Tuesday, July 22, 2014

#kinderblog Week 3 Classroom Set-Up

Find this week's blogging challenge at Kinderchat123.  
There are two options for the topic and I chose...

Option 1: What is the process you follow for setting up your classroom? 

What are your priorities, your values, your beliefs, about classroom setup, decor, and organization? 
(Feel free to share photos! We love photos!)

My list of kindergarten hopes is at the end of this post!

Our school was built in 1921.  Air conditioning was installed just a few years ago.  The aesthetics are beautiful-  marble staircases, brass railings, stained glass windows, solid oak casings, built-in glass cabinets.  There's even a fireplace in one of the kindergarten classrooms! 

No matter what size my room may be, or what school I'm in, the spaces I design will always have these things:  a cozy nook/dedicated area for sprawling out in comfort with a good book, a writing table that will accommodate at least four children, a student work display, a photograph wall, and a way to play music. 

The first three pictures, taken on check-out day in June, show the bare bones of my classroom 
(In two weeks, I'll have new pics of a ready-to-go room!)
In this photo, I'm standing in front of the guided reading reading table, 
looking at the SmartBoard. 
To the left and right, both walls are made of windows and glass.
The classroom door is in the middle of the left wall, 
which complicates desk placement.
In our district, we are strongly advised that 
no child should be facing away from instruction 
student desks should be arranged in groups for cooperative learning.
Not an easy feat with 25 desks and a narrow room width;
fortunately, kindergartners like being together!

 I took this picture from the doorway. 
The "chalkboard wall" is also an accordion closet.
The doors open all together…and can be slammed shut.
No one has lost a finger. Halleluiah!
There are hooks inside of the closet, 
but coats and backpacks fall to the ground on a regular basis.
I'm still trying to come up with a solution for this challenge!
And, this may sound old-fashioned, but 
I love the chalkboard wall!!
(See the owl? The "Be Brave" banner will be hung there!)

This is the inside wall of windows. 
At one time or another, I've covered sets of 3-6 panes with colored card stock
to block the sun.  A clothesline also hung across the wall, to hold anchor charts.
Last week, I ripped down the torn shade and removed the leftover papers.
My plan is to velcro white poster board to the highest window sets,
hang dry erase foam boards from two of the lowest sets, and
continue to display anchor charts in the center.

 As the class size grew larger, I assigned color spots on the rug.
This may sound harsh to some of you, but
I did this with everyone's best interest at heart!
The children were also able to easily do "turn and talk
with peanut butter and jelly partnerships.

 The Word Wall fit nicely on the closet doors.
Not sure it's going to stay there, 
as word cards could easily 'disappear' into backpacks.
Birthdays and reading strategy mini-posters were displayed above the wall.
The guided reading table is in front of the closet, so this was a good place to 
hang posters when not in use.

 Our very-most-absolute-favorite book 
was the photo album that we created as the year progressed!

Class in motion, jumping hurdles on GoNoodle!

Buidling together with a variety of supplies.

As I looked through the 1000+ photos that were taken in my classroom last year,
these words came to mind, to describe my hopes~dreams~goals for kindergarten:
~I think this list promotes college and career readiness. What do you think? ;-)~

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Made It- Teacher Planner!

Link up with Tara!
I've never had to turn in digital plans each week to the principal
…until last year.
 The process wasn't difficult but it was WAY too time consuming!
And I missed having a written record.
One in which I could scratch through plans, add notes, etc.

I am so excited about my customized planner!
The cover was created with a page from A Modern Teacher's Owl Binder

The next section might be my favorite part!
I want to do more reflecting this year. 
These pages from A Modern Teacher include a goal-setting organizer
and a reflection recap for each month.

I added the Kindergarten Common Core Standards,
before my planning pages,
With this set, you can record the dates that you teach the standards
and jot notes for mastery!

I was able to set my subject blocks and tweak the font for the planning pages.

Including a grading section in the book was important to me.
The quarter sections, grade graphs, and other pages for anecdotal notes
were created by Surfin' Through Second.

At the back of my planner, I added pages for passwords and birthdays.

After selecting the pages, customizing some, and printing in color 
(thank you, husband, for the use of your printer),
I took the stack to Fed Ex for binding.
I chose the sturdiest option and was surprised that it was less than $6!

Although I'm not ready to reset the alarm
or visit the bathroom just once each day,
I am ready to dive into my first personalized planner!
Now I need to get to work on a customized planner for Guided Reading.

Applause for the teacher authors who created the bones of this project.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

#Kinderblog 14: Week 1 Guard Your Heart

The #Kinderblog 14 Week 1 challenge is to write the post that's been sitting in your drafts folder, the one that's been circling in your head during drive time.
I bring you a drafted post from August 2011…

"How did I spend my summer vacation?

For one day, in the ER...

During a leisurely shopping spree at B&N, I experienced a rush of symptoms:  difficulty swallowing, intense chest pain, nausea, shortness of breath, jaw pain.  Before my jaw became stiff, I thought I was coming down with a virus.  The jaw pain tripped a memory of reading the signs of a heart attack.

Twenty minutes later, my husband was driving us to the ER.  The triage nurse admitted me and I was given baby aspirin, oxygen, a nitroglycerin patch, IV fluids.  After several tests, it was determined that I had not had a heart attack; the exit diagnosis was "esophageal spasm", which can be intense and mimic symptoms of a heart issue.  Because I have MS, the Dr. recommended I share this with my neurologist, then I was free to go."

Fast forward to the present...
Some of you may be reading this post and thinking,
"Um, that sounds like a panic attack."
And you would be correct.

It happened again, in the early months of 2013.  That time, I didn't have jaw stiffening, but the other symptoms were present and an impending feeling of doom encompassed me.  When I calmed down, I got online to research panic attacks.  It was like looking in a mirror.  Why did this happen to me? In hindsight, I see an overwhelming situation that was occurring at the school where I taught.  I've come to believe that our bodies will eventually scream for our attention if we are not taking care of our spirits/souls.  Last summer, when I accepted a new job in a school district that promised to be challenging, I knew I'd need to take care of my inner life if I wanted my body to work well.

(Disclaimer: I'm not claiming that panic attacks can be completely controlled. I am aware that they can happen to me at any time or place. I'm just sharing my truth.)

There are good things that I try to include in my daily life- reading, singing, worshipping, creating, planting scripture in my heart (Proverbs 4:23), hanging out with my husband and children, playing with our dog, sleeping late on Saturdays!  There are also things that I try not to indulge in too frequently- laziness, ruminating, reality TV (still working on this one!), wine.  Every now and then, those things are fine, but they can all become escapes or bad habits of mind that will bring me down.

Sharing this wasn't easy.  It's out there on the internet, after all.  In the blogosphere, where I've shared my experiences with the teacher tribe and the mommy crowd, I think we (mostly) try to present our best selves, posting our most flattering pics and sharing our successes. There needs to be room to show the bruises, scars, and bad dreams.  To be real.

So, I've shown you a crack in my armor.
Drafted, completed, published.
When you change the way you look at things - Children Quote

Children Quotes | Forward this Picture

Monday, July 7, 2014

NOT in Vegas?! Linky Fun!

If you are sniffling through the 
wonderful photos being posted from Vegas,
you are not alone!

But, we can't just sit here with our electronics 
and allow a cloud of blue to descend.
Let's set a few goals!
1. Personal-Self
2. Home &/or Family
3. Professional
Grab the graphic, write your post, 
then hop back here and add your link!
Remember to leave some comment love
on participating blogs.

Here goes….
1.  I'm not ready to set the alarm clock for 5:30am, but it's time for me to get out of bed and greet the day before 9:00!  I made someone a promise that I would exercise more than a few times each week.

2.  Plus, there is housework to be done.  
And room painting.  
And landscape weeding.
And prepping another child to leave the nest for college. 

3.  One wall of my classroom contains a window set that is more than five yards across and three yards in height.  At one time, five dark green blinds covered these windows.  Now, only one blind remains, with another blind ripped away from the anchoring.  My room receives directly sunlight all morning, so I'm on a hunt to cover these windows in a cost effective way.  Hurray for Pinterest!  

Now it's your turn!
(I'm sorry the text is so small in the linky;
it can't be enlarged, but the links DO work!)