Blocks!  The blocks center is the most popular center in my classroom.  This week I wanted to share all about my blocks center!

1.  At the beginning of every year, I introduce each center and build basic background information about the center.  I do this over a period of about 3 weeks.  I love reading books to introduce vocabulary and show how you can build anything you want using your imagination!  Here are some books I LOVE to read at the beginning of the year to support my builders.
2.  The most popular blocks are the Me Blocks!  On the first day I take each students picture.  I print the photos wallet size on card stock, laminate, and tape to Jenga blocks.  It is super simple!  Me blocks make even the most reluctant builder want to build.  The blocks also help students learn each other's name and create a caring classroom community.
Here are the Me Blocks in action!  This group of students worked together to build a castle for all their friends to live in.  Love it!
I have a bulletin board in the block center.  It changes as our block building focus changes.
3.  We brainstormed and created a list of all the things they can build with blocks the first week.  It is a great tool for students to use when they can't think of anything to build or ALWAYS build the same thing over and over. Check out the updated I Can Build anchor chart in my store HERE.
Today I saw two boys over at the chart having a discussion what they wanted to build.  It was the sweetest thing!  They were negotiating with each other and trying to convince the other to build what they wanted in the kindest way! 
4.  I always have photographs of structures students have built.  The photographs give other students ideas about what to build and how to build it.
5.  The students voted on their favorite thing to build.  I used post-it notes to create the blocks on the graph.  Using post-it notes for graphs are amazing!  They are all the same size, the students can stick them to the chart without using messy glue,students can move them if they change their mind, and I don't have to cut squares from construction paper!  Amazing right!
We have had a blast in the block center!  I can't wait to see what they build next!

Take a peek and see what is happening in other classrooms this week!

Happy Sunday and lesson planning day!  I almost always make my lesson plans on Sunday.  I always PLAN to do them Friday at school but that never happens.  I am linking up with Dee Dee for Peek at my Week.  This is week three for me and my preschool friends so will we going over rules and routines a bit more this week.
We have 4 school rules:  We take care of ourselves, each other, our school, and our world.  The rules are simple for my preschool friends to understand and follow (at least most of the time).  Last week we focused on the rule, we take care of each other.  To help the students understand what that looks like, I created picture cues to show different ways they can take care of each other.  We had a class meeting during circle.  As students shared ways they could take care of their friends, I added a matching picture cue to make the poster.  They were so surprised  that I had pictures to match what they were saying!
During small group time, each student drew a picture about one way they can take care of their friends.  Each student shared their page with their group and then glued the matching picture icon on their page.  They worked so hard on them and the conversations they had while making them were priceless.  Didn't they turn out great!
 This week we will focus on the rule:  we take care of ourselves.  That should be interesting because preschoolers LOVE to tell each other about what they are doing wrong.  It is a developmental step to point out what others are doing wrong before they can do it themselves.  I know.  But sometimes it just makes me giggle when a kiddo tells me what their friend is doing wrong when they are right there doing it too.
I will be adding the picture icons to match each rule in my Classroom Rules & Expectations: Posters, Activities, & Parent Note (Rainbow) later this week!
Here are my plans for the week!  
I also posted a new FREEBIE in my TPT store Beginning of the Year Signs
Check out what other classrooms are doing this week over at Miss Will's Kindergarten
Have a fabulous week everyone!
I am a VERY organized person as you may know.  When things are not organized I feel stressed and can become overwhelmed very easily.  Lucky me, my husband is the same way so he understands my madness.
Labels...everything in my classroom is labeled!  Using Avery sticker address labels is a FAST way to label your classroom.  I use them all over my classroom.
When I get my class list, I make a class list using the small and large address sticker format.  Then all I need to do is print and stick!
My job board, family board, and even the necklaces inside the pockets have the address size name stickers on them!  We are the Super Stars so I took some cute stars and added name stickers to them to label the art work on bulletin board.  I also labeled the students cots, bathroom boxes (holds an extra set of clothes), and lending library pockets with the name stickers.  Using the stickers makes it super easy when a new student starts too.  Just print a page of stickers with his name then go around the classroom labeling!
I LOVE the small size sticker labels too!  The best part using the small labels is you can print 4 class lists on one page!
You can use them on file tabs.  I have my portfolio, student files (not pictured), and family mailboxes all labeled with students names using the stickers.  I had  a few name plates left from a past year so I stuck the small labels on them sideways.  All I had to do was cut across under their name and staple it next to their artwork!  Super simple!

Small labels also work well to label my books.  I feel like I am ALWAYS find new, wonderful books!  To keep track of my books and the schools books, I add small labels to the binding of my books.  It makes it very easy for me to see if the book is my personal copy or if it is school's copy.
Now, on to labeling materials and activities for students to use.  I am in the process of remaking ALL my labels.  This is my tenth year teaching so my old set of labels looked very sad.  The things OUT in my classroom have new labels but EVERYTHING in my closet and office do not.  That is on my to do list!  I need to take new pictures of EVERYTHING.  It will be a task but worth it in the end.  Especially if they last 10 years like my last set did.  I will add them to my TPT store when I have more done so you can just print, laminate, and cut!
When I put the lables in my preschool classroom, I put one label on the tub and one on the self.  This makes clean up so much faster!  Students can put items away independently by matching pictures.
I did make my LARGE classroom labels this summer!  One project complete!  You can find out more about them HERE or purchase your own set HERE.  I included a set that is editable too!
Moving on...what else keeps my organized?  My Teacher Binder and my Assessment book.  I had my assessment book bound at an office store.  Love that!
 In the first section, each student has their own individual page.  Really 2 pages copied front to back.
The next three sections are literacy, math, and fine motor.  You can find out more about my assessments HERE!  You can purchase Preschool & Kindergarten Assessments made Easy HERE.
 LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my Teacher Binder!  You can find out more about it HERE or purchase it HERE.
Do you need more amazing ways to stay organized?  Check out Blog Hoppin to see what other teachers do!
I LOVE my teacher binder  so much I want to share it with you!  Enter the giveaway to win your own Teacher Binder! 
I want to start off by staying that my classroom is ALWAYS a work in progress.  I am always adding new activities, taking out the old, putting up new student work, taking down the old, and organizing.  
Let's start the tour!  Here is the view when you walk in... 2 walls of cubbies with bulletin boards above them.  My office is the door on the left that you can barely see.
 The family board is full of information for families.  It houses the sign in/out sheets, mailboxes, extra forms, lunch menu, snack menu, daily schedule, announcements, and weekly newsletter.  Yes I said weekly newsletter!  It is a quick one page snapshot of what we will be doing that week.  I email it to families each and every Monday.
 On top of the cubbies, is where I keep my student portfolios and portfolio filing crate.  You can find out more about my student portfolios and assessments HERE.  Want the super cute labels?  I use them everywhere and I even used them for signs at my Meet the Teacher!  Find out more about theme HERE.
Parents and students LOVE the family name tag necklaces I make each year!  At Meet the Teacher, I take a picture of each student with their family.  I print the picture, add their name sticker at the bottom of a piece of card stock, laminate, and add some plastic string.  Students wear their family necklace anytime they miss their family.  The can keep their family close to their heart while they are at school.  They are magical!
If you continue into my room, you will be in my circle area.  I found this idea on Pintrest and LOVE IT!  This year for student spots, I made a grid.  Each student has their own square to sit in.  They can actually see where their space ends and their friends begins!  This is AMAZING!  I used the skinny duck tape to make it.  It took about 6 rolls!  
This is my teacher shelf.  I have a bin for my lesson, books, and activities for the week.  Preschoolers need MOVEMENT so I have lots of movement supplies here too.  I use clip boards all the time with my preschool friends.  Preschoolers LOVE clip boards!  The musical instruments are for our dance parties!
My yellow bucket has my buddy reading tags and chart supplies.
On the back of a block shelf  is where I keep the job chart.  It is easy for me to see from circle too!  I can never remember who has what job.
Around the outside of my circle area is my library center.  I have 5 centers in my classroom:  library, pretend, discovery, art, and blocks.
You can see all the school books on my book self.  When we begin a new study/theme, I put out all new books related to that study/theme!  I keep my Dr. Seuss reading buddies and magnet board by the books too.  At my magnet board is always a book students can retell using character cards, setting cards, or sequence cards.  I LOVE to read books multiple times for different purposes during circle!  After I read the book at circle (many times and many ways), I add it to the center so the students can read it over and over independently!
The student writing desk!  My class Safe Place is the blue bean bag.  Students can go there when are mad, sad, or need to calm down.
 This is my letter manipulative and fine motor self.  On the top of it are two book baskets.  One holds our class books that we create and the other holds our favorite books.  At the end of a study, students vote and pick 3 or 4  books that add to our favorite basket.
 More letter manipulates and writing items!  Can you ever have enough?
Here is the view of the rest of my classroom!  As you can see, I have a big classroom!  Lucky me!
Moving on to the blocks center!  There is another self opposite the shelf with the cones you can't see.
Under construction!  Tools, hats, signs, paint cans, tool belts, small clip boards, and writing supplies!
 Wood unit blocks!
 More wood unit blocks and signs!
 This shelf changes OFTEN.  I always have animals and cars.  I have a HUGE tub of animals so the kind of animals changes.  It could be filled with pets, ocean animals, zoo animals, farm animals, forest animals, insects, or dinosaurs.  I put building materials that relate to our study on this self.  For example, when we learn about plants I add fake flowers, fake leaves, rocks, and green foam paper to represent grass.
The art center and yes that is my classroom bathroom in the picture.
I have books in EVERY center so in art there are books about art.  Playdoh, playdoh tools, and playdoh mats are always kept on this self.  You can purcahse the playdoh mats HERE.  If you want to check out how to make the color sensory bottles and a FREEBIE, click HERE.
 Who could be bored with all the fun things on this shelf?  This is the one self in my classroom that doesn't change.  Each week, I have an art exploration activity or process students can explore and I keep it on top of this shelf.
The discovery center which is filled with math and science fun!  You can get the "under construction waiting for student work" sign for FREE in my store HERE.
The math shelf is home to math manipulatives and games.  You can purchase the game Cover Up HERE.  
The shelf is where students can find scientist tools and items from nature.  You can see I have magnifying glasses and jars, goggles, small clip boards, writing tools,and shells.  I keep fine motor manipulatives here too.
 This our discovery table.  Students can explore and investigate many things over the school year.  To begin the year, we are learning how to be a scientist and use scientist tools by exploring rocks!  You can get the "under construction waiting for student work" sign for FREE in my store HERE.
The sensory table! Everyone LOVES the sensory table including me.  If you look under it, there are baskets with dust pans for the students to use when the materials somehow "fly" out of the sensory table.  
The pretend center.  
One thing about my pretend center is that it will only be "home" the month of August!  For each study/theme, it completely changes into something else.  My pretend center has been a grocery store, pet store, pizza restaurant, ice cream shop, ice skating rink, zoo, aquarium, farm, Lows, mechanic shop, birthday party, garden, pet hospital, and a doctor's office.
If you read this LONG post, THANK YOU SO MUCH!  Here is a giveaway to say thank you!

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