Monday, August 24, 2015

First Day of School 2015

The day went by so fast that I didn't get any pictures during the school day. One students asked "Why is today going by so fast?" Because we were so busy. Bell to bell we were busy getting to know each other, organizing supplies and talking about classroom expectations. 

This is our pre-school family pic. Baby girl started day care last week. It is not going so well. The day care is great but she is still getting used to everything. 

This is one school day, plus 12,000 steps later. I literally had that many steps by the end of the school day. I need more comfortable shoes. After 5 years of teaching, I still haven't found super comfortable, non-ugly, dress shoes. Can't wait until tennis shoes for Friday. 


It was the best first day of school ever. I like that I can say that every year. It must mean that I am getting better. I over planned for the day and didn't get close to finishing everything. 

How was your first day?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

My Motto: 2015-2016

Tomorrow is the day! I get a new group of 6th graders whose lives I could affect for the better. 

As I start this new school year, this is what I want to remember. It will be easy to remember tomorrow but it is more important when a class period doesn't go as well as it should. 



What are the quotes that get you excited about teaching?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Classroom 2015


Here are some pieces in my classroom. 

I have seen poster/bulletin board in several places. It goes with Standards Based Grading which I am not doing. (But one day I would like to.) One of my focuses this year is to emphasize the importance of mistakes. I want students to not be afraid of it. 


This is the big filing cabinet that I really don't want in my room. But am using it to store extra papers and work for absent students. 


This is my sentence stem area. Students reflect daily and last year I wasn't the best at helping students build on their reflections. This is my first step to remedying that!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Beginning of the Year and Videos

This is getting real. I am having a hard time adjusting to not napping in the middle of the day.

I wasn't sure if I would be able to make it through Meet the Teacher night without yawning the whole night, but once the kids got there, I was awake and ready to go.



This is my yearly ritual to watch some energizing videos to get me started in the new year.

Here are my three. The list has grown.








Our students deserve the best!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

First Day of School Plan

I have been so indecisive about what to do the first day of school. I keep changing my mind and then changing it back. I want to make a good first impression and start the year off with good vibes.

Here is my schedule so far:

  1. Introduce myself to the students. I've made a Prezi which is almost done with some things about me. 
  2. Names and Introductions. I will try to learn everyone's name in 10 minutes. I try to have everyone's name down by the end of the second day. It is something that is important to me to do. 
  3. Classroom Expectations and Procedures. I am going to do this Post-It activity, but probably shorten it a bit. I want to make some fun presentation about classroom expectations. But really, I plan to teach and practice those in action the first few weeks of school. 
  4. School Supplies. I wrote a post about how I deal with school supplies. If there is any downtime during this time, students will have an all about me page to fill out. 
  5. Name Quiz. A test for myself to make sure I know everyone's name.
  6. Team Building Activity. I have never done this on the first day of school, but I want to improve collaborative learning in my classroom this year. There are several to choose from, but I think I have decided on this Cup Pyramids One. 
  7. Friend Scavenger Hunt. If there is time, students will find others who fit certain categories on a scavenger hunt. 
  8. Repeat.
Of course, everyday for the first two weeks at least I will review classroom expectations and procedures. We will practice until the classroom runs smoothly. 

My advice to myself on my first day of teaching years ago was to practice all procedures until it is near perfection. It is the worst part of the first weeks of school for me, but it is important to having a class run smoothly. 

I also plan to start calling parents on the first week of school during my conference. I like to make positive calls home BEFORE I need to call for something less than positive. 

5 days until the kids arrive!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

First Day of School--Dealing with Supplies

I teach sixth grade but my district considers that elementary, so the school is run similar to an elementary school. The students have homerooms and stay with the same class day long.

So when students come on the first day, we deal with supplies. If a student bought everything on our school supply list, it would fill several grocery bags. Some are class supplies and need to be taken up in an organized way.

 My team and I discuss before hand what we need for our classes. And then we each decide what to do with the rest. My first year teaching, I do not remember what I did. I do remember that it was a mess. I went back and looked at my teaching journal and from my first day of teaching I have this sketch.


And this is how I have picked up supplies every since. I put baskets/boxes/tubs around the room on the first day of school with labels. After introductions, names, a quick overview of the day, we dig into supplies. I go down the list of supplies and ask students to get out one or two supplies at a time. If we are going to keep it in the classroom, I dismiss a few groups at a time to take it to the right spot. If they are going to keep it, I suggest a good way to store it, keep it, set it up, etc. I also give groups a Sharpie to write their names when necessary.

Then at the end of the day, I can go through all the baskets, and put the supplies away.

If the supply list calls for multiples of the same things, I have the students keep one and I take the other and store it. From experience, I have seen them lose the extra supplies before they have a chance to use them. Since these supplies are meant to least ALL year, I try to make that happen.

Since school supplies are my favorite, I love seeing so many brand new school supplies all at once! It is one of my favorite parts of the first day of school, especially since it is more organized then the first time.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Getting Ready

I start inservice on Monday but I spent a few half days in my classroom while my daughter was at daycare. This is the first year that she will be in daycare and I wanted her to spend some time there before throwing her in for a full day.

This week I:

Wrote postcards to my students asking them to come to Meet the Teachers. I am super proud of myself for doing this. It helps to have a campus that gives a list of students ahead of time rather than 10 minutes before Meet the Teacher. And it is something that I always plan to do, but actually did!


These are the only school supplies I bought for my classroom and I am going to try to keep it this way. I use composition notebooks for our ISN and the spiral for our Daily Math Review (warm-up). I bought extra for those that may not have any. Last year I waited until after school started to buy composition notebooks and I couldn't find them anywhere! Not this year.


I finished one half of a bulletin board which lists the jobs of my classroom managers. My classroom management this year relies heavily on students taking control of the mechanics of the classroom. I got this idea from Hodges Herald to assign groups of students to a set of similar jobs. This will work so much better than me coming up with 20+ jobs, remembering who is what for 3 classes, and remembering to switch them. I'll let you know the all the details when I finalize it.

I bought a few classroom decorations. These borders will be laminated and used as number lines.

And I LOVE these posters. There were so many to choose from but I want to focus this year on taking risks and trying. These posters convey that message. I am going to put the middle one next to a chart that tracks how many times I make a mistake in Math class... because it happens.

Other than that I am packing up our apartment and HOPING we can move in next weekend. The builder will be done. It all depends on the bank.