Sunday, August 30, 2015

Getting Ready for Back to School

bulletin board ideas and more
It's hard to believe that it's back to school time...and there is so much to do to get our classrooms and our "selves" ready for the rush of the first days of school.  I thought I'd get back into the swing of things with a quick back to school photo show!  Once things settle down, I promise to get back into the routine of real blogging!  Although this post isn't a real classroom "reveal", I thought I'd let you in on a few things I have been working on.  Let's roll!

First of all, my door!  I have "hidden" the names so you can't see all the fun fonts--but you get the idea.  These colors make me so happy!  
Back to school door
 I wanted to have a bulletin board ready for "Meet the Teacher".  I always do this--but usually just write our units/concepts on sentence strips.  I really wanted to highlight that we are going to be focusing on cooperative work and collaboration this year and came up with this.  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.
Display ideas for back to school
 Like last year, I am using my collaborative name tags.  I changed the backgrounds on mine, but last year's version is still available in my store.  I can form groups according to the background color, the dice color, the numbers on the dice, and the colored triangles in the corner--all groups of different sizes.  It makes it SO easy to get students working with EVERYONE right away!
Collaborative groups
(Just click the image if you want to see more about these)
 Sometimes just having something in their hands makes it easier for some students to share.  I actually got a new critter to add to the basket during our trip to Baltimore, so I will be adding a white seal soon!
Classroom culture
 I cannot WAIT to dig into the "growth mindset" activities I have planned.  I think I hit a nerve with many because tons of you have bought my bulletin board/lesson idea resource.  I'm starting the year with it, but it would be a great thing to do at ANY point to help students learn about how to reframe their thinking to be more growth-minded.  It DOES make a difference!
Growth mindset bulletin board
 We start our year of writing with a "launch" unit--we review personal narratives and small moment stories, but my big push is to make sure we develop some good writing "behaviors".  
These are the 6 points I stress as we complete our launching unit.
Writing expectations
Here is how we start working on narratives.  
 Even though the students seem to learn our schedule after the first week, I am \not so fast!  I make my schedule cards large enough that I can read them from across the room so I know where we are going!  Our specials meet at the same time every day so I don't need the times--for scattered people like me, that is such a relief!
Classroom bulletin board
 With only a few days until the students arrive, I have my travel folders stuffed and ready to go!
classroom organization
 My math zone is ready to are made, manipulatives are ready for students to use, word problems are ready, and a whole BUNCH of challenges await my fourth graders!
math problem solving
Word problems can be found HERE
So there you have it--a sneak peek at a few places in my room...and a few other tidbits!  Watch for more classroom shots as the next week unfolds!  If you are starting this week--I wish you all the best!


  1. Good job, Meg. Looks like you are ready for another beautiful year!

  2. You've got some GREAT stuff going on here! I love the door with their names. I think stuff like that gives students immediate ownership and a sense of belonging to their new class. The cooperative group name tags with the various ways to group them are BRILLIANT!

    1. Thanks, Alicia! The name tags make it so easy to get students working with each other.

  3. I love you door. I did something very similar but I cut out each letter using the die cut...yours looks easier! And you inspired me to read Carol Dweck and I'm going to (hopefully) talk a lot about growth mindset this year! Have a great first week!

    1. So glad you felt inspired! She is quite a lady!

  4. I'm thoroughly enjoying your website. Thank you for sharing so many wonderful ideas!
    Can you tell me where I could get your cute border? I'm talking about the one with colorful swirls on this page, bordering your calendar and schedule cards. I think it would work great in my classroom but I can't find it!

    1. Oh my... a local teacher store about 8 years ago! Sorry!