It's been a crazy year! I've had 3 surgeries on my knees. The last one was total knee replacement on June 20th, so I'm hoping I will now be able to get back to my old life -- before I hurt absolutely ALL the time.
But, guess what? Life goes on! We have our first teacher workday on the 13th + meetings + etc. to follow. The students come back on the 16th, and I have to confess, I am totally excited about getting back into the swing of things!!!! Anyone who knows me knows I am a self-professed nerd who loves school and teaching and students and . . . well, I guess you get the point!
I am ready to get on ProTeacher boards to see what people are planning for the new year.
Life goes on . . . . and things keep on changing. I pretty much like things to stay the same because I am not so comfortable with change. Let me just stop to think of some of the changes I'll face.
**A couple of teachers have moved on and a couple of new teahcers will be joining our faculty.
**New assistant principal .
**New beginning and ending times for our elementary school day
**New communication arts basal series (I have NEVER used a basal. Most recently, I've used a Writer's and Reader's Workshop approach based on research by Fountas and Pinnell.)
**New common quarterly assessments which will take away much of the choice and flexibility teachers used to have concerning decisions about instruction (especially in math)
Those are some of the changes I know about right now. I'm almost afraid to check my email for fear of finding out about even more changes.
Well, now having said all that, I'll say this.
**I am excited to see my students and get the year started!
**I am anxious to get into the basal to see how it works, so I can figure out how I can keep Independent Reading going as we do all the required "book stuff."
**I can't wait to get into my classroom, so I can get it all ready for my students. I always try to make some big changes in arrangement since I have the same kids back again. I want it to be their new 5th-grade classroom and not just their old 4th-grade room.
**I am also anxious to see how much energy and stamina I'll have using my new knee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm hoping for a much more pain-free year.
Wow! I'm going to have to stop. I am getting myself all worked up. I may never get to sleep tonight just thinking about everything I want (and need) to do before my students come back.
Hi J.Elaine!!! I missed you! I am so sorry to hear about your knee . I hope it heals quickly so you can get back to your regular life!
Your blog sounds like the same old J.Elaine I know, though! Gosh I hope you can retain some of your old reader's workshop style of teaching- you were so good at it, and it's so important.
Next year I'm looping like you, so I'm struggling with trying to change my room look a little. I felt so put on the spot at hte end of the year when one child said (in the sharing circle)- "I'm so excited because next year our room is going to be so different!" And the others were like, "Yeeeeeah!" I can only do so much!! !
I love it when students start getting excited about coming back again the next year, but you are right that you can only do so much when it comes to changing the room. I usually make my changes after 4th and before 5th. Then I pretty much leave it the same after 5th for my new 4th graders. That way, I really only need 2 basic plans for changing.
My 4th-grade students helped me make some of the changes at the end of last year. We moved our literature book shelves (5 of them) from the front of the room to the side. I moved two smaller bookshelves - that hold our science/social studies trade books - from the side to the front. I have a SmartBoard in the back of the room, so I made a little laptop nook using a couple of small bookshelves and a trapezoid table to use back there. I moved my desk from the back to the front/side of the room (by a window with a view of a rose garden across the street!!!).
Of course, using the basal will be a big change for them, and our schedule has changed. I'll also have some different things on the bulletin boards, but that's pretty much it. I wish I could add some extra square footage to my room -- ha! ha! Do we ever have enough space? The room stays the same size, and the students grow majorly between 4th and 5th grade!!!!!!!!!! How about your little ones? Is your loop 1st-2nd?
Yes- first to second. The helped me at the end of the year reorganize the books. (There is a huge difference in the kinds of books that need to be more prominent in the two grades) We changed our theme from the clubhouse, to home sweet home. I was thinking about inviting them in for an hour or so one afternoon in the summer (informally) to hlep with some set up stuff, but I don't know if my principal would go for it. I'm sure there's some kind of liability thing I'm not seeing.
We've been missing you! Glad to hear that you are feeling better and have a stronger knee. My DH is just beginning his "path" of figuring out how to deal with his knee--first visit to orthopedic drs this week.
Wow, you had some of the same changes that we're facing at our school--several new teachers, loss of my best friend teacher due to cancer (first fall without her), new ap, new basal, etc. etc. etc. Several negatives are already creeping into our school before we even begin! YUK! Have to think positives, don't we?
I think inviting your students in for an informal hour or two is a terrific idea. Do it! I had students come one summer to help alphabetize our lit books, and we ordered pizza and had a ball. Now, the books didn't actually get alphabetized, but we had a great time.
You know what? I didn't even think of the liability side of things, but the assistant superintendent of our school district's daughter was in my class and in the group who came to sort books!!!!! The only thing he mentioned when he came up to the room to pick her up was how the room had been reduced to utter chaos. He wanted to know what happened with getting things all organized and all ready for school!!!!!!!!!! Of course he was joking, but he was right. We had 26 piles of books strung out all over the room!
I have some books we consider 4th grade that we take off the shelves and some that are more 5th gradish that put out for 5th grade. Students need some new titles to catch their interest even if they don't choose to read them right away. I can imagine that 2nd grade reading books would look way different than the ones you offered in 1st grade. Did you school allow you some monies to purchase some extra materials? If not, how did you acquire the new books?
Later . . .
I'm hoping I can visit PT more often. Changes -- you gotta' love 'em!!!!!!
OK-- I'll approach my principal and see what he says . I like your idea of actually providing food! That oughta help!
Actually, the 2nd grade books are so different b/c in first, the more prominent books had tons of picture support- their daily diet included songs, ABC books, rhyming books, favorite authors, etc.. Now, though, I moved a lot of those to the background and spotlighted all of the many series they were just becoming capable of reading at the end of the year. Not that picture books aren't still important, but the types of picture books has changed. Organizing the chapter books in a logical way for them was this summer's challenge. My school didn't give me money-- but our school doesn't really give money for something like that. Our curriculum is basal and so they figure that giving me a basal will do it. Luckily, I taught 2nd before and began collecting then, so it's not too bad.
I have been missing you and your great input on this site. It is great to have you back with us and in your wonderful spirits. I know you will attack all those changes with your energy and it will be fine. I think that is one of the best things about our job, it is definately not stagnant! Welcome back, dear friend!
I've missed hearing from you, too. The last couple of things I did related to PT was reply to several of your email messages. I'm glad to be back. I know the changes will all work themselves out.
BUT . . . I'm thinking about this way. After awhile the changes will become the norm, and along will come the big guys with the next big changes! Aaarrrrrghhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!! Then, guess what? I'll be back here blogging away and hoping someone will be be here to offer advice and support.
Thanks, Judy, for your words of encouragement! You are so right about this job. It's never stagnant!!!!!!!! Keeps us young????????