Working hard or hardly working?

Yesterday was Monday and that means I have a week until the 2017-2018 school year starts.  I spent from 9:00am to 7:00pm in my classroom yesterday and I feel like I don’t have much to show for it. I’m in the mode where I have a ton to do, but I can’t get started on any of it. It’s crunch time!

I had to unpack the three boxes I packed up at the end of the year when I switched rooms. It was stuff from my desk or the cabinet, so that meant unpacking and organizing the drawers and cabinet shelves. I got SUPER excited because I found my calculator caddy…which will take up some board space, but will be VERY worth it.  I don’t have a class set of calculators, about half (I think I have 1-2 at home somewhere)…but I look for them any time I am at the thrift shop.

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I unpacked markers, highlighters & more and organized everything in the tall cabinet. I moved the shelves in that cabinet more times than I care to mention…I kept rearranging where I wanted things, which changed the size of the shelves.  I do like the way it is now, though I didn’t take a picture yet.

I moved the furniture around to start figuring out how my flexible seating will work best.  There are about 10 desks that I would like removed from my room, but storage space in the building is in short supply, so we will see what ends up happening.  It’s kinda of surprising to me that I seem to have MORE space in the room even though I have MORE seating options than students.  I haven’t taken any pictures yet because I am still in flux, but I got excited today thinking of which seating options would work best in the different areas of my room.  I have a cafe pub height table and four chairs that are en-route, hoping to arrive before the first day.

I guess I feel like I didn’t get much done because it was mostly organizing drawers and the cabinet, things that aren’t visible. And while I did start moving furniture around the room is still in a very messy state.  So to complete something visual, I decided to put together the bulletin board for outside my classroom. I saw the picture and post from Amy on Instagram and grabbed her editable blank template freebie to create my own. But then Jac (@jacrichardson) stepped in and helped with that because she was looking for something similar and needed it before me..so it was a win win for both of us! I LOVE the way it came out and hope to reference them throughout the year (though I do plan to change the board out). The background is wrapping paper from Tuesday Morning that is more like a vinyl/plastic because it can be colored in.

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Today I got my back to school hair cut and spent the day organizing my desk at home, doing laundry and cleaning the house.  Not the most fun, but it had to be done. Tomorrow will be another day at school with the afternoon spent with the new middle school math teachers in our district, I think there are four.  I will do a post about what we go over tomorrow!

First Day Plans

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This is another installment of #MTBoS #SundayFunday blogging. This is a weekly blogging prompt that is hosted over at Julie’s blog and this week’s theme is “First Day Plans”

Every week, Julie will push out a new topic, you blog about it and submit your blog post using this Google Form.  On Sunday, there will be a huge list of awesome blogs to go read! 🙂 YAY!

Honestly, my first day plans are still in flux…I have it laid out in my head but need to find out when I will actually be with my students as math students for the first time.  We start on the 24th as our first day with students, but with lockers, book/chromebook checkout, drills, PBIS required lessons for each period, etc…I don’t know when I will first see them as math students.  I will find that out on the 21st, when my team meets and we plan out those first few days.

In the meantime, I am hoarding links to ideas of what I want to do on the first day and the first week, which I am calling Unit 0. I plan to build in team & community building activities along with growth mindset and more so I can build the classroom environment I want to have.

Once I finalize it all and stop procrastinating I will post my plans here! 🙂

 

Goals 2017-2018

I am so excited that Julie (@jreulbach) brought back #MTBoS #SundayFunday, which is a weekly blogging initiative. In years past the blog posts written about the given topic helped shape things I was doing in my own classroom, it’s great because they all get linked together…like a one stop shop for amazingness! It took me all week to look at everything I wanted to do this year and pull out what my main goals are, so my submission is a little late.

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At the start of 2017, rather than set a bunch of resolutions I went with one word…Intentional. As I started reflecting on my goals for this school year, I found the word Intentional to be very fitting as well.

And as I was looking through my endless to do list to prep for the new year, I saw one simple theme…Building Community.  Over half the items on my to do list are related to the engaging community of learners I hope to build. Here are just a few of those things:

BE INTENTIONAL WITH BUILDING A CLASSROOM COMMUNITY

  1. Flexible Seating – Last year my intervention students wrote a grant to get flexible seating and I found out it was funded after I found out I was going back to teaching core math at 7th grade.  I talked to my Assistant Principal and got the go ahead to do it in my room this year.  So then I spent most of the spring and summer looking for items to help create an environment of flexibility and comfort. I LOVE a good challenge to be thrifty and find cute things for the classroom. I can’t wait to share pictures of what it looks like…that means I need to get it set up first though. 🙂
  2. #VNPS – Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces to allow students to work together while standing when doing math in my classroom. For table work, I have individual whiteboards and the group whiteboards from WhiteboardsUSA. I have the Standard-L Seconds and the students love using them. You can’t tell there is anything wrong with them…at all.  However #VNPS has been something I have been reading about on Twitter and because two of my walls are covered in CHALKBOARDS, I thought that would be a fun way to incorporate #VNPS and give students a different medium for working together. I bought chalk and magnetic chalk holders and erasers….we will see how this goes!
  3. Visible Random Groups – To go along with the flexible seating, I was trying to figure out how the students will choose their seats and how often we will change. I am going to incorporate visible random grouping in my classes this year. I haven’t decided how often I will be switching them, I think I need to see how they do working together first. I saw a Tweet from , and   where they posted a pic of these sticks in prep for . I have printed the following sorting sticks on cardstock and laminated them so they should last the whole year.  Click here for the file with the sorting stick guide shown below.
  4. Student Roles & Responsibilities – Funny that I am coming back to this…I had a conversation on Twitter back in August 2015 with Joy (@JoyKirr) about her classroom jobs for students.  She shared this document, though she says she has trimmed down and changed them since.  I never put it into place and my goal is to be intentional with student voice & choice in my classroom community. I’ve been brainstorming with Jac (@JacRichardson) about how to set them up and keep them organized for our middle school classrooms.
  5. Positive Peer Feedback Jar – Another idea from Joy, students fill out a feedback/recognition slip for a kind act/ responsible deed/risk in class, and it will be emailed to that student’s parent. 
  6. Friday Feedback – I am going to implement bi-weekly feedback google form where students can give input on how class is going and how to make it even better.
  7. Saturday Sunshine – Another idea from Joy, pretty simple because it’s two good news emails home, sent each Saturday. 
  8. Mindset Mantras – I am going to give this a go...see what happens!

There you have it! I am excited for all of the things listed above and how I can build the best community of learners that I can for this school year.  I have 15 days until our first Institute Day and 18 days until the first day with students. I have a lot to do before then, but I couldn’t be more excited to get all those things done! 🙂