Archive for the ‘Classroom materials’ Category

One sure sign of the beginning of the school year is when my local Target starts to stock back-to-school items in their $1 section. Some of these items cost $2, or $2.50, but they are still great finds for organizing your classroom. What bargains have you found this year? Share your story in the comments section and if you have a photo, send it to d.diller@live.com

Great for organizing pencils , markers, and other supplies at small group tables or work stations

All sorts of great bins and buckets — for books, for supplies, extra paper. The only limit is your imagination!

More great bins and step-stools — for stepping and sitting!

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Often, primary teachers have many phonics materials available in their classrooms. One teacher I worked with had write-on cutouts for students to use for working with word families. These are good materials for literacy work stations. However, don’t put out too much at once. And differentiate the materials so the right kids are working with the right word study patterns.

Here are photos of materials we recently sorted (and color-coded) for students in kindergarten (or grade 1):

Dont put out all the phonics charts at once. Less is more!

These word study patterns are the easiest ones from the set. Use these with students reading easier books at DRA levels 5-6.

Other students at DRA levels 5-6 might use these cards with more challenging patterns after they show mastery of easier ones.

For kids working at DRA levels 3-4, provide CVC activities, such as these write the CVC word picture cards with Elkonin boxes or Word Sliders from Lakeshore (after youve taught with them in small group).

For kids working at DRA levels 1-3, have them do sound sorts. Start with beginning sounds. Then move to ending sounds, Finally students can sort pictures by middle sound, as shown at this pocket chart station.

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In Randolph Co., NC, we focused on how to plan for literacy work stations. First, we looked at space and teachers mapped out their classrooms using paper and sticky notes. Then we examined quality whole group teaching based on state standards for reading. FInally, teachers worked in teams to plan and chart what kids would practice at literacy work stations. The photos tell the story!

Teachers work in pairs to map out space in their classrooms using paper and sticky notes

Working in teams, educators chart what they’re teaching, materials they’re using, and how they’ll apply that practice to literacy work stations:

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My new letter ID kit (for small group instruction) is finally being released by Really Good Stuff. This kit includes severals sets of magnetic letters (in soft, touchable foam) with blue consonants and red vowels, so students who are having trouble learning letters can touch and feel how letters are made.

Also included are letter formation cards, sorting mats with multiple ways to sort letters, and a letter ID folder for keeping track of which students in your group need what. The kit includes lots of help for you, including cards with many ideas for teaching letter identification in small group instruction. Check it out at Really Good Stuff!

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All the elementary teachers in Republic, MO are moving classrooms this year. The district is reconfiguring schools. After we set up several classrooms there, two charts appeared in the school office the next morning. One says, “I Have Extra….” and the other is titled, “I Need…” Teachers jotted down notes to communicate with each other about their needs. Great idea!!!


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Walked into Target the other day and was immediately greeted by their dollar store bins, right by the front entrance. Gotta love it! Look at all the cool stuff they have for teachers setting up their classrooms. Get there quickly! The good stuff goes fast. Warning; buy ONLY what you need for this year… even if it is just one dollar! (:

Great containers! Bought some of the small dry erase boards with pens and built-in erasers for math stations (for students to record their thinking)

Stickers and stamps abound. Nice for your writing work station.

Totes work nicely to hold community supplies for table groups

Little stepstools are great for kindergarten classrooms. Place one by your pocket chart (for little ones who have trouble reaching the top pocket). A small can is nice to put in a writing work station.

These open up into sturdy cloth box-like storage cubes. I think they were $2.50 each, but still a bargain. (...only if they fit your color scheme)

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This photo was taken at IRA. Steve is showing me the kinds of fun kids can have with the Whisper Phone. Check them out that http://www.whisperphone.com!

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