Making Some Progress–Name Tags, Bulletin Boards, and More!

Just thought I’d give you a little sneak peek at the VERY little work I have accomplished in the last week!  I think I’ve finally come to the conclusion that THE SCHOOL YEAR IS COMING and I better get in gear! 

I have been puttering away at the computer making some different classroom signs, name tags, and so on.  Just thought I’d share what I do for name tags–I know a lot of you do similar things.  First of all, I divide my class into groups of three.  Each “team” of three gets a certain colored background.  The name tags below represent my pink, green, and blue groups.

I then add some sort of other feature to my name tags to “rearrange” my class into different sized groups.  This year I added a colored stripe to the middle of the name tag.  There are about students in each of my different colored “stripe” groups.  Here you see that my 3 fictitious students are each in different trios but come together as a part of the “blue stripe” group.  This is one of the many ways I can quickly divide my class into groups without picking popsicle sticks or booting up my “random group generator” on my Smartboard.  I used to add other symbols onto the name tags to have even more grouping options, but I found I didn’t really use them and I found I liked a more “streamlined” name tag better!  So, to start this year, my students will have their desk groups of 4, their color groups of 3, and their stripe groups of 5.  This is more than enough “groupings” for us to practice all our group skills this fall!  We, of course, do pairs, random groups, and a bunch of other groups as well!
I put up my first two bulletin boards–one of which I’m keeping secret for now because I’m going to blog about it later, but here is my first one.  It is SO easy and the parents LOVE it when they come for “Meet the Teacher” day.  I keep this up for the first week or two of school until I have some good content area work to put up!  It isn’t fancy but does lay out the year and what is coming up with our learning.
OK . . . I thought I’d share one more classroom picture.  A few years ago these were all the rage so I jumped on the “I am a terrible organizer and this will solve all my problems” bandwagon.  Here it is.  
I refer to this as “My spinning vortex of organization”.  Unfortunately, I not yet figured out how to really use this beauty.  Any suggestions?  I would LOVE to start this year in an organized way–and this looks like a good place to start!  I just KNOW there is a great use for it!
I plan on going in to school this weekend, so hopefully I can make some good progress on my “blank slate”!  Watch for a fun link up tomorrow morning with all sorts of fun products highlighted–because if you haven’t heard, there is a HUGE back to school sale happening Sunday and Monday at TpT!