Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Start of Something Great

Well it is finished...the first week of school that is.  I have to say it seems to have come and gone quite peacefully.  As I reflect on this past week and compare it to last year...I believe it has been very calm and stress free.  It most likely has something to do with having some type of expectation of what happens since I am now into my 2nd year of teaching.

The first two days I thoroughly went over policies and procedures.  Since, I am teaching 6th grade & many of my students have been going to our school for multiple years, it seemed like they were riding a bicycle.  They weren't crazy & loud, but ready and willing to get the year started.  I also think it has to do with the way the administration did the schedule planning.  Instead of the students switching every hour for the classes between my 6th grade teaching partner, the students stay with us for 2 hour blocks.  I have my homeroom for the first 2 hours to teach them Math & Science, then I have the other half of the 6th graders and they are with me the other 2 hours before they go off to lunch.  From lunch the students go to their Specials elective and then the last 1 1/2 hours it is Math/OCR Interventions.  It seems to have been planned much better & I get the opportunity to have the students a longer period of time so the teaching doesn't feel rushed as well.

Since Wednesday I have been reviewing 5th Grade Math with my kiddos.  According to their state testing results (we use AIMS), their Math results have something yet to be desired.  So, before they are presented with their first benchmark (Galileo) test on Tuesday, I wanted my students to get a refresher.  Also, by going over 5th grade Math questions, they get a feel for what type of questions will be on the benchmark test because I am using a posted benchmark test I found online as their review.  So far 95% of the kids are receptive and willing to do the practice.  Hopefully this will have a positive impact on their baseline test results, and we will only go up from here.

I will keep you posted how the kiddos, as well as I do this school year.  I am sure it will be filled with wonderful memories...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

August Currently Linky Party

Well now that I am back in the Land of the Bloggers, I thought I would join up in this month's Currently Linky Party hosted by none other than the amazing Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade.  Feel free to join in on the fun by clicking on the button below

So on with the show....

So to elaborate on my entries:

  • Listening:  
    • My husband insists on watching NASCAR, thus by default I found myself rooting for Jeff Gordon (#24).  Now I am not a die hard fan, and I would not die if I didn't see the race, but picking my battles I decided to make the best of it and enjoy the show.
  • Loving:
    • I have been working in my classroom since mid July so I am very excited to finally get the school year started.  I moved into a room which was vacant last year & the walls looked yellowish of course I had to paint them, and that was just the tip of the iceberg.  The final product is posted on my blog.
  • Thinking:  
    • I have crafting ADD...I will start a project and not finish it once I realize I can do it, this even goes for posting on my blog..  I don't know what it is, but I can't seem to finish any project (besides painting my room).  This year I am working hard on changing this has been a long journey, and it hasn't really come to fruition, but I am trying at least.
  • Needing:
    • My little brother is finally getting married!!!  She is a great girl & I cannot wait until she is officially family.  Because of this I am hosting with my mom & sister her bridal shower.  Her theme is pink, white, & burlap with Sunflowers - kindof laid back country.  I finally got the venue secured & the date now to use the cute Mason Jar clip art I found to create the invitations for the anticipated event.
  • 1st days:
    • Contractually we were required to report back to campus on July 28th.
    • Meet the Teacher night was on August 1st (see previous blog for specifics)
    • Kiddos back on campus: August 4th.
Well this has helped my "Thinking" section & I hope I can turn a new leaf and continue on this path.  So, now there is only 19 hours and counting before my students hit my classroom door and the fun begins.

Good luck everyone...this will be a great school year...I know it!!!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Its that time again...

The school year begins in less than 48 hours, and I feel pretty good starting off this year.

Friday was "Meet the Teacher" night.  Here is how I set up my table of information while I spoke with my guests.
My welcome letter, supply list, parent questionnaire, and a bowl of mints with a poem I found on Pinterest.

I had quite a few student come to my classroom and I got the opportunity to meet with them and their parents and chat about my expectations for my students this coming year.  I had my information table all set up with the Cafeteria Menu, Parent Communitation sign in log, Welcome letter to the parents (a letter with clear expectations of the students in my classroom - asking the parents to read & talk w/their student to be clear of what I wan to see), my syllabus along with my colleague's syllabus, and a parent questionnaire.  I put a copy of my questionnaire under my Templates & Printables tab.  I also was greeted by many of my past students, both when I student taught in the 6th grade the year before & my kiddos from last year.  It was fun to see how much they had grown and changed over the summer.  You could see the apprehension in their eyes and uncertainty in their voices.  I just reminded them to breathe and enjoy this time.  Because this event took place I can finally exclaim my classroom is finally finished.  Here are some pictures of the final product.

My classroom from the outside.  My bulletin board includes all the names of the 6th grade students,
This is a closer look of my bulletin board.  The heading states "Welcome 6th Grade Math & Science Superstars!"

Here is the final result of the inside to my classroom...

This is the front of my classroom.  My tables are in an E shape, all the chair facing forward.  This allows the opportunity for Socratic style discussion.

This is the back of my classroom.  I kept my classroom library I accumulated last year through Scholastic book sales and various 2nd hand stores.  Some of my students last year donated some of their books to my collection.  Even though my content focus is Math & Science I will always encourage reading in my classroom.

This is my desk / office area.  I have my SmartBoard & DocCam on a work table next to me so if I need to pull couple of student for reinforcement, I can keep a ready eye on the rest of the class.  There have been a few colleagues tell me I need to come & set up/decorate their classroom for them as well.

So, with all this in place let the 2014-2015 school year begin.  My first days are filled with procedures & expectations.  Then on Tuesday of next week we have our first Benchmark test (the Pre-test) which will give us the baseline for skill leveling and student placement during our OCR/Math Intervention classes which take place the last 1 hr & 30 mins of the school day.  Its going to be a very eventful year and I am ready to go on this adventure full force.

Also, be sure to check out my Printables & Templates tab.  I added some great resources like the Engagement Wheel, Hess' Matrix, and Critical Thinking Skills which I plan on using in my classroom & I thought it might be beneficial to many of my teaching friends.

The best is yet to come....I will keep you all posted....