to give the papers back out to them. THEY ARE ALREADY IN ORDER!!!! You simply go down the line and either pass them out, file them, put them in their cubbies/baskets, or however else you hand back your papers. It honestly speeds up the process. Now, let me show you how it looks in my classroom (YES!!! Picture time!!!)

Student Lockers
Here's the lockers I was talking about. Each kiddo has their own locker. They unload what they need and put their other things in their locker at the beginning of the day. Then they don't have to go back to their locker for the entire day! "But what if they need to put something in their backpack?" Well, they put it in their basket!

Student Basket Area

Close up of student baskets

These are their baskets. They can keep any folders, or notebooks here if they don't need them at the moment instead of *clank, bang, crash* at the lockers 50 times a day. When I hand back graded papers (since they are in numerical order) all I have to do is start with #1 and work my way down. Papers are handed back in no time at all! At the end of the day, they grab all papers out of their basket, load them in their back pack, and take them home!

I honestly use these numbers everywhere! 
I use them here:
Student Job board

Hallway Work Display
and here:
Extra School Supplies
I can quickly see who is running low on crayons, who lost their ruler, or who needs some more pencils.

If you have ANY questions at all, please ask away. I hope that you can use something that I offered as far as organization goes! Don't forget to leave me a comment, share, or follow to let me know how I'm doing. Be sure to click the "Next Hop" link to continue on with the hop!

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Thursday, August 11

2016-2017 Kindergarten Classroom Reveal

Hello y'all! Do you know what time it is???? It's time for my classroom reveal! After changing schools, grades, is clear to say I am exhausted from Summer "break"! MANY hours have went into making this classroom what it is. I couldn't be more proud of how it turned out. I hope that my Kinder-babies enjoy it as much as I do! I have tried hard to make it a fun, inviting place to facilitate learning. 

Here is where it all began. This video was taken by my AMAZING suite mate. She sent this to me to let me know my room was officially ready for me to start bringing my things in. Did you know teachers accumulate SO MUCH STUFF in such a short amount of time!?!?!

Did you see that HORRIBLE mural? I went cross eyed just looking at it! Okay, it wasn't horrible, but it didn't fit with my "theme". It has been painted over, feel free to e-mail me your complaints.

So, without further ado.... Here's my 2016-2017 classroom!
This is the view as you walk up to my classroom. Once I get my student name list, I will add their names to a picture of a frog sitting on a lily pad.

This is what you see when you first walk into my classroom. I have different learning "stations" and I will describe how I will use these areas as we look around the room.

Here is my large bulletin board area. I have student jobs listed here. The jobs are in a pocket chart and the numbers can very quickly be changed at the end of the day or at the end of the week. I also have our color poems here. We will be studying different colors each week. What better way to learn about them by singing them or learning a poem about them!

These are my class rules. I typed these up myself and printed them out. I then put them in frames. They are a little hard to read....there was too much glare for "picture taking purposes" so I turned out my lights and used my camera's flash.

Here is a close up of my Classroom Jobs. The paper on bottom describes what each child is responsible for each day.

Here is a nifty cart that the previous teacher left behind for me to use. She used it to put extra student supplies in. I am going to be using it to organize my "centers" or file folder games. Once I get them made, I will organize them and label the cart so that I can quickly grab a game and assign it to a small group for center time.

Here is a close up to my color poems. I found these online! If you'd like a copy of them, e-mail me or comment with your email address and I can tell you exactly where I found them!

This is a "shoe" organizer that I got at Walmart. I am going to use this to store each child's extra school supplies or supplies that we do not use every day. Since it is see through, I can see who is running low on crayons or missing their ruler.

This is my collaborative learning area. The students can work on file folder games here, or they can come over here to finish a project. This will also be my "arts and crafts" area. The pocket charts on the bulletin board will be my center management area. The students can see which center they are to be working on just by looking at the chart.

Obviously my sink area. Inside the cubbies, I have numerous items for arts and crafts. This is just around the corner from the small table above. It's an organized area and will make for easy clean up with having the sink right there.

This is my student library. The books are organized by "type of book" or by author for an author study. On top of the book shelves are books that either go with our theme or books that I will be reading to the class for the week.

On top of this book shelf, are a bunch of "Back to School" books that we will be reading the first week or two of school. Of course, it has my personal favorite SkippyJon Jones! I love all of the books, and I look forward to reading them to the students throughout the year.

On top of this book shelf, are my "frog" books. Since my room is decorated in frogs, it only makes sense. These books will be showcased for probably the first month of school, we may read one or two a week as an added bonus. Also, if you look ALL THE WAY to the left, you will see a MUST READ book. It is titled "Farley Farts". I have read it every single year that I have taught. The kids giggle at the title, and we have a good time with it. When it comes to the "sounds" of the book, every child helps participate in making them. The boys do full-on belly laughs, the girls get embarrassed. We completely ham it up! After we have read the book, and have all had a good laugh, I then turn it into a lesson. We discuss that "toots" are going to happen and that they are natural. I then remind them that since we have all had a good laugh and had a fun time talking about it, when it happens to one of our friends throughout the year we will make the decision to not call attention to it...we will not laugh...we will not have a giggle....and we will not make our friends feel bad about it. When it does happen, I simply remind them we have already had our good time, and they straighten up very quickly! It is a win-win!!!

Here is my computer area. Each student will get their chance to get on to the computers throughout the week. It will be one of my centers.

This is the front of my classroom. Most of our attention will be focusing up here. I also have my circle time carpet at the front of the room. Each child will have their own colored square.

Here is a close up of the left side of my board. It has our shapes that we will be learning about. These also have a poem to go with them. Kiddos can remember things easier when it is put to song or poem...add in a few movements and they are INSTANT geniuses!!!! Our calendar is up here too, for our calendar time during carpet time! 

This is the left side of my board. We are a school that discusses being a bucket filler. I have colorful pom-poms that we will put into the blue basket. Each time a student does something to "fill a bucket" they will get to put a pom-pom into our class bucket, each time a student "dips" from someone's bucket they will take out a pom-pom. Once our class bucket is full, we will have a whole class reward!

Here is my "loft". I will allow students to go up there to do some creative play, or they may go up there to do some silent reading. I will only allow 2-3 kids up there at a time, and we will definitely practice procedures for going up, coming down, going up, coming down, and....well, you get the point.

Here this is my manipulative storage area as well as my basket counter. Be on the look out on August 15th for how I will be using my baskets on a daily basis.....HINT: It will help have a quieter classroom!

A closer look at my baskets and numbering system. <--My numbering system will also be discussed in detail! :)

These are my student lockers and my "Frog Sanctuary". My students will be free to choose a stuffed frog to be their reading buddy when we get to silent reading time.

I have my students' desks arranged in a "U" shape. This will allow me to walk around and see that each child is on task. Also, I do not like for a student to have their back to me during class time. When I have the desks in a U shape, they just have to turn their heads to look at what is going on in the front of the room.

Inside my "Welcome to Kindergarten" kit, I have a brochure that details my classroom rules and what we will be learning for the year. It also details the basic ways I run my classroom. I also have a Student Information Sheet that I will put into my Teacher Binder. I have a welcome letter where I introduce myself to the parents as well as an invitation to join my class on Remind.

Here is my "Teacher area". I will not really be here throughout the day, but after school it will be my area to grade papers and organize.

I store all of my supplies and needed books/binders on this book shelf.

You better look fast, this is quite possibly the ONLY time you will see my desk so clutter free! Sadly, my desk becomes a "catch all"...but I'm working on my organization skills!

This is the shelf where I store all of my teacher manuals. I also have a place to turn in our work. In the middle I have tubs for each day of the week. I will place everything I need for each day of the week in that tub. I can grab the "Monday" tub and be completely ready for all day Monday. Any books that I will need or papers that I will need will fit in these tubs. Also, if I happen to be gone for the day, the sub will only need to pull that day's tub and they will be all set.
This is just outside of my classroom door. I will put artwork or AMAZING papers out here. The students will keep the same square all year long, so they can quickly point out which one is theirs to their friends and family!

I hope that you have enjoyed the walkthrough of my 2016-2017 Kindergarten classroom reveal. I look forward to your comments, questions, suggestions below! Feel free to share the post/blog and "pin" ideas for your classroom. Here's to an exciting first year teaching Kindergarten! I have decided that this year will be the #bestyearever! Until next time...

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Monday, August 1

Best Year Ever Sale on TeachersPayTeachers

740 × 400

Hello y'all! I am participating in the TeachersPayTeachers #bestyearever sale and it goes hand in hand with my thought that this year is going to be the Best Year Ever!!! I have uploaded a BRAND NEW item to my store. It is a 2016-2017 Teacher Binder! 

Here is my take on a Teacher Binder. I have seen several for sale, but they had WAY too many pages. I prefer a more compact version, so I created one myself. This is editable, you can add pages or delete some that you wouldn't use. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do! I will be updating this yearly, so 1 purchase and you can have it FOR LIFE!!! This is in PowerPoint format, so it is very user friendly!

Sections include:
Binder Cover
Personal Information Sheet
Personal Password List
Student Class List (You can even add pictures of your students)
Daily Schedule
Student Usernames/Passwords
Student Information Sheet
2016-2017 Academic Year Calendar
TEKS Year At A Glance (Can add Common Core Standards)
Lesson Plans Cover (just add your favorite Lesson Plan Template *I have one for free in my store)
Meeting Notes

Now is your chance to get my awesome NEW product at a deep, DEEP discount. You can find my entire store here!

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Wednesday, July 27

Blogging: A Male Elementary Teacher's Point of View

Hello y'all! Since deciding to start blogging again (did I even really have a good start?), I have surfed and searched and pinned several blogs that I would like to follow. These blogs offer amazing advice, however many of them are the same--most of them are from the perspective of a female teacher. I don't say that to be derogatory or to minimize what they have to say, just that a guys perspective might be a little bit different. Here is my take on the whole situation:

Photo: Jeff Carlson, Models courtesy of  Playmobi
Education is predominantly a woman's career. However, I like to look at it as "Education is a called career". There are many teachers (we all know who they are) that honestly have no business teaching. Some people go into education thinking it'll be easy. After all, we get 3 months off in the summer and every holiday known to man, right? (If you are a teacher or know a teacher, you just rolled your eyes at that comment.) Statistically, male elementary teachers (K-6) make up 16% of the teaching population. Of that 16%, roughly 660,000 are male preschool & kindergarten teachers. If you look from year to year, that number as a trend has been dropping by 20,000 each year. *See for yourself here* This information shows that we are a dying breed.

There is a stereotype that is not discussed often, but it is there. 1-Often, a male teacher in elementary isn't usually seen as a "caregiver". We are seen as more harsh in our discipline. 2-There are times when our motives are questioned. Here are just a few of the comments that I have heard in my 5 years of teaching: "Why would you want to be around kids that much?", "Have you seen the new guy teacher, isn't it odd that he's teaching young children?" I tend to just shake my head and ignore those comments. Female teachers can often be seen giving hugs. Due to this preconceived notion, I have become the expert at high fives and the one armed shoulder pat! Let me say, I'm not opposed to hugs AT ALL, I just don't give them as often. Last year, on the first day of school, I had a little girl come up to me. I noticed she seemed a little standoffish. She said, "Mr. Schulz, can I ask you something?", I told her she could always ask me anything. She asked, "Do you give out hugs, like, ever?". I let her know that I absolutely did. She gave me the biggest bear hug that I have ever had in my life. Her mother met me at my classroom the very next day and I thought "Oh Boy!". Her mother was smiling from ear to ear and told me how the first thing her daughter told her when she got home from school that day was that "Mr. Schulz DOES give hugs"! It definitely warmed my heart, and I bet you can guess, that same little girl gave me a hug every day for the rest of the school year. As a male teacher, I can argue that we quickly become a "parent-like" figure in the lives of the children. Some of the bonds that I have made with children (especially those without a male figure in their homes), have lasted YEARS after I have been "their" teacher.

Parents are often shocked when they walk into my classroom at the beginning of the year. I guess they expect it to not be a "welcoming" environment. I take great pride in creating an interactive, fun, and welcoming place for my students to spend 7 hours of their day. In my classroom, we can be seen taking breaks from learning. At times we will do a few quick exercises, dance around the room, sing a song (with movement of course), or play a quick game. The students always look forward to when Mr. Schulz is on recess duty. Often times, I will throw the football around with them (while still keeping an eagle eye on the other kiddos on the playground). On rainy/snowy days, the children LOVE when we go to the gym and play dodge ball. I am a big kid at heart, so of course I played right along with them. Let me tell you, I quickly became public enemy #1, the biggest target in the game. The students take delight in getting me out, and they sure love to rub it in! Being the "guy" in the school, you sometimes get certain unpleasant responsibilities. I can't tell you how many times I've been pulled aside to discuss "proper bathroom procedures" to boys, or talking to "Johnny" about his habit of pulling at his "business" while talking to his friends. I understand it being easier to hear from the guy, because I often referred the girls to my female co-teachers when they question the sanitary box in the girls bathroom.

I guess it's time to wrap this up. The whole point of this is to ask that you take time to encourage your male teachers, don't be scared of us when you see that your child is in our class, and understand that we are here because we WANT to be! We are going to love your kiddos like crazy, have fun with them, and teach them a thing or two! If you like what you've read, I welcome you to follow along in my journey this year. It is sure to be an exciting year! I'd love to hear comments about your experience as a male teacher, your experiences with a male teacher, or comments in general about what you think about this post.

Until next time...

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Tuesday, July 26

FREEBIE from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store

Hello to you all! I wanted to take just a moment to share a few things. I have listed a 2016-2017 Academic Year calendar for FREE on my Teachers Pay Teachers store! On top of posting a new product, I am hosting a sale on all of the items in my store. Take this opportunity to get one (or more) of my items at a 15% discount. The sale will run through Thursday, July 28, 2016. I am in the process of making several new items to add to the store! One of the items is a FULLY EDITABLE Teacher Binder! To get to my Teachers Pay Teachers store you can click the picture above or click the "TPT Store" tab at the top of the blog. If you have any questions, give me a shout!
Until next time...

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Monday, July 25


Natalie Grant sang it best (and believe me, you wouldn't want me to try to sing it)! When you are in the middle of a storm in life, it's raining so hard that you can't see anything that lies ahead, call out his name and he will find you and walk you through the storm. If you'd like to hear the full song, click here. This has been my recent case. I was unsure what the future held, all I knew is that it was raining and the water was quickly rising. I griped and complained about the situation I was in. I finally called out to him and he opened doors that I didn't even consider opening. You may ask yourself "What on earth does this have to do with education?" and my answer is EVERYTHING. My fellow Oklahomans know about the current situation in education for Oklahoma. I will spare you the details or dilemmas, just know that Oklahoma is hurting for teachers. I never thought I would teach outside of Oklahoma, but a door opened and I have been given the opportunity to teach just across the Red River. I'm starting a new chapter in my life where I will be teaching in Texas and (Are you sitting down?) teaching Kindergarten. I have always thought that anything lower than 2nd grade was too low for me to teach and I always had 100 excuses as to why I thought it wouldn't be a good "fit" for me. Well, God has a way of shaking you from your comfort zone. Now that we are about a month away from the start of school, I can honestly say that I am EXCITED about teaching again! I feel that this is a change that I wanted, but was too scared to take the plunge for it. Not only have I taken on the "KinderLand" challenge, but I am also taking the challenge to start back up my blog after years of neglect. I hope that you will join me in my new journey! I will be sharing funny stories (because 5 year olds are naturally funny), sharing advice (so you learn from my mistakes), and offering words of encouragement if you happen to find yourself in a storm of your own. This blog will not be for "Teachers Only", so I hope that you will follow along with me! I look forward to comments--good and bad. So go ahead...leave me a comment, share with your friends, and most importantly click the "Follow" button on my blog or follow the blog by e-mail. This is going to be the #bestyearever! Until next time my friends...

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