Monday, June 1, 2015

August Mindset in May

I know that it is technically June now, but it took me awhile to want to sit down and think about school again. My school has been out for almost 2 weeks now, crazy how time flies, and it took me a while to recuperate. I ended 2 years with the same group, not officially looping, I just changed grade levels. Since my school levels for core classes, I worked with almost all the kids for those 2 years in some capacity. It was a rocky year for me with some definite ups and downs.

Now it's time to move and and think about next year! Yikes! I worked very hard at trying to be in the August-Back-To-School mindset while cleaning up my classroom this year. Partly because I hate feeling rushed in August and mostly because I am going to be on maternity leave for the 1st quarter. Stressful! I have a sub lined up as of now, but she's looking to get hired and I don't blame her. I have a feeling she will so then I have a few other names, but as most certified teachers that you want to have do a long term sub, they are also looking to get hired. That makes planning difficult. :( Because of that, I really wanted to be super organized!

My little one is due Aug 3rd and teachers go back Aug. 11. My first went very smoothly and I'm hoping this delivery will be the same. If that's the case, my principal (love her!) has said it's okay for me to bring my new one to our site based PD days and work day before students come on the 17th. Then I will be off until the middle of October. That is if all goes well.

Here is how I ended up cleaning up and organizing my classroom. (I was so focused that I forgot to take pictures. Sorry!)

What I had students do during that last couple of days:

-Take down my bulletin board & check for staples in the wall - minus the fabric background and border
-Empty & wipe out their desks
-Double check that supplies were in the correct plastic drawer organizer (colored pencils, crayons, markers, etc.)
-Look up a lot of my classroom library books and label how many AR points they are worth. I'm hoping to push reading a lot more next year. Not necessarily AR reading, but figured I might as well have them labeled.
-Change my calendar to August
-Take all their stuff home!

What I did during the couple of days plus work days:

-Rearranged the front of my classroom to see how I wanted to be set up for Aug with my new shelves.
                  We had the carpet in the front of our rooms deep cleaned over spring break, so that is where my classroom is packed up right now. This way I just have to pull out things that don't belong up front.

-Had two boxes, one for Reading and one for Math. Whenever I ran into a random paper or task card set, I tossed it into whichever box it needed.---more to come down below.

-Emptied out three of my overhead cupboards to go through the resources that have been handed down for generations.
                I am the social studies teacher for our grade level. I meet with each homeroom class 4 days a week, about 40 minutes each time, for 3 weeks each quarter. Not a lot of time to do much. I had 2 cupboards worth of resources, but the newest one was over ten years old and a text book broken into 3 parts. BORING! One of the books was published in 1977! With approval, I got rid of almost all of it.  Man did that feel good! I condensed 1 1/2 cupboards into 1/2 of a cupboard. Also, because our district hasn't mandated/adopted a social studies curriculum, I get to have fun with picking my own. That is a goal of mine over the summer. I have a few ideas and products on TPT to check out, but I'll save that for another post.

-I took my boxes from the previous Aug, with those odds and ends I didn't know what to do with, and dumped them on the floor. It looked like a tornado had hit for a little while. I put like things together, donated some things, and tossed some things. Then used some newly freed up totes, labeled them and stacked them nicely in my freshly cleaned closet.

-My Reading and Math boxes each got some of my attention.Working one subject at a time, I took an empty crate and filled it will hanging file folders. As I pulled out a resource from my box, I labeled a file folder with the topic and then put it in the crate. If I already had a file with the topic created, I added to the folder. This wasn't as time consuming as I thought it'd be, and I'm in love with how it ended up. Now I don't have to wonder if I've already printed that resources out or not. I can check my crate and be able to quickly know.

-Put together a homework packet for my reading class.
               I teach the intervention reading class and I have to use some direct instruction programs.These programs do not come with homework options and they don't always hit the standards that I am suppose to teach in 5th grade.Homework is an expectation at my school and I didn't want to spend a lot of time figuring it out in Aug when I need to be working with whoever my sub is going to be on procedures and actual curriculum. I gathered some resources and put together a small packet to be given on Monday each week. I also put the masters of each resource into one binder. This will make it super easy to put together and copy the following weeks' homework packets.

I know that it seems like a lot, but I think that when I come back in Aug to my actual classroom that I will be soo happy that I did it now. It also helped with purging. If I didn't even think about it this year, I found it a new home. Whereas I remember thinking to myself in Aug, "I could use this this year" when it didn't happen. I felt refreshed and even more ready for summer and all the fun it brings!

Hope you all feel as ready for summer as I was!

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