Thursday, October 16, 2008

October Classroom Decor

It's time for new patterns:



(bone, moon, jack-o-lantern, bone, moon, jack-o-lantern)

New border trim (Mary Englebreit):



Spiderwebs...





...a pumpkin quilt, cute characters...







... a new calendar



...and orange twinkle lights!



*****

While parents, blog readers and possibly some colleagues see a "cute" room each time I change the decor and learning centers, I see the monthly modifications as inspiration for my students. Kindergartners enjoy holidays and special events, but also need to cover curriculum requirements and develop social, fine and gross motor skills. Providing options, variety, and interesting materials is an essential way to catch the interest of even the most reluctant or anxious child.

~Cutting with scissors daily on plain ol' zig zag lined paper can become boring and repetitious for students who need the extra practice. Add deckle scissors to the cutting activity (and the opportunity to make some awesome art displays with their work) and watch even the most scissor-awkward child eagerly hone his/her cutting skills!

~Each year I have several students who are reluctant to write or draw because they "can't do it" like their tablemate. At the writing center, I provide colored pencils, washable markers, rulers, stencils and flip books with simple pictures and words spelled out. Shapes added to the stencil tub this month: pumpkins, bats, cats, ghosts, leaves, and moon. All students enjoy tracing the stencils and copying the environmental print as they make pictures, cards, and books for their friends and family. Never fear, my aide and I help students sound out words for their writing too!

Patterns, environmental print (I have October word lists posted as well but my students' names and photos are intermixed with them so I'm *not* posting them), dramatic play props (we've turned housekeeping into the "Creature Cafe"), autumn/October themed colors and materials not only make for a fun classroom, they also inspire my students' expression and encourage my Stars to try new things.

November will see some classroom changes too- check back after Halloween to find maize, cornucopias, Indians, Pilgrims, and of course, handprint turkeys!

4 comments:

  1. What a cool classroom. You've designed an environment that excites students and encourages creativity.

    I followed you here from Miss V's fabulous Halloween extraveganza. So good to meet you.

    If your head is spinning from all of the spells at the various parties, swing by my place for some brain tonic and three witches brew. Vincent Price is waiting to read you a story. Do stop by!

    Happy {early} Halloween!

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  2. I stumbled across your post today and felt so inspired I am making a Merry Christmas banner for my son's teacher to display in the classroom.

    I have one question that I'm not sure if you are able to help me out with or not .. but it's worth a shot. Does your class do a Kindergarten Yearbook at the end of the year? I am in charge of the one for my son's kindergarten class and am looking for ideas. Is there anything you chould show me ... or websites you could recomend? I havn't looked around yet, but I know if I don't tackle this in bit size pieces I will have many sleepless nights come June.

    Great blog, I can't wait to see what else you have up your sleve.

    Sincerely,
    Tanya Ellis

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  3. Hi Tanya, I'm so glad you dropped by!

    In the past I have always either 1) sent home copies of the photos I've taken throughout the year to parents in May or 2) created a powerpoint presentation of all of our photos that I then burn onto cd's for family and give to them at our end-of-the-year kindergarten celebration. I've done this because every school at which I've worked has published a school yearbook.

    Usually my students also do a class book that they write and illustrate, something along the lines of "What I Enjoyed in Kindergarten" or "What I Learned in Kindergarten," which I make copies of and give to each student as well. I have yet to find other such projects explained or featured on blogs though I'm certain many teachers (or wonderful classroom parents!) do/make them as mementos.

    One gift given to me by my last class was a photograph/quote "flip book" that classroom parents and volunteers put together without my knowing (they were sneaky!). Each student was photographed and then interviewed about me. The most entertaining, sweet, and *telling* quotes were then typed up next to the photos, the pages were laminated, holes were punched at the top, a cover with a sturdy base was added, and then metal rings were run through the holes on top, so that I could stand the book up on a countertop or desk and display whichever page I wanted. I love it!

    Thank you again for visiting- you're welcome back any time!

    Michaele

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  4. Kathryn, a very Happy and Boo-tiful Halloween to you as well! As you can tell, I've had fun extending October merriment into my classroom this year! I can't wait to stop by your blog- thanks for dropping by!

    Michaele

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As always, thank you for your comments, tips, suggestions and questions!