Saturday, January 11, 2014

Jungle Themed Classroom

I loved my original farm theme that I had for my first two years in kindergarten, but by year three, I was itching to try something new again.  Choosing a classroom theme is kind of a big deal for me.#yesI'madork  I LOVE making my decorations during the summer and planning all of my bulletin boards around the classroom!  Anyhow, so after waaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy too much emotional turmoil, I finally decided that I would do a jungle/rainforest theme.  Hooray!  Now, the fun begins!  I usually start by searching Google for cute clipart.  I'm pretty good at being able to look at something and then make it, so stealing images is right up my alley!  I settled on some animals that I liked and then got to the REALLY FUN PART #ialreadytoldyou-I'madork  To the craft room I scuttled and the paper tornado began.  Here are my finished little guys and then how they came out in the classroom!

And here they are in the classroom:  

I always read Magic Tree House books for our after lunch read aloud time, so I decided to put Jack, Annie, and the magic tree house in my jungle. 

Here's Jack!

I printed little copies of the covers of all of the books and, as we finished a book, we'd add the cover onto the tree house door.  I've never made it through the whole series in one year, but we made it pretty far!  
Here's Annie in the window.  She's holding Peanut the mouse, which the kids loved :o)
My first jungle animal!  A Burmese python.  I made little jungle ants that hold the name of the animal and a card that gives a couple little facts about it and where it lives.  These worked great for so many different activities.  Early in the year, I used them letter hunts around the room.  As the kids gained more decoding skills and sight words later in the year, I used them for word collecting activities, sight word hunts, handwriting practice, and non-fiction reading lessons.
Just a fun little chameleon.  
 The tree house formed the left side of a big wrap around bulletin board that held different reading posters and anchor charts throughout the year.  
 The other side of the reading bulletin board corner.  
My little "Sink into a good book" guy.  I think he came out pretty cute.  He's reading Tigers at Twilight to go with the Magic Tree House theme.  

I was really happy with how cute this little tiger came out.  

 Orangutan Writing board!  I used this for my writer's workshop anchor charts and posters.  He's the first animal I made and I find him kind of cute and creepy.  

I stole this interactive word wall idea from a presenter at the I Teach K! conference.  It's empty crayon boxes that I spray painted black and then glued the letter to the front.  They have words from stories, sight words, and anything else we threw in.  I used them for center activities and if the kids needed one while writing, they could take it to their seat and then return it to its box when finished.  

Polly want a word?  The parrot was the favorite animal in the classroom for some reason.  I think it's because he was lowest to their eye level.  :o)

Monkey Math!  I used this board two ways.  I put anchor charts up in the sky area and used the white section, which was laminated, for kids to put up sticky notes that showed their thinking for whatever concept we were doing.  The other way I used it was just as an area to put up any little math projects or activities that we worked on.  
Loved how the monkeys came out!
This was a my "good work" board.  

My little corner.  
This was the sight word wall.  At the beginning of the year it was just plain leaves with the shape of the words traced on them.  We added the words as we learned them.  

Love Power Teaching!  Cute freebie rule posters from ... I can't remember who!  I got them as a freebie, but I don't remember where!  I'll track it down and add the link.  
This was the star student of the week board.  I love how his little binoculars came out!  :o)

I put a couple of word walls on my cabinets, too.  There's also one beside this with school words and the names of all of the specialists, nurse, principal, etc.  
My little job board.  The yellow squares are pockets that hold little name slips.  I've had years where I have tons of jobs so that most/all of the class always has a job, but decided to go simpler in kinder and just keep it down to 4.

I put a jungle twist on the 7 space clip system.  

Calendar Wall!

I like this little lounging leopard.

The months on the long black paper are attached with velcro.  We sang them and used them for letter hunts, but later in the year, I would have them close their eyes and I'd pull one off and hide it behind my back.  They loved trying to figure out which month was missing.  Toward the end of the year I could mix them up and they could put them back in order.  They were pretty smart cookies!

I decided to do my days of school count with a Counterpillar along with the pocket chart/straws.  It was very fun to wind him around as we added the next body segment each day.  I was also glad that I made him low enough for the kids to interact with it during centers this year.  My first year I started my counting tape too high for the kids to reach with a pointer.  Lesson learned!

I pieced this together from a few different ideas that I saw.  We did the top section on Monday with the Explorer of the week.  I wrote their name on the left card and then they wrote it on the right.  We did the second section, name analysis, on Tuesday.  The third section was for word building.  This was SUPER guided at the start of the year, but around 3rd quarter they were pretty good at building and knowing if it was non-sense or not.  I put little magnetic dots on the back of letter cards and then attached two long magnetic strips to the board so that we could move all the letters around.  We start with all of the letters in the student's name on the top strip and then pull letters down to the bottom strip for word building.

Magic Tree House infiltrated the calendar wall!  We put a white pushpin on Pennsylvania, where Jack and Annie live in the series, and then we added silver pins for every new book we read to show where they'd traveled.  Notice the black pin off the map by the Counterpillar's #112 for when Jack and Annie traveled to the moon.  :o)  I had hopes of doing a thread from Penn. to each place's pin, but never got there.  It was still a really fun activity though.  

And a couple more random pictures of the classroom:

Writer's Workshop Shelf

This is the special table where the Author of the Day and a friend get to sit and write during writer's workshop.

I used magazine boxes from IKEA for my kids' reading boxes.  I cut tall part of the back of the box off so that they'd fit in my shelf. 

Well, that's a tour of my jungle bulletin boards.  I'll try to get some of the things I've made here up on my freebie board soon.  Happy teaching!