Happy Saturday and Happy Three Day Weekend!
The first three weeks of first grade have been really really really good! We are starting to get into the swing of things which feels like the biggest relief ever in the history of all the land. In fact, I don’t think one kid took his lunch out to first recess AT ALL this week, and I don’t think one kid asked if it was time to go home when we returned from lunch. HOORAY!
I did a class tour on Instagram Stories a couple of weeks ago, and saved it to my Highlights if you want to check it out, but I keep getting questions about my Focus Wall. So I thought I should blog about it and then I can direct people to this post for all the nitty gritty details!
Here’s my Focus Wall this year:
Most of this stuff I created myself because once I figured out a color scheme and STUCK WITH IT, I just went to town making everything matchy matchy. Does it hurt your eyes? Sometimes I wonder if it hurts my eyes, but I honestly think that’s because I am not a photographer and the picture makes it appear as if it could harm our eyeballs when, in fact, it looks nice and bright and refreshing in person. Shoulder shrug.
So I have two Classroom Decor packs out if you’re interested in a teal/lime classroom. But that’s all I have available. I didn’t go nuts and create ten different color palettes because a) I’m lazy and b) I didn’t want to and c) reality TV tends to be my top priority.
You can check out the first pack HERE. This one is from a few years ago.
And the ADD ON pack is HERE which has a lot more of the recent items that I’ve created, including the updated Focus Wall headers, the ABCs, and the big posters on the Calendar wall.
Alright! Now that we’ve got the color situation out of the way, I really want to talk about the thing that makes me THE MOST EXCITED about my Focus Wall.
PUSHPINS AND BINDER CLIPS!
People, who knew teeny tiny clear PUSH PINS and pretty BINDER CLIPS would make me so happy that every time I look at them, I get a little giddy and perhaps shake my hips a bit and possibly flip my hair?!!!
I printed out the posters I needed for each of the Focus Wall components, put them in the order I thought I would most likely teach them, and then combined them together with a pretty polka-dotted binder clip.
Some of these poster packs have over 50 posters. I was like . . . ain’t no way a teeny tiny clear pushpin is going to be able to hold all of these posters.
Me of little faith was ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT.
A teeny tiny clear pushpin (I’m sure pushpins in different colors would be able to do it, too, it’s just that I’m partial to clear in this situation) CAN and DOES and WILL hold a pack of over 50 posters on the wall FOREVER.
Not once have any of my posters fallen off the wall.
I just stuck a pushpin in the wall (our walls are staple-able) and I was DONE.
Which means . . . I no longer have to store posters in my filing cabinet or in a binder or wherever. Everything I need is right on the wall AT MY FINGERTIPS.
It also means I am not searching for a poster that I cannot find right before the bell rings because I filed it under Characters, but I thought it was under Parts of a Story or Story Elements and I can’t find it anywhere and then I’m grumpy and mad at myself for being ridiculous and helpless and over-organized.
It’s a personal problem.
I know some teachers use plastic sleeves, but I don’t want to insert something each week, and take something out each week, and then find a place to store the posters I’m not using.
And I certainly don’t want to write our target skill on something each week, and then wipe it off each week, and on and on it goes.
Who has time for that?! NOT ME.
NOT TO MENTION – you don’t have to hole punch your pretty posters, either! Mine are not even laminated. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. It’s easier for my students to see without the shine of the laminate. That’s a personal preference, obviously.
I have my Reading posters for the ENTIRE YEAR hanging up on my wall. These are for reference – they are NOT anchor charts.
They are posters for introducing the skill or specific learning target, and then I can refer my students to them because they have clear examples.
I have Grammar Posters ready to go with clear examples, too!
So, because people asked . . . I’m going to list exactly what is on my Focus Wall and link to where you can find it.
WRITING POSTERS – I’m super excited about this new pack! Writing is our school-wide focus this year, and my teammates and I will be using these posters to help our students understand and produce informative, opinion, and narrative writing. I created writing samples for each type of writing so that I can share what it looks like, then blank templates so that we can write together as a class (shared pen), and then black and white templates for the students to write their own. It’s a years worth of topics, samples, and templates! And . . . you know I love writing, but sometimes, sitting in front of the kids trying to come up with a topic can be difficult. Now, I’ve got it right at my fingertips! YEEHAW!
MATH CARDS – I use these during transitions! I absolutely love having them hanging up (on teeny tiny clear pushpins, of course!) right next to my chair. My kids LOVE LOVE LOVE these! I have two versions that I swap out whenever I want. Here’s Version ONE and here’s Version TWO. Sometimes, I let my Teacher’s Pet sit in my chair and flash these cards at the kids, too.
WORD OF THE DAY – I have a paperclip tutorial on THIS BLOG POST if you want to see how I slide cards under the paperclips. This is great because you don’t have to hole punch or staple or find velcro or anything to get the cards up there! Word of the Day is what we use for vocabulary!
SHARING SCHEDULE (SHOW AND TELL) I just did an Instagram Story on this, too. It’s in my highlights, as well. And you can also check out THIS BLOG POST for more information. It’s seriously a FAVORITE time of the day for my students and me, and it hits those Speaking and Listening standards that are super important. Except it’s not your old school Show and Tell so don’t panic! 🙂
CENTERS CHART – I have a blog post series about how I introduce and run Centers in my classroom. THIS is the first post “in the series”.
POCKET CHART – I got my pocket chart at my local teaching supply store, but I found several options available on Amazon, if you want to check them out (affiliate links). I use that pocket chart EVERY SINGLE DAY. I am so happy to have it on my Focus Wall. I can’t tell you how handy it is!!! I don’t know how I ever lived without it! FOR REAL!
That was A LOT.
I hope I covered everything. I’m a little afraid someone is going to ask me something about a teeny tiny thing that I can’t see . . .
So just to be super thorough . . . and a little bit obnoxious . . .
The shelf is from Target.
The baskets are from Target.
The easel is almost 20 years old from my local teaching supply store. Steve took it apart this summer, put in a new magnetic whiteboard for me, put it back together, and repainted it to make it fresh and new. He also added that strip of wood and put the blue baskets on it so I had a place to store markers and erasers. LOVE MY EASEL. Cannot live without it. Plus, the little shelf holds big books LIKE A BOSS.
I have a blue tooth speaker on the top of the shelf for my Class iPod. I use music in the classroom every single day for transitions, learning, and just all around good fun.
Surely I have covered everything now.
If you stuck with me throughout this terribly long post, you are my new best friend. Let’s get together for some coffee and reality TV soon.