Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Forgot How Overwhelming the First Day Back Can Be

In my mind, there's nothing more exciting than walking back in to the school building for the first time since getting out for summer.  The freshly waxed floors, the empty bulletin boards, the smell of fresh paint.  It's like a blank slate, ready for a new adventure to begin.

I always feel the exact same way about my classroom.  Well, that is until I actually walk in to my classroom.  Up until that point, my head has buzzed with exciting ideas I want to do to kick off a new school year, but then when I walk in I am faced with one very daunting realization:  I have only one week to unpack the masses of piles strewn all over the room, and have it ready for kids to walk in to.  

All the fun ideas and the creative wonders I want to put in to place completely dissipate the minute I come face to face with the realization that my room is filled with boxes and tubs and piles of furniture that need to be unpacked and organized before I can even begin to think about anything else.  It's kinda like sticking a pin into a balloon and watching the air slowly fizzle out.  

But, despite the very deflated feeling I felt walking in to my classroom for the first time yesterday, I didn't let it stop me from at least having a quick attempt at doing some creative stuff before I started tackling the never ending boxes and tubs.  Where did all that junk come from anyway?

My first project was putting up the big bulletin board I have in my classroom.  For the past two years, it's been a wall that I display student work.  Nothing fancy, just a few clips hot glued on to some bulletin board paper.   I was tired of that.  I wanted it to be interactive, I wanted it to be colorful and appealing.  So, I decided to transform the bulletin board in to an underwater reading adventure.  Or in other words, the board that will display student reading growth.

Each year, I've had a little chart that documents the student's reading growth.  It shows when they have reached a certain level of their quarterly reading goal.  This year, I wanted to make it something that the kids wanted to use, wanted to proudly display... so I got to searching through my bulletin board packets and found a very cute Under the Sea theme.  It says "Diving in to..." and then has a variety of sea creatures.  I will take a picture today to share with you tomorrow.  It's cute.  Each student will have their own sea creature that they will move up each time they achieve a percentage of their individual reading goal.  Fifty percent is the Dolphin Level, seventy-five percent is the Killer Whale Level, and one hundred percent is designated with a treasure box.  Once the kids make it to the treasure box, a prize awaits them.

I really want reading to be a big deal this year.  Last year, I just didn't really have many "readers", or kids that enjoyed reading.  This year, I plan on really diving in to (HA!) individualized and group reading. I  plan on coming up with several projects that the kids will do with the books they read.  And that's where all the tubs come in.  At the end of the school year, I inherited SEVERAL tubs full to the brim of books.  Or should I say, sets of books?  Guided reading, group reading, and class sets of books.  With the idea that they would become a big part of my reading curriculum this year.  Of course, the idea was great when I just had to stack the tubs up for the summer, but now that I am unpacking my room and figuring out what to do with everything... I'm a little unsure where I'm going to store them all.  But, I'll deal with that when the time comes.  

Anywho, I spent a few hours in my room getting the bulletin board up, sorting through a few things, and getting my desks all set up where they need to be.  This year, I'm going with a horseshoe set up, and in the middle is my horseshoe table.  That way I can be working with students in the middle of the room at all times.  And that's about all I got done in those few hours.  

Today, I'm going back for another couple of hours this morning, and my goal is to unpack.  Nothing else, but unpack.  Unpack my desk, unpack all the student cubbies (that are full of stuff), and unpack the supply table.  Tomorrow I hope to start sorting the books in to some form of manageable system.  Thursday, it will be more unpacking and organizing, and hopefully by Friday my room will just about be ready.  Fingers crossed.

But, if I plan on getting anything done today, then I better go and get ready.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone!!  


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