Sunday, August 5, 2012
The Class List is in the Mail
This week, I received my class list in the mail along with the welcome back letter from my principal. That is a sure sign that the beginning of a new school year is just around the corner.
I have really enjoyed this summer. Over the summer I have enjoyed reading, knitting, and spending time with family and friends. It is the first time in a few years that I did not work a second job, and therefore I feel rested, recharged, and just a little bored. The extreme heat this summer has kept me inside more than I wanted to be, thus the boredom. A little boredom is a good thing, because I feel excited and ready to head back to school.
I really love this time of year! August is a time of year that I get a little crafty, making things for my classroom. The classroom and the school year are a clean slate. I can continue things I started the previous year or I can completely change them up, so it's time to reflect on things that worked well, and others that didn't. It's the time when I begin putting together my 4th grade learning environment in a room that is so spanking clean that the floors literally gleam.
One of the things that worked well last year was the book shopping days in our classroom library. On their book shopping days, students browsed our collection to select three or four books that they wanted to read during the coming week. Prior to last year, my classroom library tended to be a place where some people hung out and wasted lots of time, but did little reading. This approach was suggested by people in my PLN and I was amazed by how well it worked.
Last year I made the light blue curtains. On book shopping days we open up the curtains so people can browse the books stored behind them. I really liked the clean look that it gave our classroom, so I decided to curtain off the messy shelves where I house my teaching materials. I didn't have more of the light blue doggy fabric, but I remade these denim curtains from curtains that used to hang in my son's bedroom.
My desks are arranged, and some of the books have been passed out. I'm sure this floor plan will be the first of many. I change desks around frequently. I like to have students seated in groups, but I don't like them facing each other. Some kids need more personal space than table groupings provide. Once I meet the kids, I will know more about what works for them.
We have brand new reading books this year, so I am excited about that.
My new class rules poster is up, and the welcome sign is outside our door, but there is nothing on the bulletin boards, nor do I have any of my computers set up. There is lots more to do, but I am excited about the progress I have made. Teachers officially report on August 21st, but I will be going in for a few hours a day, at least twice a week. School begins for us on August 22nd and by the time the kids arrive, I will be ready.