Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Soon to Be FIRST Giveaway and a Link Up!

I am loving reading everyone's posts linking up to "Another One Bites the Dust. . ." I decided to link up and be honest :) 
The rules are simple: 
1. Grab the linky graphic
2. Link back to this post
3. List three things that were great about this school year
4. List three things that were not so great about this school year

The Great 3
1. My getting completely rid of my teach desk and my desk supply organization. It took me awhile to realize the SUPER DUPER UTTER IMPORTANCE of being organized as a teacher. Not just in the little things or visible things but in everything! 

I use my small group table as my desk when I need to grade or work on something. Otherwise it is used for small groups and conferring with students. Below are some more close up pictures of my desk organization. You can read about it HERE.

2. My labeling system. That may seem really simple to all of you but it has changed the atmosphere of my classroom. Everything is labeled using the same label I just change the size and text. It lets my students know where things are and what is accessible to them. I have discovered it gives my students more ownership of our classroom. If you look at the pictures above you can see all my labeling . . . you can see more in this post and this one or this one
3. Getting down to my kids level. As a first year teacher I wasn't quite sure what my second grade sweets would be like. I wasn't sure exactly where they would be developmentally (certainly not from experience ~ a little bit from books). I wasn't certain entirely what I should be. Did I need to be more formal or less formal, more struct or less strict, workbook driven or content objectives driven, etc. . . The list could go on. The best thing that happened to me was talking to one of the administrators and having her tell me to let loose and have fun learning. She told me if I made a mistake a could simply say "Ooops" and change. It changed my teaching style. I was having tons of fun teaching my sweets. We were learning content in creative ways. If you walked in my room (still now) you are almost sure to hear talking in inside, six inch, voices. I hope that made sense to you all!

The Not-So-Great 3
1. Guided Reading . . . I have to chuckle because it seems to be a hot topic on everyone's Not-So-Great list. I also chuckle because my school doesn't require it. I truly do believe in it. Ultimately, I believe in small group instruction. I plan on finishing up Debbie Diller's Making the MOst of Small Group Differentiated Instruction for All. I also need to get my hands on a bit more diverse selection of leveled readers. The only set I have is the Above Level Readers from my Harcourt Trophies basal reader. 
2. Routines. . . If you are about to be a first year teacher and everyone is telling you to take the time during the first several weeks to focus on routines and procedures and less on curriculum you MUST listen. Trust me you can catch up on the curriculum. I am working on making a Classroom Procedures/Routines Binder. At the beginning of the school year we shall be going through them, one by one, over and over and over again. It will also be a wonderful tool for a sub.
3. My Classroom Library was semi-organized during the summer before my first year. I actually put in a TON of time organizing my classroom library. My biggest problem was that I simply didn't know the best way to organize my classroom library because I had never used it as a teaching tool in my own classroom. I'm in the middle of creating library bin labels. I've begun labeling and grouping my books by favorite series (My Weird School House, Junie B. Jones, etc.), favorite authors (Chris Van Dusen, Dr. Seuss, etc.) and the rest will be grouped by groups such as "Books About Marine Life."

Well if you've stuck with me this long you will also know. . . 
that I am OH SO CLOSE to 100 followers. When I get there I shall be doing a giveaway! A $25 gift certificate from Teachers Pay Teachers and a $20 gift card from Amazon. Those are my two FAVORITE places to get "teachery" things!Another One Bites the Dust


Amber P. said...

Thanks for linking up, because that means I found your super cute blog! I'm your newest follower.

I got rid of my teacher desk last year, and I am still trying to figure out the best way to be organized! haha!

Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher

luckeyfrog said...

Your organization is making me feel bad about the lack of organization in my room! But seriously... it looks GREAT! :)

Glad you shared, especially the photos!

Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

EmBellish said...

Your organization/labeling system is amazing! I love it. I need to join this linky party! Thanks for sharing.

Tangled with Teaching

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