Saturday, August 27, 2011

First Week Re-cap

Our first week back in K was amazing!  I have some of the sweetest kids on the planet.  They are eager to learn and happy to be in school.  Each day they get a bit more comfortable with each other and with our classroom.  Oh sure, I have those who still aren't quite sure what a cubbie is and those who really don't care to be a part of a circle time.  But they are learning and starting to participate, which I LOVE! 

Academically speaking:  we learned letters Aa through Hh, started a book of our friends' names, we painted twice, played with shapes and objects to sort and classify in math, and read a lot of GREAT books! 

Socially speaking:  I know that one child knows all about raccoon poop, another collected special crystals from his seawall, and still another loves going to eat out at fine restaurants with the family!  And we celebrated two birthdays already complete with cake and singing. 

On the "keeping it real" front: I've already tied at least 2,000 shoe laces, put wet towels on several bumped knees, hugged away a few sets of tears, peeled a couple off their parent in the morning, cleaned up pee, blood and barf, and opened several gogurts, fruit roll-ups and other lunchbox treats. 

And all I can think is "Early Childhood friends, you wear me out...but I've missed your general zest for life and learning!"  Because of this, I know that for me this return to my teaching roots (in primary) is going to be a powerful learning experience.  I'm excited to see where the road leads this school year and I couldn't be happier to share it with these sweet youngsters! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Before and After Classroom

OK, the classroom is (mostly) done!  I still have odds and ends to do and things to tighten up...but Meet Your Teacher was yesterday and it was pretty ready.  My "before picture" looked like this:

Now, that same shot looks like this:

Here's a quick tour around the room. Starting with our "welcome area".  This will be where kids sign in every day.  

Here's the Behavior Chart and Rules that I've been seeing all over the Internet.  I love it and tweaked it with my own graphics to match our "Learning Garden" Theme. 
Unfortunately, I can't remember the links for the GREAT teachers that shared these two tidbits.  I found both while blog surfing this summer.  And I tweaked them a bit with my own clipart. If you know the link, please add it and I'll add it to this post.  Otherwise, I'll dig through my stuff and find them to give credit where credit is due.  
And, in my opinion, the MOST important part of any classroom is the well-stocked Classroom Library.  Here it is for now.  I need to fix up the basket labels and I REALLY want to put that Learning Garden Tree in the I'm hoping to find some artists in my group of parents who can help us get that done.  
 More updates later.  

Monday, August 15, 2011

Classroom Update

Monday is a "Furlough Day" in our district--so no classroom prep will happen that day.  It dawned on me while talking with some teacher friends this weekend just HOW MUCH free labor we give in the summer.  Many of my friends are in classrooms that were being repainted this summer.  They have been unable to get in their rooms due to delays in the painting schedule.  Some were just moving into those rooms (a la my carpet cleaning feeling).  And they are frustrated.  Many wanted to really spend time just putting the room together for the kids.

Now, I wonder...will their rooms look just as beautiful and inviting come "Meet Your Teacher" next week?  My guess is the answer is "yes".  Because that's the kind of teachers these are.  To quote Larry the Cable Guy, They "Get 'er done!" No matter what.  They'll spend longer hours next week making up for lost time.

So, yeah, back to the furlough day.  It's a day we're not getting paid.  It's a day the campus is closed.  Yet, teachers will more than work those hours in the next week alone.  Free.  I don't mind volunteering any more than the next person.  Maybe, though, it's time for those at the state level to really see the amount of time teachers give.  Could it make a difference?  I don't know.  At least having someone in power acknowledge it might be a start.  Furlough or not.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I FINALLY got to move the REST of my stuff into my room today!  We got new windows...and they ARE gorgeous...but it's impeded moving.  And those carpets finally got cleaned yesterday.  Now they are gorgeous as well.

Anyway, this morning, my trusty crew...three of my kids (DSs 2 & 3 and LG), my FIL and my dear friend Sandy helped load up cars (FIVE of them to be exact) with all my other stuff and headed over to my new school.  Now, you know it's rainy season here in (ahem) "sunny" Florida, and this morning we had a DELUGE right upon arrival at the school parking lot.  My crew waited a bit hoping it'd stop.  And it sort of did.  There was simply this huge LAKE where we had to walk to the stairs.  Anyway, with shoes a'sloshing they trudged EVERYTHING up TWO flights of stairs and into the room.  I am a BLESSED woman!

Here's a picture of what it looked like after all five carloads were added to the two van loads DS 3 and I already dumped in there:

Sandy helped me start positioning furniture and we schlepped several pieces to a couple sides of the room to try them out.  As I told her, I think this is something we female teachers get.  Not so sure about our male counterparts.  Anyway...on we went figuring out where that sweet little classroom library was going to go.  And the corner that won is shown over here at the right.

Next I started unpacking those boxes that seem to be multiplying as we watch!  My daughter stayed and helped me sort and organize and clean from the window installation dust.  She was a REAL trooper and kept saying, "Mommy, you have a fun job!"  I'm glad she thinks so.  (I couldn't bear to tell her that it was free labor all around today!)

Anyway, we worked just about eleven hours total and here's a small snippet of what we accomplished:

 The classroom library is starting to come together.  I am excited to put in a "Reading Pond" to go with the garden theme.  I found the CUTEST stuffed turtle and frog to go inside it!  (I'll take a better picture of that when I go back in.)
 Sorting out school supplies is a must.  Why is it the school supply aisles just call my name like a bad addiction?  I love buying them and having them ready to go.
 Over half the boxes are unpacked and broken down!
  And...CHECK out my salvage yard find!  I got the four letters there.  (They are from old business signs)...added the cute little book characters and am now happy as a clam with THAT little display!

I love it when things start to shape up.  Of course, I'm gonna need a miracle to find places for everything that has yet to be unpacked.  BUT I will prevail...even if it means PURGING.

Happy 2011-12 Everyone!