Saturday, September 8, 2012

50's Diner Classroom....Rockin' Out in 2nd Grade!

Well it is!   It isn't totally complete, but it's as finished as it will be for awhile!  This will be a HUGE post due to all of the pictures.  I want to say upfront that I took ideas from EVERYWHERE!!!  There are soooo many creative people that have given so freely of their ideas.  Many of the ideas I have modified, yet some are as is.  I hope you enjoy touring my classroom!

 This is my hall door.  I created a "Menu" of things that we do each day and gave each one a "price".  The Menu is based on an actual 50's diner menu.  I then wrote each student's name on an actual order ticket.

Next to my door I have an "awning" that I created with a display board and hinges.  On this, I will place notes that parents will need to see or inspirational messages for other classes to view. This idea came from Emily at Teacher Stuff. I also have a Where We Are Now Board.  On this board my student helper places a magnetized sign that lets visitors know where we are.  They switch out the sign when we go to PE, Lunch, Library, etc.  I bought a magnetic dry erase board for lockers at Walmart and simply put black and white checked duct tape around the edges.  I added letter stickers saying Where We Are Now.This idea came from Hadar at Miss Kindergarten.

 Here is the sign in closeup.

 Above the awning I have a hanging sign that says second grade on it.  This was made using a hanging basket bracket.  I bought a cheap pre-cut board at Walmart and painted it.  I then put a hook in the top and hung it from the hanging basket bracket.  I think that it turned out really cute. This idea came from Missy at My Cottage Charm.

Here is a closeup of the sign in my hallway.

Come on in to the Second Grade Diner!

 My classroom is in a building that was built in the early 30's.  We have wood floors and VERY high ceilings.  This view is looking toward the door.  The exit door is white with my Super Improver board on the back.  The black door is actually a closet that I have part of my calendar on.  One project that I have left to do is paint the pink and blue baskets.  They are driving me crazy because they do not fit my color scheme!  I also need to finish applying the labels to my drawers.  My smartboard is on this wall as well as my schedule, small version of the rules, WBT scoreboard, and voice level chart.  I have a stool for the students to use if they need it for the smartboard, but so far none of my students have needed to use it.  I love the carpet and am so thankful that my administrators got it for my classroom.  We love to sit at the carpet for certain lessons.  (I hunted and hunted for a black and white one with the squares, but never found one.)
 This is facing the same direction but looking at the South Wall.  You can see my Calendar, Math Manipulative Tubs, WBT Practice Card Chart, "Jukebox", Number Line, and "High Wall decorations".  I call them "High Wall Decorations", because they are things that I leave up all year.  Since I can't reach them (even with a ladder), my paraprofessional had to hang these items. On the "High Walls"..... what goes up .................does not come down in my classroom!  It stays up ALL YEAR!
 This is my "Super Improvers" Wall/Door.  Each student has cards in their pocket for each of the level.  They have a Super Improver booklet at their table.  Each time that they do something better than they have ever done before, they get to mark it in their booklet.  Once they have 10 marks, they get to move up a level on the Super Improver Board.  This is a technique from Whole Brain Teaching.  If you are not familiar with it, please check it out.  I am only beginning to use it this year, and in just two weeks, I can already see the difference in my students.  The ideas are free and there are wonderful online resources like videos and freebies to help get you started.  It is truly a remarkable system!

Next to my door, I have a "binder shelf".  Each of my students has a binder that they take home each day.  They are their "Fifties" Binder.  Family Involvement Forms Totally Independent and Efficient Students is what "Fifties" stands for in our classroom.  These binders only take two shelves, so on one shelf I have a "lost and found" set of drawers and a First Aid Kit.  I created the First Aid Kit from an old Baby Wipe tub.  The students know where to find a band aid if they need it, and it is close to the door in case we need to "grab and go".  I labeled the drawers with the items that tend to be "lost" the most in our room.  Now we don' t have to dig through lots of items to find exactly what has been lost.  On the very top of this shelf is a picture of President Eisenhower and a silk plant.  The students have already asked about who he is.  I love how they are learning history just from our classroom.  I also have a diner basket with a dog toy hot dog and "french fries" in it sitting on the shelf .  I will explain the "french fries" idea later when you can see a picture with it.

On the front board next to my smartboard, I have my WBT scoreboard.  I framed a copy of the scoreboard and put magnets on the back of the frame.  I love it because writing on the glass does not leave the "ghosting" that sometimes happens with dry erase.  I cleans off completely and the heavy duty magnets hold the chart in place.  I also have the voice level chart for when verbal communication is necessary. (I don't see my clip on it, but it is simply a painted clothespin.)  I also have a smaller version of the rules on the front board.  As we learned the rules, I attached the rule to a ribbon with velcro.  They learned the rules in about 2 days, but we practice them several times a day.  I created a Rules booklet that explained what each rule means and they then drew a picture of themselves following that rule.  Visualizing themselves following the rule seems to have helped.  They have been such good little rule followers from day 1!

Above our smartboard is our flags.  Good citizens show respect for their country, so we make sure that even though we say our pledges in morning assembly (breakfast), we also show our respect throughout the day.  We learned that the bald eagle is a national symbol, so we placed our Beanie Eagle on the flags.

On the other side of my smartboard, I have my ELA focus board.  On it I place vocabulary, Comprehension Strategies, Genre, Focus Book, and other things that we are focusing on for the week.  I didn't really take a picture of it, but you can kind of see it in the bottom left of this photo.  I have painted frames with pictures of famous people of the 50's a various places in the room.  They are simply dollar store frames and pictures that I found on the internet printed in black and white.  I also have dollar store inspirational quotes placed on my "high walls" throughout the room.  Our building has windows into our halls high up on the walls.  I had to cover these with curtains to block out the light so that my students can see the smartboard.  I also have the hand signal code placed in the front of the classroom so that students can let me know of their "needs" without interrupting the lesson. I got these from Miss Nelson at Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera. Thank you Miss Nelson!  This is so helpful.  My students are getting better about using these every day.  In the center, you will see my Editing chart.

I have the editing marks that we teach in second printed on strips.  As we learn them, I add them to the chart.  I placed them in the chart for the pictures, so that you could get an idea of what I was talking about.

In that corner of the room is my "office".  I have a set of shelves with my teacher materials, a file cabinet for private files, computer station for the smartboard and elmo files, and my teacher desk.  I forgot to take a picture of this area.  I should have since it was actually clean.  I should have recorded that for a reminder of a rare event in my room, since it seems to rarely be that way throughout the year!! :)

Against the file cabinet and the computer station, I have a set of shelves that my father made.  It holds tubs of math manipulatives.  I haven't finished labeling them, but the manipulatives are in them.  I also have two sets of drawers that hold items needed throughout the year.  On top of those are my homework baskets.  I got the beautiful labels from Clutterfree Classroom.  The students turn in their homework to the appropriate basket. I have an old magazine rack that I got at a flea market probably 25 years ago.  It makes the perfect mailbox for my students.  They place their papers in it and when I take them out, they are already in alphabetical order.  Ready to enter in the gradebook after grading.  It also makes it easy to see whose paper is missing. LOVE IT!!!! 

On top of the manipulative shelf is my MP3 player drawers.

Each drawer holds one of our MP3 players.  In the back of the drawer is a small hole that allows the plug in to stay inside the drawer.  When we replace the Mp3 player in the drawer, we plug it in.  That way our MP3 players are always ready to go! I got this idea from Liliris at Fourth Grade Garden.  Simple....yet so functional.

On the north wall, above the student "mailboxes" is our No Name Clip.  Sometimes the students forget to put their name on a homework assignment.  When they do, we hang up their paper on the clip.  When I ask them why they didn't turn in their homework, they know to look on this clip if they did turn it in.  So far it is working wonderfully!  This idea came from Mrs. Brown at Mrs. Brown's Blog.

Next to it, I have my chart for tracking fact mastery.  The idea comes from Lory Evans.  I bought her "Pig Math" and adapted it to meet the way that our curriculum teaches the facts.  We use doubles, doubles plus one, etc.  The lines are simply electrical tape that peels right off the board when you need to take it down. Notice the top corner.  I pulled it down to let you see how easy it is to get off.  Then I just smoothed it back up.....good to go! The students each have a magnet with their number that is moved to the next box when they master that set of facts.  We haven't started our fact practice yet, but will start VERY SOON!

One of my additions that I LOVE, is my SHARP and DULL pencil dispensers.  I loved the metal straw dispenser idea that was all over PINTEREST.  However, it couldn't find one reasonably priced, sooooooo I found acrylic straw dispensers made like the ones found in the 50's.  I created labels and applied them to each dispenser.  Unfortunately when I took the pictures, I didn't have pencils in them yet.  I love them!  I replaced the red basket with a platter and now have my pencil sharpener sitting in the platter between them.  It looks so RETRO! :)

 Sorry this picture is blurry.  Moving toward the corner, I have two old file cabinets.  My project for next year is to decorate those.  In the corner I have two more shelving units that my dad built.  Each shelf holds dish tubs.  The green tubs are my leveled classroom library.  My students LOVE to go "book shopping" for a book to read at their level.  I have them leveled using the Fountas and Pinnell system.  They also have the AR number labeled on each book.  My students are required to test each week.  They can't wait for library day to go test.  We track our scores and when they receive the required number of points, they are able to "move up" to the next level. Each student is only competing against him/herself.  Each time they score well on a test or "move up" they get to enter it into their Super Improvers booklet.

The blue tubs are my math stations.  I have 12 math stations.  This year, I have bought Lory Evans' Monthly Common Core Stations.  I currently have the September Stations in the tubs and they are wonderful.  Visit her at Teachers Pay Teachers if you are interested.  They are sooooo worth the money!  The extra tubs hold more math manipulatives and extra center materials.  Our school has been tremendously supportive in buying us tons of manipulatives for math.  We always have plenty for the students to use!

Above the shelving units, are more center activities and workmats that we use throughout the year.  Each is labeled with information on what it is to be used for.  On the "high wall" are more decorations to make our room inviting.  I have my Welcome banner.  I modified ideas on the web to create a red, black, and white banner.  I then created "chrome", black, and red pom-poms for my ceiling.  It breaks up the stark white of the paint and distracts from the old ceiling tiles.  So much more fun!!!!

 On the outside wall, I attached two metal signs.  I found these at Half-Price Books.  I loved the retro look.  I added the Dollar-Store Saying and I think it really adds to the 50's theme.

Our whole East Wall is covered with 4 ceiling to waist high windows.  We get so much morning sun that our room is hot and too bright to see the smartboard.  Last year I bought 8 long curtains to cover as much of the window as possible.  It still left about 20 inches uncovered at the top of the windows.  I plan on making cornice boards to go across that 20 inches, but haven't been able to get the boards cut yet.  I really needed places for my vocabulary walls so I created hanging clip boards.

I took 4 yardsticks and painted them red.  I then glued ribbon on the top of each red yardstick.  On top of the ribbon, I glued 5 painted clothespins.  After those dried, I then glued giant 50's style buttons to the clips. I then used a staple gun to attach them to the upper window frame. They are wonderful for hanging either pocket charts or anchor charts.  Right now I have some of our vocabulary cards up and a math anchor chart.  They are high so I do have to use a ladder to hang them, but they are right near the students and the students are really using them.  I notice that they look at them when they need to verify their thinking about the topics we are discussing.  They have been using the correct vocabulary after glancing at these charts.  Success!

Between window 1 and 2 is a small space where I have placed our Class Pledge.  This came from Lori Rosenberg at Teaching With Love and Laughter.  She has her version for free at her Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  I simply remade it with my classroom colors and graphics. My students are currently learning it.  I want it to become as important to them as the U.S. pledge and the Texas pledge.
Between window 2 and 3 is our Air Conditioning Unit.  I have used this space to place our class clock. I created clock numbers with chrome bottle caps on a red and white checkered pattern.  It looks fun with the chrome colored clock rim.  I also used 3 of the Target Dollar Spot foam clocks to show the times that we have Specials during our day.  Hopefully this will begin to cut down on the "Is it time for Lunch?" questions that we get.  So far when they have asked, I have only had to point at the clock reminders and then they remember to look for themselves.  As they become accustomed to it being there, I think this will get even better.
Between window 3 and 4 is our Large set of WBT Rules.

Sorry the picture is sideways, but I think you get the idea.  It is simply the rules for our classroom printed and hung on a ribbon just like our Class Pledge.  My students are loving the rules this year. The first graders have begun asking me to teach THEM the rules!  Who knew it could be so easy?

And what is under the windows?   Well...................................................................

The diner tables of course!  I convinced my school to let me get rid of the desks.  YUCK!  The desks were NOT designed by a teacher.  They did not fit together because the legs slanted outward.  They had to be offset and would "walk" all over the room.  I just couldn't take it anymore.  I BEGGED for tables.  Since there was no money available, I was told that if I could find old tables that they could be mine.  ;) SCORE!  I found four tables that would seat 6 kids each. I am a firm believer in teaching students structure, so I wanted to designate a space for each child.  I applied electrical tape to the tops of the table to give each student their own area.  No turf wars now!

However the tables were teal and purple.  Oh the headaches of tables that don't match!  I normally would love those colors, but they were not MY color scheme.  How could I fix that?  Man's favorite repair tool!  DUCT TAPE!!!!!!!!!!!  I found chrome duct tape.....not silver.....CHROME!  I quickly covered the top edge of the tables.  Reminds me of the chrome edged 50s diner tables! ;) PERFECT!  I couldn't paint the legs so I had to find a way to block that from my view.  The table shelving units that Dandelions and Dragonflies uses! Luckily our Walmart had 4 units the day I went.  I bought them and then played "Tim the Tool Man".  I put them all together myself.  (Notice your monitor shaking as I pat myself on the back. :) )  A perfect place to store their materials and it covers the table legs. So far so good.  But I really want my students to have to get up every time they need a pencil? NO WAY!!!

They say necessity is the mother of's true. (At least for me!)  I knew that I wanted their supplies readily available. I had already bought colored cups in my 4 table colors (red, green, blue, and yellow).  I grabbed one and headed off to Lowe's.  I must say that when you explain that you are a teacher BEFORE you tell them what you are planning on creating, they get this grin on their face and then humor you.  (Actually the man that helped me was wonderful!!! I think he must have a teacher as a relative! ;)   ) I bought 4 six foot long boards, 24 pvc pipe connectors, and a glue that works for both wood and pvc pipe.  I made absolutely sure that the cups would fit into the pipe connectors.  These were perfect.  They hold the cups snugly but are easy to remove if needed.  I measured for correct position then glued the connectors onto the board.  I let them dry for 24 hours then painted the connectors with an industrial paint that said it would work on PVC.  I then painted the board with a can of paint.  They fit the tables perfectly, but I did apply three pieces of Heavy Duty velcro to the underside to hold them down on the tables.  I had to give myself another pat on the back for this idea, because it really ROCKS!

Between each pair of students, I placed a copy of our "Diner Rules".  It is printed front and back and allows the students to see the rules at all times.  I ordered the menu card holders from Amazon.  They were around $12 for a dozen.  I really think that they will be useful for other things as the year goes on.  They hold the cards tightly.  So far the students have been good about leaving them alone, and it does give it a "Diner" look to the tables.

The Diner Tables part of the classroom is divided from the Carpet Area of the classroom by a set of low cubbies.  We use these cubbies to store our items that we are not using.  Extra school supplies, books that we are not using yet, etc. They face away from the carpet so no one is tempted to "play" with items in the cubbies during carpet time. 

In the back corner next to the large windows, I have a very tall bookcase that houses items that we need quick access to. 
You can see a few of my "High Wall" decorations. I have framed pictures of people and items found in the fifties as well as my Number Line made of small printable records glued onto black and white checked border. I got the idea from Hope King at Shenanigans in Second.  She has a free version on turquoise background in her Teachers Pay Teachers store. I used her idea, but created my own records in the colors used in my classroom and then hot glued them to a black and white checked border. It works great for my theme!  Thanks Hope for the idea!  I have a hula hoop with the words, Wish it...Dream it.....Do it inside also on the back wall. Shout out to Dollar Tree for providing all of the inspirational stickers that I used in my classroom!

The top shelf of the tall bookcase is just decorations due to how high it is.  I simply can't get to these things so I created some "Diner Style" decorations.  I have a pop corn container, a framed 50's version picture of Elvis, mustard and ketchup bottles (partially filled with rocks for stability), and a hamburger and french fry basket.  The hamburger is a dollar store dog toy and the french fries are just three cut up sponges.  They look real and the students spotted them right away.  They think they are really fun!

I know this is a repeat picture, but you can better get the idea of the wall that I am discussing now.  On the left closet door, are the "Pig Math" type papers that the students use to test their fact mastery.  I mentioned this earlier when I discussed the tracking board.  Next to that is our WBT Practice Card Chart.

Sorry this picture is blurry, but it is simply my version of the practice cards for each of the WBT rules that we use in our classroom.  I haven't completed this yet.  I need to add the students names or numbers, and then take the chart home and sew it into individual pockets.  It is amazing what uses I have found for Target Dollar Spot pocket charts!  When a student is having difficulty following a rule, I will put the rule card that they need to practice into their pocket and then once they practice it, then the rule card will be removed. 

Next to this pocket chart, is where our birthdays will be listed.  I haven't completed my birthday display since I am just receiving the birthdates from the parent information packets.

Continuing down the wall, is a set of cubbies that contain math manipulatives organized for each table.  These are used mainly for whole group lessons where we need the items organized for each table.  There are labels in each table color on the baskets and there are 4 baskets for each manipulative.  If we are using Unifix cubes, for example, then the table captain goes and gets the Unifix cube basket in his/her table color.  Easy Peasy!

On top of this cabinet is my IJuke.  I have most of my music on my ipod so this Ijuke was perfect.  (I also have a stereo system for CD's and Ipods provided by the school, but I don't use it that often.)  I found this on ebay.  It is made by Crosley. It is very sturdy and well built.  I turn the lights on for special occasions and as a reward.  The kids LOVE it!  I have some 50s music on the ipod which I use at times, but right now, I must admit, my students prefer rocking out to One Direction for their rewards and for brain breaks.

On the actual wall behind this cabinet, starts our Calendar Wall.
I have my How Many Day Have We Been In School? Chart on our old "chalk board".  Thank you Command Strips for allowing me to cover it and not have to worry about "ruining" the ancient chalkboard.  Next to that on an actual bulletin board is my Calendar.
We have the Bridges in Mathematics Number Corner materials for our Calendar board.  Some of the calendar materials I absolutely adore, and a few of them............not so much!  The calendar itself is wonderful.  You can see how I used my right closet door to put some of our other calendar activities on.  I again used painted dollar store frames to put many of the items that I would need to write on.  This allows a quick yet complete cleanup each day to prepare for the next.  I don't mind replacing a few frames each year, just so that I don't have to look at "mess".

Above the right closet, on my "high wall", I continued with the picture frames filled with 50s era items and celebrities.  I also put up my daughter's old poodle skirt and an old pair of cat eye glasses.  They students have enjoyed asking questions about the pictures, so I feel like they are learning a little history along with the fun of the decorations.

Right next to our exit door I have placed my version of the Ways We Get Home Today! Chart. I saw the one that Stephany of Primary Possibilities had created on Pinterest.  Again my color issue kept me from using the darling one that she had to offer on Teachers Pay Teachers. So I created a version for our classroom. (I took a picture of it without the clips so that you can see how I made it.)  I have circular icons for each method of leaving school. The students put their clip on the method that they will use to get home.  Most don't need to move them each day since they tend to go home the same way everyday.  Sometimes, however, we get a call from the office where a student needs to go home a different way.  I just quickly move that child's clip to the correct method for the day.  They check it as they go out the door so that no one should forget these changes. (Teachers NEVER forget to remind them of these things, now do we?....WINK, WINK!)

Well............ we've made it all the way back to the door.  What a trooper you have been to stick with me for the entire tour.  I guess this is the longest blog ever! I have just had so many people email and ask questions about my somewhat unusual classroom theme.  I'm sure that it will continue to evolve as the year goes on, but for right now that is where it stands.  It is eclectic and busy, just like a real diner.  My darlings walked in and started oohing and aahhing.  They just sat there in awe of the room.  Kids from other classes come by each day, before and after school to look in.  My darlings love it and have been so good about keeping it clean and orderly.  It was worth all the planning that I did over the summer, just to see their smiling faces!

 I think this might just be a ROCKIN' GOOD YEAR!