Thursday, December 14, 2017

Teacher - You REALLY DO know what you're doing!

I'm here today to remind you of that.

Yes, YOU!

I'm getting ready to make sure you remember that you...

1.  Went to college and spent a lot of years studying to do what you do best - TEACH

2.  Have probably wanted to be a teacher since before you hit puberty - I know all about those stuffed animals you spent hours "teaching".  You started honing your craft long, long ago!

3. Might have tried a different profession and realized it wasn't for you and made a VERY conscious decision to become a teacher.  You worked your butt off to get yourself there.  You have tenacity and grit - and know exactly what's what!

4.  You spend hours upon hours on social media...
Watching Facebook Lives about guided reading
Watching Insta-stories and taking notes
Pinning anything and everything "teacher"

5.  Talk shop with all of your teacher friends - yes, we run in a tight circle, and we pretty much "talk teaching" whatever chance we get.  

So, despite what mutterings you hear from whoever you might hear them from, 
you REALLY DO know what you're doing.

I know you might doubt yourself.

I know you might question if you are reaching ALL of your students.

I know you might think that teacher over there is a rockstar and you aren't.

But I want you to listen and I want you to listen good.

All of that self doubt that you let creep in.

That, that right there.

That is your clue that YOU are the best darn teacher out there.


Because it shows how much you care.

It shows how much you care about whether or not you REALLY DO know what you are doing.

And you do.

And that's a fact.

Rock on!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Classroom Setup in First Grade

Hi Folks!

So, I've been thinking a little bit about classroom setup.  One thing you MUST know, right out the gate, is I am no Chip or Joanna Gaines...I set up a "cute enough", highly functional, fairly comfortable, exudes love, kinda classroom.  I choose the theme "colorful" every. single. year. because - c'mon - it works {for me}!

I am one of those people that walks into my classroom and I set it up almost identical to how I set it up the year before {then I tweak}.  Occasionally I'll do a major overhaul and just go crazy and put almost everything in a different spot...but mostly, I just stick with what works.

I can set up my classroom in no time...I work up a sweat though! Good golly do I work up a sweat.  I get into school, do the obvious hugging and chatting that one has to do when they haven't seen their colleagues in a few months and then I'm in it...I mean, you better not walk in front of me because it's likely I'll just plow you down because I'm doin'.

Typically, I start with my furniture. I like to get things just where I want them.  If I'm really lucky, the custodians will understand my weak, weak map of where I want things to go...but I must be a horrible map maker because rarely is my furniture even remotely where I thought I told them I wanted it.  

So, yeah, I'm that person that you hear squeaking their tables across the newly waxed floors.  Don't worry, I cringe too and I feel really really guilty - and at first, I DO try to be ever so gentle but then I just gotta get things done so I move things with a little more gusto.  

Once my furniture is where I want it - I use my tables as different command centers.  I start pulling all the stuff out of the cabinets that I basically just crammed into them at the end of the school year. {Like the furniture placement - I start the take down process with care and precision and then I throw in the towel and just start cramming}.  Anyway, one table will hold my electronics, another table baskets, another table "decor" get the idea.

Then I just start working on each at a time until they are each empty.

After that, I like to work on my bulletin boards.  This year I decided that the green that they "came with" was actually very calming and not too shabby looking so I decided to opt for just borders.  I don't know...that might sound lazy. Yeah, it really does sound lazy - especially when I think about the cool papers that look like bricks or boards.  Hmmm - well, when I made the decision it didn't feel like a lazy one.  So, I did it and asked my friends what they thought, and they said it was "genius" and it "looked great" but now I'm hoping they weren't just being nice.

By now, the furniture has been rearranged, decor and tchotchke has been tackled, my tables are empty and my bulletin boards are all put up. 

Next comes odds and ends, miscellaneous "stuff".  This is what takes me FOREVER.

Now it's time to label all the things, print all the things, laminate all the things, organize all the things, fine tune all the things, rearrange all the things. THIS can take me DAYS.  


If I can answer the question "Could your kiddos walk in tomorrow and be none-the-wiser" with "yup, I guess"....I feel like I'm in good shape and my anxiety level goes wayyyyyy down.

I think I wanted to write this post to help new teachers, experienced teachers, any teachers that might feel overwhelmed by the idea of putting together a classroom understand that it can be what you want it to be.  It can be months of work, it can be weeks of work, or simply days.  Whatever it is - just enjoy it and feel really good about it!!!

Happy new school year!  Enjoy your students...

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