One week from today, it will be the first day of school. Can you believe that? We are down to the final seven days of summer break, and then a brand new school year begins. Well, the kids are down to the final seven days, I officially go back on Monday.
I have been a very busy bee these past three days trying to get my classroom ready. Even though I have a full week left before students come, I start back at work on Monday with meetings and what-not so my room really needs to be ready this week.
One year, I will actually learn the secret in packing up my classroom at the end of the year so that it's an easy process to unpack it when the summer is over. Most of the other teachers can walk in to their room, and after a couple of hours they are ready to go. Me? Not so much.
At the end of the school year, I put stuff in any available place that will hold it. I cram up my storage closets, I fill the student cubbies, and I pack up boxes of stuff because nothing can be left out during the summer. So, when I need to get my classroom ready, I have to spend days unpacking everything. And I can't just unpack, I have to sort. There's nothing worse, in my mind, than starting out the school year with a cluttered mess. Everything has to have a place, and everything has to be organized.
Yesterday, I spent the entire afternoon going through tubs of books that I acquired at the end of the school year. I hadn't even opened the tubs before leaving the school for summer, I just piled up the tubs in a corner and left it at that. So, yesterday, I got all the books out and discovered that I have a plethora of guided reading books and reading group books for this school year. All different levels, all different topics. I even got creative and made up some tubs with the big project themes I'll be doing this year: Culture, America, and Animals. I also do a few small projects throughout the year, and they were all put in a tub together. I was also able to fill a tub full of chapter books that are either full class sets or group sets. That's a big deal to me, cause I love doing book studies.
Today, I need to go through the new books I have for my class library and enter all the AR information in to each book. I do this so that the kids know right away if the book is on their level, and then they can quickly enter the quiz number when it's time for them to test on the book. It's a tedious process, but it saves a lot of time throughout the year.
Other than that, I just need to get my desk all set up and clear up all the mess that's strewn around the room left over from sorting everything. It's a lot of busy work, stuff that I'm not good at. I feel like I just move stuff from one pile to a new pile without making much progress. But, I know I'll get it all done.. if all else fails, I'll be loading it all up and either trashing it or giving it away. If I don't have a use for it, then I don't need to keep it.
I'm still in that mindset where I hate to let anything go, just because I have a feeling the minute I give it up is the minute I'll figure out a use for it. But, I've made the decision that if I haven't used it in the two years I've been teaching, then it has to go.
I'm very proud with how not stressed I've been so far. We got our new schedules, and it will be quite different from last year. We have our new standards we'll be teaching. We have a whole new testing set-up that we'll be doing this year. (GOOD RIDDANCE, MAP TESTING!) But none of it has me worried. I figure I have two years under my belt at learning the ropes, I've got an amazing team, I have a fantastic administration... everything is going to be A-OK. I feel a lot more confident and comfortable with trying out some new stuff, I'll be integrating a lot of technology, and I'll really be focusing on student driven projects.
I'm so excited!!
But, if I'm going to finish my room today like I want, I better get to getting. The plan is to not work tomorrow and go shopping for a few things. The kids all need their back-to-school clothes and I need a few items for my classroom. Then, Saturday is the Back-to-School Block Party...that'll be fun.
Have a fantastic Thursday, everyone!!