Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Teacher Touches

After getting to be in my classroom and see the exact layout and everything yesterday, of course I couldn't resist going home to start planning and making my classroom decorations, signage, etc. I don't go overboard on that stuff, but I do want to make the classroom personal and fun to be in.

I always prefer homemade decorations, bulletin boards, etc. to store-bought ones, and I'm using a minimum of store-bought, bee-related items. I did come up with an acronym I'm particularly proud of - I think the front windows into the hallway will say "Mrs. D's BEES" - except here is bees:
Cheesy, I know -- what's happening to me??

One thing I feel very strongly about is that third grade is the perfect year to build a lot of responsibility and self-reliance. Kids need it when they get to the upper grades, and really just life in general. One way that I do this is by having an area full of supplies that students are welcome to. I've always wanted to call it the "Help Yourself Shelf" but never got around to making the sign. In my last room, it was always just "the yellow shelf." Students don't need to ask to get materials from this shelf - it is their space, and they are responsible for retrieving from it what they need to complete the task at hand.

I'm kind of obsessed with the how the lettering came out:

The last thing I made yesterday was a template for my weekly newsletter, which I plan to email out to parents every Monday. If someone will tell me how to post that on here I will do it!

So far, so good... a lot of work on the horizon and I can't wait!

Monday, July 25, 2011

At Long Last!

I finally got to start moving in to my new classroom! I had seen the third grade hall last week, but I wasn't sure which room would be mine. There it was: C122, last room on the left.

Hubs was fortunately free this morning (he started nights today), so he was able to help me load and unload my car. Despite trying to only bring what I thought most important, we had eleven boxes of books, 4 large tubs, a million empty containers, and some miscellaneous crud to bring. Yikes! Thank goodness he is such a gem. (He did insist on taking separate cars and leaving as soon as the boxes were in the room and the tables were arranged - but can you blame him?)

When I got into the room, I was so excited to see many items waiting for me. The reading and math programs had already been delivered, as had sets of math manipulatives (JOY!). The school even gave us pocket charts and book baskets, and a fantastic listening center set with a CD player and 4 sets of headphones. Definite upside of a brand-new school: brand. new. materials.

Don't get me wrong - I LOVED my school in New Orleans. But when I moved in, I got used metal cabinets that didn't stay closed, a rusting file cabinet, and next to no storage space. As you can see, this room has shiny new furniture and more than ample storage:

Cubbies for the kids! And a rocking chair for me! (Side note: I opened that carpet later on, and it's an oval with all the colors in English and Spanish! Bueno!)

I'm going to put 4 at a table, 2 on each side. That way everyone can see the boards on both sides of the room.

My desk / file area in the corner. I don't love the orange, but one of my team members pointed out that it looks like honey! Upside!

The other thing about my school in New Orleans was the total lack of space. We had around 650 kids on one city block, PE and recess were on concrete, and there wasn't even a teachers' lounge. Contrast that with my new school - absolutely sprawling, with nature trails and building ruins from the old plantation that used to be here. I even have a view of the woods from my windows! How great will it be for the kids to look out from the library corner and see this?

All in all, I didn't do too much today except take stock of what I have and (more importantly) what I still need. I've already spent well over $100 on my new room, not including generous gifts from family members (thanks, Toots!). It's the plight of the teacher to be constantly buying things for the classroom - and it's the worst for elementary. I have big plans for The Hive... God bless VISA.