July 31, 2016

Getting Ready for the Best School Year EVER!

Have you started your classroom?  If you haven’t, has the teacher next door?  Everyone has seen those “Pinterest Perfect” Classrooms, you just hope it’s not the classroom across the hall. Mine has been inspired by Pinterest,  but it definitely doesn’t stay that way for long or it doesn’t look picture perfect!
The important thing is that your students know that you took the time to create a special place for them to learn.  This is going to be their home for the year, it needs to inspire and motivate students to learn.  Everyone remembers the teacher who left up the same poster all year, but mine left up the same poster and it was crooked all year!!! For someone who was OCD, I thought about that all the time.  No wonder I didn’t learn too much science that year! 

My Classroom Library is my most favorite spot!!! If you have read my blog before you
know I wasn’t a reader as a child.  (I’m not starting on that soapbox now.)  ANYWAY~ I want all my students to become readers! I want them to LOVE reading! So we as teachers, we need to make reading very desirable.  Barnes and Noble has this down pat, who doesn’t want to read when you walk into their store?  That’s how our kids should feel all the time in our classrooms!

You may think, “No problem, I’m organized”  but to a hoarder like me this is so hard.  Yes, I’m a hoarder.  I started teaching 19 years ago and I remember needing things and not having them for my class.  I guess it’s the same way my Grandma Almie was after going through the Great Depression.  I’m a collector of JUNK! (No judgment) I’m always repurposing things, writing grants, or just telling people I’m a teacher and they
give me stuff!  (My husband is always asking, who am I going to tell I’m a teacher next?)
But being organized is so important, without it you won’t be able to find all those cool things you have or even forget you ever had them.  *Or worse, spend your day digging through things looking for the item you know you have somewhere!!! Been there, done that!

This year I have organized all my STEM items in baskets and containers.  I have all sizes of cups in one basket.  I have science tools in another basket and all of these items are on ONE shelf!!
I also have a writing center with all the materials needed by the center too!
THE KEY FOR ME… If I hadn’t used it in two years, throw it out!! This was hard because we change grades often at my school, so I did have to take a tub home to my garage.  (Hopefully my husband doesn’t notice!) 

 How do you want your classroom to run?  Think of all the things you want your students to do.  How do you want them to do those things? 
How will you turn in papers?  (on the back counter in the labeled drawer)
How will you sharpen pencils? (Classroom job)

What is your morning routine going to look like?  (we start math wall as soon as they arrive and they get two sharpened pencils)
What will be your dismissal routine? 
Where do they put their lunch boxes? (I use a big tub)
Where do they put their backpacks?  (we put them on the back of their chairs, but we have to talk about what is a safe environment and that you are responsible for your backpack)
How are you going to do lunch count?  (ours is computerized and it’s a student's job to
      double check that everyone has completed it)
How does each student get home?  (do you have a sheet to record this information on)
These are all questions you need to know the answers to BEFORE your students arrive. 

First days of school are a balance of building relationships and letting the students know
your expectations for the year!  You want your students to feel excited about a new year, but you also want them to know that LEARNING is important.  So it’s important to add some fun activities into the first day, between talking about procedures.   

Have a great first day of school! You will be ready! Coming soon: Great Books for the Beginning of the Year! 

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