Sunday, August 2, 2015

Starting Year Eleven

Woo Hoo for the weekend! I just finished a week of new teacher orientation and professional development at my new school. We start Monday with students. Am I nervous? Maybe a bit. Each year brings new students, new challenges, and new learning.  But, I am really excited also to see what this group of students in my new school is like!
This is year eleven in my teaching career. I'm starting in my third school. Teaching is a difficult, loveless profession at times, so it's been pretty fun this week to see a lot of really passionate teachers ready for another year. I get to teach on an iPad team this year with students having one to one technology. I have been inundated with district learning systems this past week, some of which are pretty awesome. I'm learning how to use Schoology and to do much more with Google docs, slides, and drive.  I'm hoping my next post in a couple weeks has some tech pointers! 
I got my stuff moved into my classroom a few weeks ago and I was really excited to be working with a blank slate. There's a decent amount of cabinet space.  Two desks were available and two filing cabinets. I also like that the chairs are not attached to the desks so kids can get in from either side. 
I am starting with rows.  I always do this to see the kids head on for the first week.  I make sure to say their names when I call on them and I tell them my challenge to myself is to know all of their names by Monday the following week.  I have three cinderblock walls.  I have my trusty glue gun ready to put up more posters, but I'm starting with the basis less is more.  I also know I want to rearrange and put the students into groups of 5-6 as soon as I know their names and get a feel for who would work best together in this first month.  Therefore I haven't put up all of my posters.  My plan is to add posters as we go over procedures for the room.
I decided to use the smaller of the two teacher desks.  If I have a larger desk I tend to put more stuff on it to fill the space, and I like to keep my desk more compact with less clutter.  I kept the larger desk to use as a supply table, and I did lock my personal supplies in the drawers.  My about me bulletin board is ready to go as well as my new organizer hanging behind my desk.  I got a free book shelf and painted it white.  Most of my border this year was from Dollar Tree along with some cute mini bulletin boards that I put up behind my desk for my personal pictures and memorabilia throughout the year. Setting up a classroom doesn't have to break the bank.  Check out garage sales for furniture, or Craigslist has a free furniture section. Go to the dollar store for decoration, make your own, or ask for donations if your school has any partners in business!
I had two options for front of the room with white boards on both walls for my projector on a cart to aim at.  I chose to start with the classroom being more shallow than long.  This way the furthest student is four rows back from the board instead of six rows back. Also, all students are facing away from the door, so if someone is out in the hallway, it'll be less distracting.  It's a lot to take into account when setting up a classroom.  The good thing is, it can always change.  Too many teachers get stuck with one set up and leave it all year while they hate it.  They're desks, they can move. Find what works best for the space, the students, and you!  I will update with more pictures later as the room shifts and changes to fit the classroom needs this year!
Thanks for reading!

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