By implementing status of the class, I was able to keep my students accountable without killing their love of reading.  It was a hit in my classroom and student conversations about books were at an all time high.

I took a giant leap this year.  I ditched the reading logs.  Some may say I'm crazy, some may say it's a genius move.  There are a lot of opinions on this topic!  I want my kids to read, but I want them to enjoy reading.
I wanted to start our year off on an exciting note and really get my students pumped up about reading. One concept that caught my eye came from Donalyn Miller's Reading in the Wild.   Book raffles! 

Such a fun way to build reading excitement in the elementary classroom!  Organize a book raffle for students to be the first one to borrow the book from the classroom library.  Free book raffle ticket template included.


I used my Scholastic bonus points to order some new books for our classroom.  Before the students arrived in my classroom, I laid the books out on my table with raffle ticket bins behind them.  I let the curiosity build during class before I revealed what we were doing with them.



After they couldn't take the anticipation any longer, I explained that I was going to raffle off who was going to get to read each book first.  I did have to explain that they weren't going to get to keep the book {my reading teacher heart skipped a beat when they groaned at this}.  I read the titles and the back cover of the books that were available.

Each student received one raffle ticket.  They could fill it out and choose one bin to put it in or, if they weren't interested in any of the books, they didn't need to participate.  To my surprise, every student filled out a ticket!

Here are the tickets we used.  You can download them for free here or by clicking on the picture!


Then they brought their ticket up to place it in the bin of their choice.  Some books were more popular than others.  However, students also played the odds.  I overheard "there's not many tickets in this bin, so I have a better chance of winning this one."



At the end of the day {after both my reading classes}, I pulled names.  My homeroom kids really got into it!  They provided a drumroll and were eager to deliver the books to the winners.  I had students at the end of the day, hunting me down to see who won and congratulating each other.  The book raffle was a success!
Over the weekend I shared my classroom set-up and now I'm back to show you some of my favorite back to school activities!

One of the projects I like to do at the beginning of the year to spark conversations about classroom expectations is Six Questions.  To read more about these questions, check out this post.

We also colored our inspirational quotes before discussing how they applied to learning in our classroom this year.  The quotes are free from Doodle Art Alley.


The students had a great time getting to know each other with Michael Friermood's "Get to Know You" Fun and Fresh! activities.  These are pretty awesome!  They are a twist on traditional back to school activities.





Now we are really getting into the swing of the school year!
And I'm back to school!  Week one was a bit of a doozy.  There is definitely a learning curve to becoming a mom and a teacher at the same time {especially after not working for 7 months}.  Week two was awesome and I am absolutely loving my class!  

Before:

And after!

Not a lot of difference, but that's okay.  I went with a simple look this year and plan to fill the walls with student work as the year progresses.

Our classroom door.  Since I have multiple classes throughout the day, I make it easy for them to pick up missed work.  In this file chart, I keep extras of all the work we do during the week.  This is also helpful for students who may have misplaced their work.

Our classroom schedule!  Sometimes I need this area just as much as my students do!  The editable labels are from Ladybugs Teacher Files and I just filled in our subjects.


Here's a small piece of my classroom library.  This area is organized by author and series.


Here is my genre bulletin board with some awesome Subway Art Posters from The Brown Bag Teacher! I love the way this turned out!  It's simple, yet unique and is a great reference for students.

My students will be working a lot on the RI Children's Book Award Nominees.  I created a bulletin board to showcase the books on the list for my students.


This Exit Slip board was inspired by Brooke Walters pin {I wish she had a blog!}.  The numbers are actually folders that the students will put their exit slips in.

After reading The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller, I was inspired to make some many changes in my reading classroom.  One concept that I pulled from her was having students really share their reading with their peers.  Every time a student completes a book, they will write a brief book review to hang on our READ board.  That way, other students can see what their classmates are reading and enjoying.  I can't wait to see this board filled up!

This area needs to be spruced up a bit, but here is where I will hang our anchor charts!  I got this awesome idea from Sam over at Fun with Firsties.  All you need is a curtain rod and two command hooks.  Easy peasy!

These are the student cubbies with another treasure from The Brown Bag Teacher.  I used her FREE Reading Strategies Bookmarks to create labels for the students.  They each have a small cubby to store their supplies, either below or above their backpack hooks.  Since we switch classes, the students don't keep anything in their desks.

Here's my "desk" area.  I got rid of my desk many years ago and now use a table to work on and meet with students.  Such a game changer!

I keep everything organized behind my desk in drawers, filing cabinets and letter trays.  These areas make it easy to keep my table clutter-free.  Copies that I make for the week go into the drawers with the days of the week and my originals get filed right away in the filing cabinet.  The trays are for student work and any projects that we are still working on.  All of my office supplies go in the toolbox.

I am super excited for all that this school year has to bring!  I'll be back soon to share all of the goings-on in our classroom!
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