Tuesday, August 17, 2010

T-2 Days!!

School starts in 2 days and I am a ball of nerves and excitement!! We had a Convocation today, where all of the certified district staff (and many non-certified) gathered for a "Pep Rally" of sorts. I cannot even count how many of my former teachers I have run into over the last couple of weeks. I am still making adjustments to not calling them by their last name, but it is definitely going to take some time to address them as COLLEAGUES...wow!!

My classroom is complete!!!!! In my mind, it is never complete, but it is ready to go for my kiddos on Thursday.

Student Work Display Board: "Steps Toward Success"

Word Wall

Small Group Teaching/Teacher Work Space

Computer Station/SMART Board

Organizers for Guided Reading Groups

Span of the Room

I am laughing to myself now as I look at the class schedule my principal requested from us. The funny part is that she only asked for one, but I made THREE different versions of the schedule, which each one containing more specific details than the last one!! I am so detail oriented that my version must be very explicit in what I would like to be doing every minute of everyday. Even though I know it will almost never turn out that way, at least I have an idea of where we would be in a perfect world.

Today, we gathered as a school to discuss our Personal Learning Plans (PLPs). PLPs are a part of a district initiative to push teacher to set their own PD plan and to collaborate with others who have the same goals to make it more effective and ultimately result in increased levels of student achievement. I have teamed up with my other 2nd grade teachers and the 1st grade team to provide students with authentic literacy experiences to increase student reading achievement by using The Daily Five framework. After our group collab meeting on Sept.10, I will post more details about it. I am excited because I have the book, but have not been able to read it. It sounds like an incredible framework for use during the literacy block and I cannot wait to get the ball rolling with it!

I hope your preparation and/or initial days of teaching are going well!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Finishing Touches

New Teacher Week is over!! I met my mentor for this year and she just so happens to be one of the other second grade teachers in my school...who knew??! My initial impression of her when we met earlier this week was not one that screamed 'mentor' but after meeting with her today, I'm more optimistic about what our relationship will be like as the year progresses. She is going into her 15th year of teaching and is incredibly knowledgeable about so many facets of teaching. I am excited to be able to collaborate with someone so rich in classroom experience.

I have finished with all major parts of setting up the classroom- pics to come when I put on the finishing touches!! This weekend, I will be working on the following:

- Writing out plans for the first 1 1/2 days of school (community building, etc.)
- Completing my classroom procedures/routines/management plans
- Finishing my classroom newsletter
- Sleeping in at least one day this weekend!!!!

I'm gonna spend the rest of the night adding upcoming meetings, and PD to my calendar. Can you believe I already have two days for which I need to request a sub???! Didn't think I would be making sub plans so soon!

Monday, August 9, 2010

It's A Comin'

I have been working hard in my room lately. I am such a perfectionist so I have found that this whole classroom set-up thing is taking way longer than I would like. I finished two out of 3 bulletin boards today, relocated my classroom library, laminated my labels for my literacy work stations, and set up my Word Wall.

The morning was full of craziness because my AP came into my room and asked if I would like to sit in on some interviews for a Special Ed position. I asked her if she was sure she wanted me and she said she really wanted to have various perspectives on these candidates and the majority of teachers were still on vacation. I felt honored and incredibly nervous all at the same time!!! The interviews were very interesting and resulted in no real front-runners for the position. I absolutely respect all of the administrators of the world who have to make such pressing hiring decisions...yikes!! Well, throughout the 3 interviews, my AP, was complaining of stomach pains. She is pregnant and due at the end of the month (our principal had a baby a couple of months ago and will be returning next week from maternity leave). You could tell she knew something was up but she wouldn't let her mind think it was possible because in her words she "could have a baby yet because there is way too much stuff left to do"! Well, after the interviews, her husband took her to the hospital just to make sure everything was okay and what do you know....HER WATER BROKE when the reached the hospital. So, as of this very second, we have no AP and no Principal in the building!! I'm sure this will prompt an early return for our Principal but what a crazy set of events!!

My mind is fumbling around because I feel like there is way too much to focus my mind on!! I am working on some administrative tasks, classroom procedures/routines. Tomorrow, I'll be planning my literacy block for the next month with the literacy coach and working more in the room. It would be FANTASTIC to be able to be FINISHED with my room by the end of the week!!! Fingers crossed!!

New Teacher Week starts Wednesday!!!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Classroom Photos- In the Midst of it All

I am sooooo incredibly tired tonight. I had a great day full of a workshop about Google Apps and an afternoon spent in my classroom. I was able to start attacking the million and one boxes the former teacher left behind. My room is starting to look like a CLASSROOM!!! I'm too sleepy to comment on each picture, but I'm going to upload the ones I took of my classroom- halfway through the clean-up process. I plan to add captions to them tomorrow. Just a note: all of the shelves in the room were TOTALLY stacked with boxes. It may not look like it, but I really am making progress! I'm headed off to bed to gear up for an ELL Workshop all day, and hopefulling dropping by the school after.

All the stuff on top of the shelves is yet to be filtered through

SMART Board and Small Group Teaching Area

Materials Storage and More Boxes!!

Back of the room- I moved the 'teacher's desk' to the awkward corner but it was taking up optimal instructional space where the kidney table is now

The books and shelves will be the classroom library- after filtering through the tons of books that are all in the WRONG bins!!

**As you can see, I decided to comment on the pictures anyway! Hopefully I will have the energy to post about the workshop tomorrow!