Sunday, May 14, 2017

Create a Classroom Setup Kit

One of the best ideas I had a few years ago was to create a kit of all the necessary supplies I would need to get my classroom set up in August.  There is nothing worse than coming back ready to get your classroom organized and decorated and not being able to find the tape or stapler you need.

This is a list of what I have in my kit.  I have been doing this for a few years now so I just edit my list whenever I add something new to it.  Most items fit into a small storage box.  The paper cutter and cardstock/paper get stored in a separate container.

  • Create a Classroom Set Up Kit:
    • Scissors
    • Stapler
    • Staples
    • Staple Remover
    • Masking Tape
    • Painters Tape
    • Double Sided Tape
    • Glue Stick (keep in plastic bag)
    • Goo Gone
    • Cotton Balls
    • Ruler
    • Fishing Wire
    • Push Pins
    • String
    • Paper Punch
    • Paper Clips
    • Magnets
    • Magnetic Tape
    • Post-Its
    • Pencil
    • Black Marker
    • Quart Freezer Bags
    • Gallon Freezer Bags
    • Fiskars Cutter
    • Astrobrights Cardstock
    • Astrobrights Paper

Everything fits in this Sterlite container except the paper cutter, freezer bags, and paper/cardstock

Every adhesive you can think of 

Magnets for displaying items on my chalkboard

Stapler and push pins

Scissors, ruler, pencils, eraser, black markers, paper punch, mini flashlight, chalk, and paper clips

I make sure I put this kit into a safe place where I will be able to access it immediately.  I have a wall cabinet that I store everything I need for the beginning of the school year.  That way nothing important gets misplaced or goes missing.  When I come back in August all excited to get my classroom set up I don't have to hunt around for the supplies I need.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

End the School Year With the Beginning in Mind

A few years ago I started being very intentional about planning and getting organized for the following school year while finishing up the current year.  I've had this blog post in draft form for a couple years and decided to pull the trigger and finish it so I could finally post it.  I wanted to post this now because I only have six weeks of school left and I know many other teachers will be done weeks before me (lucky!).

It's that time of the year when we as teachers are all thinking about the huge list of things we need to accomplish between now and the end of the school year or frantically packing up our rooms for the summer break. When packing up your room make sure you know where you are packing things that you will need to start off the year.  Seems obvious, but I can't tell you how many times I have started the school year wondering where I packed something important that I need when arriving back to school in August.

I have a blue wall cabinet that I clear out at the end of the year and I make sure to pack everything I need to start school the following year in that cabinet so when I return in August I just open it up and everything I need it write there for me.

I pack up everything I need for my classroom setup and the first weeks of school in this cabinet.

Start by creating the following:
  • End of Year Packing List.  This list should be customized to your individual classroom.  I made a list a few years ago and look it over every year as things change in my classroom set up as rearrange/get rid of furniture.  I start by sitting at the back of my room and looking at the door.  I then take a 360ยบ counterclockwise look around my room and make my end of the year packing list.
  • End of the Year Calendar (last six weeks of school):  This is sort of my To Do list put on a calendar so I don't ed
  • Classroom Setup Kit: This is a kit I put together of all necessary supplies for when I return to my classroom in August to set it up.
  • Classroom Setup List:  This list is sort of the reverse of the End of the Year Packing List.
  • Back to School To Do List:  This is a comprehensive list of everything I need to have organized for the first few weeks of school.
  • Back to School Paperwork List:  This is a list of copies I need to make or printables I need to create for the beginning of the year.
  • Summer To Do List:  This is a very lofty/unrealistic list of all the school related things I may want to work on over summer break.

I will be doing a series of blog posts in the coming weeks to help you get organized so you don't feel overwhelmed by all the end of the year tasks to close up your classroom.  I will also share tips on how to spend time now getting yourself prepared for Back To School so you can come back in August feeling relaxed and ready to start the school year.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Currently January 2017

Well I don't even know where to begin with why I have not blogged since April of last year.  It's not that I have a lack of knowledge or content to share, but I life just got that busy for me with three boys and all their various sports and activities, along with my involvement on the Leadership Council of our local union and as a board member of my school district's Educational Foundation.  2016 came and went with only two posts from me and that's just how it went.

I'm not making any promises for 2017 and I won't start the year pressuring myself with unrealistic expectations of blogging, but you have to start somewhere and I think Currently posts were always the easiest for me to do so that's how I will start the new year.

Listening:  I have been listening to Christmas music for the past month and I have to say I just love it. I'm cutting myself off now that it's officially 2017, but I have been listening to the two XM radio stations and when they stopped playing Christmas music I resorted to my Andy Williams Christmas station on Pandora.  When not listening to Christmas music I am watching one of the 8 zillion Christmas movies I DVRd this holiday season.  Hallmark you are killing me by adding 17 new movies, while I have to watch all my old favorites.  I think at one point the DVR was down to 11% available thanks to my Christmas movie hoarding.  I'm still watching movies today.  I know, I need an intervention.

Loving:  Christmas Break. Although I feel it's a short one this year, due to how the holidays fall, I have soaked up every single minute of relaxation, productivity around the house, and fun with family and friends.  We had a wonderful Christmas Eve with my parents and oldest brother and then celebrated Christmas Day with my other two brothers' families.  I relish the time I get to spend with my family.

Thinking:  How blessed I feel to have a job I love (despite the politics and nonsense I have to deal with).  I have great kids again this year with great families and I adore my coworkers who make me laugh during lunch every single day.  We definitely keep each other sane, despite all the insanity these days in education.

Wanting:  I'm wanting everyone to be healthy.  My dad had a knee replacement last week so he is recovering from that.  My oldest seems to have a cough he can't shake, my youngest missed the last two days before break due to a fever and now has a cough that's lingering.  I had a cough for the past few months and finally got a chest x-ray the Friday before Christmas only to find out I had pneumonia.  I took an 5 day antibiotic and am now on Advair, but the dry cough is still lingering.  My teaching bestie is having surgery this week and will be out for several weeks. I hope she has a very easy recovery and don't know how I will survive all those weeks without her.  We are so in sync with our teaching beliefs and styles so I will miss her lots.

Needing:  The only thing I need to do is figure out when to finish my Christmas Break organizing projects I planned on tackling, but seem to have neglected (I blame you Hallmark Channel).  I had high hopes of organizing several closets and the pantry and start back on Tuesday so we will see what happens.

2017:  For the New Year I want to focus on health and all its aspects.  Physical, emotional/mental, professional, relationship, financial.  All of the above.  I want make sure my time spent is in line with my beliefs.

Here are a few photos from December that I want to share with all of you:

My December Bulletin Board

I was very spoiled again by my students.

I've been sipping Peppermint Mochas this break thanks to my students' generosity.

Our Christmas Eve Eve celebration.

Christmas Eve boys in bow ties.

Our Christmas card this year. I know it's a bit fuzzy on here, but I wanted to share it.

Thanks for stopping by and for your patience during my long hiatus.  I hope to have some new content to share with all of you in 2017.  I'm still loving my workshop model for math instruction.  I've been making lots of anchor charts this year so look for some upcoming posts about them.  I just finished a coaching cycle before break and we focused on conferring with students.  I really enjoyed the coaching cycle and will try to find time to write up some ideas for improving how I confer with my math students.  Feel free to comment on anything you are interested in seeing for new content.