March 19, 2010

Projects & Planning Ahead

The numbers are in and not only am I going to be teaching at my school again next year, but I will be in the same grade AND the same classroom!


After recently receiving this news, the comfort and excitement I feel when I look forward to next August leaves me feeling very reassured that I have made the right choice with staying here another year (and hopefully longer!).  It turns out I didn't need to travel 10,000 miles across the ocean to make a difference--there are lives to touch right in my backyard.

Anyways, after I received this news I decided to tackle A Project.  Like any true "project" goes, it began spontaneously and I dove in head first, refusing to stop until it was finished.  What is this project, you ask?
my cabinets.
Some of you may know that my predecessor in 5th grade was something of a hoarder...I am told that before handing over the classroom keys to me he did a deep clean of the room, purging it of most of the hoarded old workbooks, worksheets, resources, etc.  Hearing this information, all I can think is, "How the hell did you cram that much stuff into this room???"  I went through a good amount of drawers and closets back in August, but there are still several areas of the room that have yet to be explored (going through about 2 file drawers about maxed me out in the get-ready-for-school-craziness of August!  I kind of sealed up and "forgot about" a couple of the cabinets and drawers...).

ANYWAYS.  After my neighbor teacher, Ms. R, got the news that she will be moving downstairs to 4th grade next year, she started sending armies of kids over with boxes and boxes of books, materials, you name it for 5th grade.  In order to make room for these, I started the deep cleaning.  In the process of digging through two of the cabinets, I found many things that found their way STRAIGHT the recycling bin or the teacher's lounge table.  But I also found a bunch of great workbooks with some good hw or morning work sheets.  At the beginning of the year (and often now) I was always scrambling to come up with some practice page or another to send home for hw.  I always appreciate another book of quality practice pages!  Wish I had ventured into the cabinets sooner!!!

Next "project" on the menu:  the file cabinet (cue dramatic sound effects)...

I am also starting to put a lot of thought into room arrangement for next year.  My classroom is long and skinny, and instead of facing the room on one of the small end walls, I'd like to try flipping it so that the kids' desks face one of the long sides.  I'm hoping that that change will help us maximize space (without sacrificing my beautiful carpet reading library!).  I requested that the two archaic chalk boards be taken down in exchange for a bulletin board (no more taping up posters--hooray!) and another dry erase board.  I also requested two trapezoid tables to make a nice hexagon for guided reading--I have had enough of trying to do a reading group around a rectangle!  Just not working...I don't know if I'll get all of these things, but I think that the board changes should be no problem. 

All this talk about next year is getting exciting.  I know this year is far from over, but it has gone by faster than I could ever have imagined it would!  There are many things I will do just slightly differently next year--this year has been a lot of trial and error, and even though I'm sure that will continue EVERY year, I'm looking forward to getting a few more things right (I hope!).  :) 

Everyone has told me from the beginning that once you survive your first year teaching, you can survive anything--and once you survive a year teaching at MY school, you can teach anywhere!!!  I don't know about that, but I know that I will be going into next year much more confident, experienced, and prepared after the boot-camp style initiation my darling students have put me thorough this year!

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