Another Post About My Desk

How is that for a hook?

Yes I have rearranged my desk again. Actually, I never really arranged it. Until now. It has looked like this … well usually messier … than this. For nine months.

Not bad for nearly one year since we purchased our new home, and nine months since we moved in. Mind you, things weren’t finished when we moved in (and still aren’t), but the library was a top priority and was *mostly* finished.

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But my desk. That is another story. The word piles comes to my mind. A fairly accurate description actually. Workspace would definitely not be an accurate description of my desk these last nine months.

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Setting Them UP for Success!

My goal this year in classroom/library set-up is “Setting them UP for success!” from the moment our students enter the room!

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I hope I have achieved that through some of the ways I have set up our classroom, which I call the library because our family uses it for much more than “school.” I am sharing some ways I have set our classroom up for success below!

1. Each of our students has a shelf for their books. At the end of the day, they know where they are supposed to go and have hopefully placed them there. For those books that are shared by some, their is another shelf and they are replacing books as they finish. While some books are for individual students, others are shared by multiple students. It is good to practice sharing, even as older students! Continue reading

A Peek Into Our Morning {Work}

I am so excited to say that the newly-revamped Page Protector Printables Bundle 1 is NOW the Bright Beginning Binder!

I will share about how we’re using this resource below, and I hope you might see some ideas you could use in your own homeschool or classroom!

Here’s a peek of my students hard at work in their Bright Beginning Binders with our beautiful bulletin board in the background and our Word Work board to their right!

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I am so excited about our new Bulletin Board. It includes our Calendar Time area, a Where Am I? area where I’ll do some gentle instruction in geography, and finally the Math Minute where for now I have some coin posters that I printed 4 to a page for use of a compact space. You can find this awesome resource for FREE at Leanne Price’s TpT store.

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Summer School and Renovation Updates

This may be part of a series.

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Ha, ha. The probability of that is not too high.

OK, who am I kidding? When I say the word series, that is usually part one of one. One reason for that right now might be the state of my desk and work space. It still needs quite a bit of tender loving care.

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Who knows though? Maybe I will continue updating our summer school pursuits. I hope to anyway! It will at the very least keep me on task.

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I have continued organizing our library, which will be used for school and other learning pursuits as well … especially reading. Just look at all those books (and space left) for little people and bigger people to easily access.

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Our science and nature cabinet is organized, and everything science-related excepting a few books has been placed on (or in) the cabinet.

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Our arts and crafts area is in need of more work. I do have it all set aside and much of it is ready for use, but I need my cool metal cabinets that are at the moment still in the workshop in need of cleaning and some tender-loving care.

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Someone really is in summer school as he knows he has no choice but to finish his science curriculum that he has been studying since midway through his 7th grade year (yes, he just finished 8th grade). I will say science is his least favorite subject, the curriculum is very in-depth, and he still scored well on science on his standardized testing. He has just one chapter left and a couple of tests to take.

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All in due time I keep telling myself. We did just move 30 miles into the country along with six children and all of our belongings. In addition, we’ve been renovating our 3,000-square-foot home (that was still original to circa 1976) as well as finishing a 2,700-square-foot space in the basement, which includes two bedrooms, a full bath, a kitchenette and a living space. Here’s a sneak peek for those who keep asking for continued renovation updates.

*The Toy Room* (out of sight and they are out of their minds to have these toys again after them being packed for more than two months!*
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*A view from the inner door coming in from the garage area; you can see the big boys’ bedrooms at the far end of the room*
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*LEGO zone*
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I am really hoping also this summer (or what is left of it; seriously, what happened to June???) to spend some extra time with Li’l Miss and Li’l Bro on reading and language. And of course, what do they want to do? Math of course. Sigh.

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So, we mixed it up and started with language, which I have no pictures of because I needed to be that involved. Math was their reward, and they loved it thus more photos!

Speaking of rewards, I love Pin*terest. Who doesn’t? But anyway, an idea inspired me to use an OLD metal hanging thing I have to create our own behavior chart.

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And yes, I intend to have clips for EVERY student in my room! I don’t often have behavior (or attitude) issues from our oldest two but I do have expectations and have no problem clipping them down if needed (or up when warranted).

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I like the way it turned out. It needs a little something on the top, and I need to find an orange clip and a yellow clip or something similar. I tried it out on Friday during a Summer School session, and it worked like a charm!

Beside our behavior chart, I have hung up our world maps, one large one, one smaller one that shows countries under persecution, and one that is in Chinese characters.

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In language, we tried out a “new” used book I found at the curriculum sale: Preparing to Build by Rod & Staff Publishers. I was able to get two Level 2 students books as well as one teacher book for $15. It will definitely be worth that, and we’ll use it at least four days a week.

After a lesson in “What Is a Sentence?” with some exercises after, we tried out another pinterest-inspired idea: number cubes.

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I can see so many uses for these dollar*tree finds (3 of the square plastic tubs for $1), but on this day I put three dice in each of them. I asked them to shake them up and then add up the three numbers. I allowed them use of their abaci, but they really didn’t need them. It was fun to see their abilities even after being away from formal math for a couple of months.

“Mommy, 5 + 5 is 10, so 5 + 5 + 4 must be … 14!”

“Mommy, I know that 3 + 3 + 3 = 9 because I can skip count my 3s! 3, 6, 9 and that is 3 groups of 3.” Sounds a lot like multiplication, doesn’t it?

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I love it when they make these associations, and I love it that our math style of learning encourages them to pursue this instead of just come up with an answer. I could see using these math cubes for place value work as well as reading multiple-digit numbers along with other possibilities. I am making each of our 2nd graders math and language cubbies with manipulatives such as the number cubes in them ready to go each day. I hope to utilize many hands-on approaches.

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I will be *hopefully* sharing more of our summer school learning. I am officially starting us back to school for 2013-2014 the first week of August. Between various camps, moving and renovations, I haven’t had any time to plan and prepare for this coming school year. I finally just gave myself the green light to relax and realize that our children are still learning every day with their incessant reading, daily nature walking/creek jumping/hiking/exploring, math in the everyday and helping to care for our animals as well as experimenting with a very late garden (for this area).

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Oh and watching turkeys walk across our backyard as we relax with a book on the back porch!

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Pinterest-Inspired Workspace!

I wasn’t sure it could be done, but I saw the idea of using two Closet*maid 9-cube Cubeicals and an upcycled tabletop to make a workspace for two and had to try it! Besides, they were on sale last week at TarJay!

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I needed a larger space for our two second graders to work this year. Bless them they have been working at a small table my Dad built our oldest son years ago. The table is still nice, but they outgrew it awhile ago. Now that same little table has a new purpose: a tot school spot for our three-year-old DD. I need to work on her cabinet (e.g. trays to go inside and new inserts for doors of corkboard/magnet/chalkboard?). She is already showing lots of interest in learning through play!

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Enter Pinterest for that new space for our rising second graders.
Plus two 9-cube organizers from Tarjay (I got mine on sale last week; not sure they are worth full price).
Plus a tabletop Grammy found at a Habitat for Humanity store.

Two bar stools with cushions that will be coming from our old house.
And some manual labor (Grammy and I put the 9-cubes together while Papa and the Prez stabilized it all so our children can work safely).

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