Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Welcome To My Mess

It’s that time of year…..put away the suntan lotion, the dog-earred novel, and all of the trip memorabilia. Accept the fact that blogging may have to decrease to two or three posts per week instead of the daily Summer post. Move all of the Summer things to-do to the upcoming Fall Break to-do list. Hang up the flip-flops and try to find more presentable teaching shoes. Try not to have any regrets about wasted time and all of the things you wanted to do over the break but didn’t get to.

It’s time to focus on the classroom to make it presentable for Open House and the first day of school. As you can see I have many, many things to do. Over the last two days I’ve opened every tub (I should have stock in Rubbermaid), and weeded out and thrown away things I haven’t touched in at least two years. I’ve dusted, cleaned out my fridge (there was a container of yogurt in there with a date of 2005), and reorganized my classroom library.

This picture (below) is taken standing in my classroom door looking towards the back of my room. I need to reorganize my word wall. I usually use words for writing on the wall and post social studies/history vocabulary on a chart. Since I am going to teach language arts to both classes of social studies I'm playing with the idea of posting all the words together since students will be writing reflections at least every other day to sort out and make connections with the content. What do you think?


This picture (below) is also taken standing in the doorway looking straight ahead. I love the fact that I have two whiteboards. They really come in handy for things I'm required to post all of the time as well as for things I need to write during a lesson. This is the side of the room where everything, yes everything was when I came to school last week. I've spread it all out so I can have space to work and I use the desktops to sort things.


This is the view (below) from the back of the room at my desk looking towards the doorway. Students will be sitting in groups of four. A set of textbooks is already waiting in each desk for students. I hold the book facing me and place a tiny number on the top close to the spine along with the first two letters of my last name. I begin with 1 and move on to 2, 3, 4, etc. I do this on each type of textbook-----math, science, grammar, reading, and social studies. One desk has all of the 1's, another the 2's, etc. This helps students keep up with their books so much better because they know all of their books should be the same number. I have forms with the school system number already written in along with the matching number of mine so on the first day of school all I have to say is "What number to do you have?" and enter the student's name. I keep a master copy of these forms with the school system number on it so I don't have to reinvent the wheel unless we have new books. A great veteran teacher friend of mine showed me this trick when I moved down to fourth grade. It also makes taking up books at the end of the year a snap.


Finally a shot of my desk. I laid everything flat and put small things in a basket back in May because I knew they would move everything to clean the carpets.


I'm worried I won't get things done before Open House. We have to be at school Monday, July 31st for an all day time to work in the rooms. I'll have all day Tuesday and Wednesday morning to work. However, Wednesday afternoon parents will be milling about my room. It's almost like having them searching through your underwear drawer. I know it a necessary evil, but I'm sure many judgements are made on that first visit. Yikes! I hate to spend my last two free days...tomorrow and Friday at school, but I may need to.


Anonymous said...

Holy Jeepers! What day did you get out? I have nearly a month before I have to go back (8/24 is our first in-service).

I can't believe they let you leave your room like that. We have to pack up nearly to the point of being ready to move at a moment's notice. I hate that they give us just a few days to "move back in" and then fill up that time with stupid meetings.

Good luck with the start of the year.

EHT said...

We have been out since May 26th. We had 8 weeks. I feel like two more weeks would be in order but I don't make the decisions.

We don't leave our rooms like this either. Last Thursday everything you see was shoved to the front of the room with absolutely nothing in the back half. I've moved everything to spread it out as I attempt to get it all together.

I guess out here in the blogging world I'm one of the first to go back to school. Everyone can use my posts to get back in the mood.

Dan Edwards said...

Gaaack ! I don't want to think about getting my room ready for school....YET. Have fun with it!

Dennis Fermoyle said...

July 31st?!?!? We've been out since about the same time you have, but our state legislature passed a law saying we can't start classes until after Labor Day (another fine example of the public "demanding high standards"). When do you guys start classes? And what breaks do you get during the school year?

Meredith said...

It must be fun to focus on teaching one or two subjects. How did it come about that you mainly teach history?

I teach third grade, and am "Master of All." I hope. I mean, I teach Reading, Writing, Math, Spelling, Science, Soc. St. and try my best to make it deep and interesting to everyone. I love how the room develops into a family of sorts, but I often wonder how much more deeply we could explore ONE subject.

I feel your anxiety about preparing one's room. It doesn't matter how long one teaches, there's always that question in the pit of your stomach, "Will I be ready in time?" Every year, I set up less and less.

I hope that this year I don't have the dream where I've come to school the first day and NOTHING is ready. Talk about a nightmare...

Meredith said...

p.s. I hope that it is okay with you if I add you to the links in my blog.

Chance said...

God bless public school teachers and their selflessness. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

You guys have it easy in the USA.
Here in England we have about 5 weeks summer holiday and dont get to enjoy much of it as half of it is spent cleaning up the mess from last year anf the other half is spent preparing for next year.
Perhaps I should move and teach in America...

EHT said...

Dennis, our state legislature discussed mandated the same start date all across the state but it didn't get that far. Many of our systems have adopted a calendar like ours and I really like it. We have Labor Day off, a week in October (this year I think it has been adjusted to just two days), a week at Thanksgiving, and for the past two years we have had three weeks at Christmas. This year our "Winter" holiday break will actually be two weeks. Three was too much...we'd rather have other days spread out during the second half of the year. Our calendar this year does that, and we are still out before Memorial Day. The one bad thing is it is still sooooo hot in August and our 15 minutes of recess kills me and the kids.

Bellezza, our fourth and fifth grades change classes. This began a few years ago when Georgia began the reform process. My school led the way in our county....we were one of the first and I love it. I'm middle grades certified (4-8) with concentrations in LA and SS, and my adm. caught on real fast that I know my history.

I don't know if changing classes would work for the little ones....we have to go over procedures, procedures, procedures during the first few days to get them used to having 3-4 teachers. I have seen situations where lower grade teachers team team and divide the content according to their strengths. You know, that was the original purpose of this reach out to those lower grade teachers that don't know the ins and outs of teaching social studies....and no, I don't mind if you link to me. Links make me do the happy dance!

Chance, thank you for your kind words about teachers. Yes, we put up with unimaginable &*(% most of the time and the majority of the people out there that makes the policy don't understand. I grumble all the time so I don't know how selfless I am.

Sam, your site on the Great Depression looks interesting....however, is there really any "easy" place to teach these days? Thanks for commenting and come back soon!

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

Good day, EHT! Since it's Saturday and you haven't posted since Wednesday, I'm assuming you are still shoveling your way through the aftermath of the mini-hurricane that seems to have plowed through your room over the summer. Good luck in bringing order out of the chaos!

EHT said...

I actually chuckled out loud as I read your comment
Californiateacherguy. Yes, I'm still shoveling my way through the ____ in my room, and I've taken a quiet break over the weekend since my school year will begin on Monday.

Thanks for making me smile.

HappyChyck said...

Holy Cow! Your room looks like mine at the beginning of each year as I drag out things from their hiding places and drag in the things I had to take home. Good luck in being ready! It takes a lot...we all know.

Duez said...

As a teacher in a brand new school with a brand new room... I am finding myself in panic mode hoping things will be there. So far, no teacher's desk, computer, or tables. All things should come in over the next two weeks. We start on the 14th of August here.

I can't wait though. Heading into school over the next two days for meetings on Advisory and registration for kids. 2006 is going to be a great year!

EHT said...

We have several loose ends still at our school, but you know, it's really amazing how quick everything gets up to speed. We usually worry for nothing.