Saturday, April 17, 2010

Taste the Rainbow

I've been without a camera for most of this school year. Sadness. My digital camera started acting up in the fall. I keep meaning to get it fixed. Though it might be cheaper in the states, or at least more cost-effective in the long run, to buy a new camera, labor is incredibly cheap here. Our tech guy suggested I see about getting it fixed. Easier said than done. I know a few camera stores in the states. I know no camera stores in China. And if I were to find the location of one (I'm certain there are dozens in my city), well then I'd still need to communicate with the employee. Alas, I am determined to attempt this feat before I go back to the states for the summer.

That all to say, I had a camera in my hands on Friday and couldn't stop taking pictures of my room. It started by trying to document the color in my life. I have rainbows throughout my classroom. I went to write about this today, but as I discovered, I haven't written about the renovations to my classroom. Most were cosmetic. Other differences from last year are about my desire to increase my systematic organization. With a year under my belt, I decided it was a good time to address how I used the space last year and how I could better use it this year. Plus, I found lots of great ideas online and a new year was the best time to introduce new systems to the kids.

So here's a taste of the rainbows in my classroom.

Can you see it?  It's subtle.  This is both rainbow AND organization.  Last year, my TA randomly selected colors for the covers of the students' sketchbook.  Some were pastel shades.  Some were bright shades.  5th grade was pastel pink.  What 5th grade boy wants a pastel pink sketchbook?

This year, I was very specific about the colors. 

For 1st through 5th grade, I teach two sections.  Five colors there, one per grade.  If I lump the 1 class of PreK and the 1 class of K together, that gives me a "6th" grade---or six colors.  RAINBOW.  Let's stick with the bright colors please...

I also nabbed a great shelving unit from my colleague's classroom.  She had some new cabinetry made to replace her largely inadequate storage.  In the process, she got rid of these two pieces.  Ten shelves, not very high each, are much better for storing student projects than the 8 shelves of last year.  1 class per shelf, 1st through 5th grade.  PreK and K go in another part of the classroom.  The left shelf holds the sketchbooks and some projects in process.  The right shelf (twice as long) holds other projects for that class.

The colors continue into these pockets, lining the bottom of my white board.  I stole this system from another art teacher who blogs about her classroom.  At the beginning of the year, the students made name cards.  All the laminated cards go in the left "Need a Job" pocket.  After students have a job, their card goes in the "Had a Job" pocket.  Once all the cards are in the "Had a Job" pocket, they get moved back to the "Need a Job" pocket.  What are the jobs, you ask?

Try not to laugh too hard.  I don't have chairs in my classroom.  While the other teacher had a "Chair Inspector," I needed to change the term to more accurately reflect my classroom, thus the "Stool Inspector." 

The name cards get displayed just to the right of the job using magnets.  This little display is on the very left of my whiteboard.

Below are some signs from last year.  My TA made the color wheel signs, along with most of the signs in my classroom.  I prefer her handwriting any day...the color wheel signs are in English, Chinese Characters, and Pinyin (alphabetical spelling of Mandarin).  Ignoring my ability to collect things on the top of my shelves (most of those items are 4th grade animal sculptures), notice the cork board walls!  And if you look closely, you'll notice the new hooks in the hallway.  Just a few of the changes since August 2008...

For you enjoyment, a few more rainbow spottings...

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