To Craft or Not to Craft

I’ve been reading a lot of advice for new teachers and I keep reading warnings about themes and Pinterest classrooms.  The common idea seems to be these take time and detract from the important things – like curriculum and student learning.

Here’s the thing – I love themes and I love Pinterest.  My classroom will be filled with Pinterest finds.  Crafting, Pinterest, themes – they make me happy.  And the reality of teaching is I spend a lot time at school.  At least eight hours a day, five days a week.  A minimum of 1,408 each school year.  (This is a very very low estimate.)  If I’m going to spend that much time in a room, I want to make it a happy place.  While every other decision I make throughout the year is based on the kids and their needs.  But, the theme and the beginning of the year Pinterest-ing is what I do for me. 20150728_190328

I don’t make a bunch of anchor charts.  I don’t label the kids’ lockers.  They make those.  But, I do craft my heart out.  This year’s theme…Travel.

Themes are necessary to my happiness.  I am not an everything needs a place kind of person, but I am the everything needs a theme person.  Every party.  Every classroom.  Themes are a necessity.

So, my point is there need to be two warnings…one for new teachers and one for school leaders.

New teachers:  Beware of falling into a pit of unnecessary work. Themes and Pinterest crafts are not necessary for your classroom to be a welcoming place for students.  Charts should be made with the kids.  Students need to be a part of creating the physical environment.

School Leaders:  Don’t judge a teacher just because her classroom is filled with crafts.  Yes, she may be a Pinterest addict.  However, that doesn’t mean that she is taking time away from planning.  It doesn’t mean her focus isn’t on student learning.  It may just mean that crafting and themes make her happy.  🙂

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Ready or Not…The Kids Show up Monday!

Since the kids are coming, we had to be ready.  Our classroom reveal…Superhero theme.  I am a theme person and I love making the environment I spend 8+ hours a day in pleasant and inviting.  Crafting and Pinterest are my relaxation.

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Our classroom library has popcorn bins from last year’s Hollywood theme. However, there are so many superhero movies coming out lately that it still works! We have the wall straight ahead separated by levels and the shelves on the right of the picture organized by genre. The crate seats are also filled with books! We are book hoarders!
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Students will eventually write short book recommendations and staple them onto the bulletin board.
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Sorry the picture is a little blurry! The Incredible Hulk!

 

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Modge Podge + Clearance Comic Books = File Cabinet that is slightly less of an eye sore
More clearance comic book crafts!
More clearance comic book crafts!
I'm going to put up the Super Scientist of the Month for September and then hand off  the responsibility to select students.
I’m going to put up the Super Scientist of the Month for September and then hand off the responsibility to select students.

 

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Last, but certainly not least, we will be handing out these super cool super hero badges to the kids as they arrive Monday morning.

 

Here is the badge I made for myself.  We put their name, but they will get to pick their superhero name and super power.  The QR code will lead parents to our class Facebook page.  (The drawing was done by a former student.)  Hoping this will get the kids excited before the day starts!
Here is the badge I made for myself. We put their name, but they will get to pick their superhero name and super power. The QR code will lead parents to our class Facebook page. (The drawing was done by a former student. Students will draw their own pictures.) Hoping this will get the kids excited before the day starts!

Five for Friday

My randomness today will be linked up with Big Time Literacy‘s July Challenge and Doodlebugs Five for Friday.

1. Extreme Cheapskates
Have you seen this show on TLC? My son watches it on Netflix and he LOVES it! Yesterday, when he couldn’t get toothpaste out of the tube he remembered something he had seen on one of the episodes. So, he cut off the end of the toothpaste tube to get out what was left. Oh, my little cheapskate!

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2.  Summer Road Trip

We are going on a two week road trip out west beginning on Sunday, so there is a lot of preparing the last few days.  Will we survive? I just don’t know.  Over two weeks together when both of us usually work?  Hmmm?

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3. New Year, New Theme

Even though it is summer, I am still thinking about the coming year.  Another year co-teaching third grade and I couldn’t be more excited.  Last year’s theme was Hollywood, but we wanted a new theme that would work with our classroom library.  Since there are lots of superhero movies, we decided to go with Superheros.  The pinning began the last day of school.  So far I have only made one DIY for the birthdays – I’m trying to restrain myself.

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My last two will go with Big Time Literacy’s topic today:  my favorite subjects to teach.

4.  Reading!

I love reading.  I am a book hoarder.  I give books as gifts.

By using reading workshop in our classroom this year and not using AR, we were able to create a classroom full of students who loved books! (My hatred for AR is enough for many blog posts, which I will save for another day.)  The kids truly loved to read and were angry if they didn’t get all of their independent reading time due to an assembly.

And the best part:  the kids enjoyed the new book smell as much as I do!  They will forever be readers and book sniffers! 🙂

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5.  Science

One of the reasons that I asked to move to the classroom was because I wanted to teach all of the subjects.  Science was not my favorite in school, but I loved teaching it this year! Scientific Method, Experiments, Life Cycles, Energy…

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This is a thermometer the students made.

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