August 21, 2015

Classroom Reveal & Progress Report

Hi, friends! I'm super excited to be FINALLY sharing my classroom reveal today. I know many of you (and by that, I mean my mom and grandma) have been anxiously awaiting this. Of course, I don't think my room will ever truly be finished, but I'm satisfied with the way things came together, especially considering I planned everything before actually seeing my classroom.

Today marked the end of our official first week of the 2015-2016 school year. Yes, I've been back in professional development meetings since August 3rd, but we weren't "required" to be present until this week. As a new teacher in this district, I'm still feeling quite overwhelmed with all the new things that have been thrown at me over the past couple weeks.

It's tough being the new person, feeling like I have to play catch up AND stay with my PLC during our limited planning time. In our first planning period together Thursday, I feel like I spent the entire time searching for files in the bajillion folders in Google Drive and requesting access to things I couldn't see. As things stand today, we have a common assessment and a text to use next week, but we still don't have daily objectives for our lesson plan, which are also supposed to be common. I'm sure we'll get into a good groove eventually, but this is stressful for me since I'm such a planner.

My principal has been INCREDIBLE! I've never felt so welcomed and appreciated by an administrator. It almost seems too good to be true (but I've asked around, and it's been confirmed that she is 100% genuine)! Earlier this week, she and another coworker were seriously arguing in my doorway about whose home I should stay in during inclement weather (you know... when my one hour commute turns to three). I assured them both that Chicago winters promise enough snow for them both to take me in... probably more times than they hope! haha

I've added so many coworkers to my "friends" list, and the texts, phone calls, and daily chats have truly made this experience amazing. My days are L.O.N.G. (I typically get to school at 6:45 and leave 12 hours later to avoid traffic), but right now, I'm having so much fun because those before and after school hours are when I'm bonding with our amazing staff.

It's probably too soon to tell for sure, but I feel like I may have found my home school! :)

I also want to send a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you have encouraged me and supported me on this journey. Every time I contemplated walking away, it was my friends here who urged me to keep pushing forward. I can't say enough good things about this community!

August 6, 2015

Chromebooks In My Classroom

I found out yesterday that I will have (at least... they ordered more over the summer, so we don't have new numbers yet) 10 Chromebooks in my classroom EVERY SINGLE DAY! 

I am soo excited! 

I can teach my students about blogging!

I can teach them that their stories MATTER and that their voices can be HEARD. If I've learned anything in my going-on 10 years of teaching experience it's that everyone wants to feel heard. What a great opportunity we have now!

I can give them PURPOSE and AUDIENCE for all their writing. 

I can show them the VALUE in articulation, vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and being able to support their ideas. These things matter so much more when they know their writing will be published and available for commentary! 

So, while I also learned that we will undoubtedly run out of copy paper at some point and I will need to buy my own, I am SOOOOO EXCITED about these Chromebooks!!!!! 

August 5, 2015

My Classroom BEFORE

I did it! I finally remembered to snap some BEFORE photos of my new classroom for you. It's actually in much better shape than I first thought, thanks to a new paint job this summer. 


SO MUCH STORAGE! Like I don't even know what I'm going to do with all the storage! What a good problem to have, amirite?

Without further ado... my classroom:

This is my door, obvi. That white panel is on both sides and ugly ugly ugly. I literally just remembered that I bought some aqua contact paper, so I plan to cover it with that tomorrow. Hopefully. I love that little built in on the right. I threw my Sterilite drawers in there for now... not exactly sure how I'll use them yet. 

Just to the left of my door is this cabinet. It also locks. I think this is where I'll keep personal things like lady products and snacks and extra clothing for the days I have to sleep on a coworkers couch due to snow! :)

This is the wall to the right of my door. It's one big shelf with some bulletin boards and TONS of cabinets with shelves below. At the moment, they house my empty boxes because I have no idea what else to do with them. But they're nice, even if some of the doors are missing handles. 

This is the front of my room. That white board is a hot mess, even though you can't tell from the photo. It's all scratched up from years of use and has years-old tape residue all over it. I tried writing on it today, and nothing erased. This is where I plan to write my daily objectives... if I can get it in working condition. If anyone has tips in how to salvage this (should I just buy some dry erase paint and paint over it?), PLEASE SHARE! 

My desk area. Nothing really exciting here. But you can see my little window unit air conditioner. This shall be my lifesaver... no pun intended. The first thing I did was move my desk next to that baby. This girl does NOT enjoy being hot.

Same wall... as you can see, it's a giant window, which is great for natural light. And I'm super glad I get the morning sun instead of the afternoon because I'm told the classrooms across the hall get pretty toasty in the afternoons. 

And the back wall. I'm probably going to cover these white boards with posters because they're in the back of the room. I think I'll make this area my classroom library. It's kinda silly that I'm going to buy bookshelves when I have so much storage, but they really aren't good for books. I'm kinda hoping to get a futon or coach on Craigslist to put back here too (the room is plenty long enough) to make some comfy seating for my kiddos. 

Ok... that's all for now. I can't WAIT to turn this into the homey classroom I've been envisioning for weeks. If you have any suggestions for those white boards or how to use all that extra storage, please share!!