Sunday, July 29, 2012

Preparing for School Linky Party

Everything was purchased at
I know I am little late to the party, but I was in math training all last week (I have tons to post about that coming up).  I am joining Mrs. Crouse over at 6th Grade All-Stars for a linky party about preparing for school.  I am going to share this sneak peek of goodies I purchased for my math room decor.  I plan on using much of this for my new Math Focus Wall.  I cannot wait to get into my classroom and put all the ideas I have swimming around my mind onto the wall.  If you are a follower of my blog then you most likely know that my classroom color scheme is pink, lime, and blue.  I decided this summer to add some touches of zebra to my color scheme.  The file folder holders are my favorite item that I purchased.  I am excited to    get into my classroom in a couple weeks and get going on the math focus wall.

What grade do you teach?  7th Grade Math and I absolutely love it.  If I were to teach anything else it would probably be 6th grade math.  Math is definitely my favorite subject to teach.  I taught 6th grade my first 7 years of teaching and I taught everything, except science which is my least favorite subject.  I blame my college biology professor from turning me off from science for life.

What was the greatest advice I received during my first year of teaching?  I don't remember any specific advice as my first year was a LONG time ago.  I do remember getting lots of great ideas from other teachers I taught with.  I also remember what a blast I had with my class and my coworkers my first year of teaching.  We had so so much fun! I used an incentive system called privilege points (two of my team members had this system) and my kids would do ANYTHING if it meant they got privilege points.  It was a great classroom incentive system.

Do you have a checklist you follow when preparing your classroom?  I did a blog post on the After School Routine I try to follow everyday so I come to school the next morning all set to teach.  As far as getting my room set up for a new year I have a much more extensive list that would probably overwhelm you as i overwhelms me every August when I look at in and see what I still have to do.  I will do a post on that soon.  I find having a list is extremely helpful so you don't forget the "little things" that are so important.  I will tell you that my categories for my list are:

  • Bulletin Boards/Decor
  • Organization (think of looking around your classroom at every single piece of furniture or space you decorate and make a list of what needs to be done
  • Hook-ups (of the electronic variety)
  • Summer Projects
  • Lesson Planning
  • Back-to-School

What are some must haves in your classroom that you cannot live without?  First and foremost would be my SMARTBoard.  I love my organization systems like using Day Files for materials that need to be handed out and Class Hour Files for keeping track of absent work.  I also could not live without my two Paper Sorters for organizing all the paper copies I make.   I cannot live without my Lesson Plan book to keep me on track with my pacing.  If we have a half day or some type of assembly I put a post-it note on that day so when I go to write my lesson plans, I realize we have a schedule change.  I have found that keeping my previous year's lesson plan book is an invaluable resource to watch my pacing and also I always put notes in my book after teaching a lesson if something needs to be modified or if it took more or less time than planned.  That is so helpful when planning the next school year.  This year my old lesson plan book with not be helpful at all because we have a brand new curriculum we will be following so nothing will be the same.  In this post you will see photos of my Lilly Notebooks.  I take either the small or large one to every meeting I go to if I do not bring a computer with me.  Who says school supplies can't be adorable?!  I also love am very particular about what I write with.  I am very particular about my writing the writing utensils I use in my classroom.
I cannot express the depth of my love for Flair pens.

I have the twelve pack, but now I want those other 6 markers!

Pink and turquoise are my faces, big surprise. ;)
What is something that all teachers should have in their classroom?  I think the most important thing all teachers should have in their classroom is a system of clear and well established routines and procedures.  The more systematic your classroom procedures are the more easily students will develop routines for how to do things in your classroom, thus saving precious minutes to be used on instruction instead of other classroom tasks.  Students crave consistency and well defined expectations.  Setting these up from day one and spending time the first several weeks of school going over them daily will sow the seeds for a classroom that eventually can run itself because everyone knows how to do things efficiently and effectively.


  1. I love your decorations! I agree with you on the PaperMate pens...Target has a $1 off coupon on their website for them too! :)

  2. I love your decorations too! I am envious of your smartboard, but I do have an Interwrite board which is pretty nifty. We're already back at work. Kiddos come back Wednesday. My room is almost ready which is exciting! :)


    Setting Sail in 7th Grade

  3. Ok, you have to tell me where you got all of your awesome decorations! I'm pretty much doing the same theme this year, but I haven't seen half of that stuff (though I have the exact same zebra bulletin board border)!

    Will Grade For Coffee

  4. Thank you for joining my linky party! Great advice!

    Mrs. Crouse @ {6th} Grade All Stars

  5. Sherry we are picking a new curriculum this year for next year. What did your school choose?

    1. We chose Carnegie Learning for math grades 6-11.

  6. I'm new to your blog, but I just wanted to stop by and say THANKS! I love your ideas & creativity. I'm going into my fourth year of teaching middle school math (6-8th, depending on the year) and continue to struggle with perfecting organizational techniques. Thanks again - I look forward to more posts!

  7. I was excited to find your blog b/c you're the first blogger I"ve found teaching the same grade as me. I'm 7th / 8th but in our school it is considered Jr. High. LOVe your blog.

  8. Thank you everyone! All the goodies in the first photo were bought online at My order arrived quickly and shipping was only $5 for everything!

  9. This is my first time visiting your blog. I love all your wonderful ideas. This is my first year teaching at the middle school. I am teaching 6th grade math after teaching elementary school for 10 years. I am loving it! I look forward to following your blog and learning as much as I can from it.

  10. Thank you Sherrie for posting this - I am starting to teach in two weeks - after 20 years as an accountant - would you be able to give me an outline of the privilege points system you use? Thank you!!


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