Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to School 2011

Well, today marks day #5.  And I must say, I'm very pleased with my decision to move to 6th grade reading. I love teaching only reading.  I feel very focused - I'm putting all my attention there and trusting my colleagues to do their parts in math, science, and social studies.  I've done a lot of revising to my original plans - amazing how different things are once you meet the students! (And once you get the gist of their abilities!)  There are also school-wide mandates coming down (as always this time of year) and new programs (RTI) and different expectations (regarding TA's among other things.)  So I've got plenty to blog about - now I just have to find the energy and time!

How has your school year kicked off? (Or are you one of the lucky ones who don't go back until after Labor Day?)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

2011-2012 Bloom's Taxonomy Bulletin Board

Last year's Bloom's Board can be seen here.  I've done some thinking about it here.  This is what the end product looks like!
I'll be adding symbols/icons for websites and things we use to the appropriate spot. Things that fall in more than one spot might get added to the blue field.  I might work in some common verbs too. I'm going to let it develop without any real plan and see what happens.

Here is what the rest of the board looks like:

Graffiti board for the kids to make book recommendations.

The whole board.  My NBCT certificate is now hanging near my desk. (And no, it isn't the original. I took it to Staples and had them make a color copy. Looks good enough from a distance! And the original is safe at home.)

Focus Wall - Finished!

Forgive the slightly blurry pictures. My camera hasn't recovered from our beach vacation.  It got sandy and now it won't zoom and sometimes won't focus. Only real issue is the pictures look fine on the camera! It's not until I see them on the computer that I realize they're off.  I'll try to take better pictures on Monday. In the meantime, here is my finished focus wall! (With some bonus pictures thrown in!)

Class Library Checkout (added 5 more pockets under each board)

Desperate to hide the 50-zillion sets of chapter books, magazines, and extra textbooks.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Record Keeping using Google Forms (#Daily5)

So this year I'll have 3 classes worth of data to organize.  I'd been considering Evernote (but had been warned that I'd probably need to upgrade - and I don't have $50 to spend right now.) I had found binders and dividers in the closet and was going to make them up tonight.

Then I had a brainstorm. Could I figure a way to use Google Docs forms to collect the data (and subsequently organize it - SQUEEEEE!)  Well, I did! And it wasn't as hard as I thought it might be.  So take a gander at these surveys - these are copies I created for you to see. The "official" ones I use will be set to private and I'll be the one filling them out. I can't wait to try it and see how it works! (Being concerned for privacy, I'll only be using student first names and first letter of last names.  I don't feel comfortable putting their entire name - even though it would be safe.)  I'll add direct links to the Google Docs on the Documents page.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sooooo close! (Or, Classroom Pictures 3.0)

So I worked in my classroom AGAIN yesterday morning. I put in a solid 3.5 hours that felt more like 6. Time literally flew and I got SO MUCH done.  I'm not sure if my poor glue gun will ever recover. But the room is thisclose to being done. Just a few nit-picky details - I was planning to go in tomorrow, but I might just wait until Friday (our first official Teacher Work Day.)  For comparisons, look at 1.0 and 2.0. Enjoy! (And as always, comments welcome!)

Hallway Bulletin Board (might adjust a little)

Phone pockets are ready!

Fancied up the class library :)

Class Library extension - hardbacks, oversized paperbacks, and series books.

Entry/Exit bookcase

Jobs chart, calendar, specials chart, voice level star

Reading Groups bookcase - the bucket organizer is now on a lazy susan. Yay!

Student supplies

Pencil Sharpener, spinner for reading games

Entire counter

Got rid of the extra workbooks - extra storage!!
How is your classroom shaping up?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Classroom Progress

Here are some pictures that reflect the progress I made yesterday. (Here is my previous post for comparison.) I'm very pleased with how the room is shaping up!  I got the janitor to move out the teacher desk and I've got him working on getting me tables.  I went ahead and arranged the desks - I was tired of seeing them willy-nilly around the room.  Any suggestions for fine tuning?

View from the door
From the door, looking right
My last dumping ground. Bulletin Board stuff all in one place.
Reading Groups table with bookcase to organize materials
Entry area. Kids turn in papers to the colored trays - one color per block.

Computer station (also be the FlipCam station)

Reading workbooks - for a reading series we DON'T have!

Front view, TV, Bloom's Flag, and computer/doc camera station
I think it is coming right along! Now I'm spending some hard-core time studying my teaching materials - I've got bits and pieces of different reading series.  I'll post later in the week and share what I've decided and created.  Be on the lookout for documents!  I'll be posting info to go with Elements of Literature and Prentice Hall Literature.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bulletin Board Updates

I got to school for 2 hours yesterday and managed to get all by boards covered and trimmed.  I even played with the layout of my Focus Wall and my Bloom's Flag.  Here are some pictures of the works in progress!
(Please pay no attention to the purple and greenish-yellow on the focus wall.  That will get swapped with patriotic scrapbook papers that my mother got me - needed a place holder!)
Version 1 of my Focus Wall
Version 2 - Squeezed in CAFE
The whole board - Focus and a section for the reading groups on the right
Beginning stages of the Bloom's Flag BB.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Beaching It!

I'm enjoying my time at the beach.  I popped into McDonald's to sponge off their free wi-fi and great sweet iced tea. It is SO HOT and we're loving every minute.  I'm proud to say I've not really done any school related thinking while on vacation.  But I can't wait to get back home and get into my new classroom - there is still so much to do!  See you again with regular posts on Monday!

Toes in the water, ____ in the sand, not a worry in the world....

Monday, August 1, 2011

Home Office Organization Part 2!

So I've moved into my new classroom (a separate post!) and have brought home 3 tubs and a box of stuff.  Here's a visual aid:

The night before, I cleaned off shelves and this is what I had...

I was pleased that it only took me about 25 minutes to get the stuff put away.  I credit that with the fact that I didn't actually "pack" stuff - I just set it into the tub. That meant I could just set it on the new shelf.  There wasn't a whole lot of loose stuff either - it was mostly in bins, bags, or book boxes.  Here's the full shelves:

Can you hear them creaking and groaning? My concern now is that I'll come in one morning (or be awakened one night) to stuff all over the floor.  We're talking about buying some bricks and making some brick-and-board bookcases under one window.  We'll see about that after the BEACH!!!

So this isn't the beautiful office from a magazine that I'd love to have - but it is what I've got. It didn't cost me a dime so I'm happy with it. (Although if this is a decorator and you'd like to give my office a makeover, I wouldn't say no!)

What does your home office/workspace look like?