Thursday, July 17, 2014

Check out my SWEET trailer!

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend the Summer Writing Institute at my school. There were approximately twenty teachers there along with our principal and the presenter from the county which made for an intimate session focused on improving the way we teach writing. By the end of the two day session I had some new strategies to try and a beginning outline of my grade level's writer's workshop focus for the year.

As exciting as all of that was, it pales in comparison to the excitement created by being able to see my classroom!

My room is of the portable variety and happens to be located on a slight hill next to the school. I didn't get to see what furniture will be in my room or spend much time there due to the fact that it is being renovated. By the time I show up for pre-planning my room will be tricked out with new laminate floors (to replace the old carpet), freshly painted walls and ceiling, and new doors. I might even get new stairs if I'm lucky. :)

This is what my room looks like right now. All of my furniture is in storage while the renovations are being done, but should be back in place within a week or so. I snapped this picture from the doorway when I got a quick opportunity to look in on the progress after our session ended for the day. I've already got some great ideas for making my room bright and colorful, as well as functional, before my students arrive.

My Pinterest classroom ideas board is overflowing with all of my plans for August. :)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Getting a jump start on my school year

In just three short weeks I will report to my school for pre-planning. I plan to bring lots of supplies and ideas with me once I show up to my first official, paid day of being a teacher. Many ideas are already rolling around in my head or represented on my many classroom related Pinterest boards. Other ideas will take shape in the next three weeks as I do many different things to prepare.

Yes, even though my job doesn't officially begin until the first week of August, I'm already busily preparing for my classroom full of kiddos. I'm reading my textbooks all over again within the context of my specific grade level, I'm reading blog posts from other first grade teachers and those posts geared toward newbies like myself, and I am exploring various texts and research about best practices with English Language Learners (ELLs). I'm doing all of this so that I can be the best possible teacher  I can be at this point for my students.

I have no illusions of being Superwoman my very first year of teaching. Even with all of this preparation, I still intend to rely on my mentor teacher and grade level team for advice and guidance throughout this year. As prepared as I plan to be by the first day of school, I realize that I will still have "oh crap!" moments and times when I am unsure. Still, I firmly believe that knowledge is power. I might be able to cut down on those moments a little bit if I'm proactive. If I have a firm foundation on which to build, I will get just that much more from each "learning experience" throughout the year.

Full disclosure: I'm both ridiculously excited and pants-shittingly nervous about this year. Being a teacher has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. I actually had a chalk board in my room as a little girl and I would play "school" with my stuffed animals. I created worksheets for them to complete.... and then I graded them! Now, I won't be simply playing anymore. I will be living out the role I dreamed of and hoped for so much. Part of me can't believe it's actually coming true.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to my school for a writing seminar. I'm not getting paid for it and it is a completely voluntary activity. But, I'm giving up two days of my summer to sit in a meeting and learn about best practices in writing instruction. The best part is, since I'm going to be at my school anyway, my principal is going to let me see my room! By tomorrow evening I'll know whether I have a traditional classroom or a "mobile learning unit", aka, a trailer. Either way, it's going to be fabulous!