Saturday, August 20, 2011

Getting Started

I've never kept a blog before, and now I'm going to try to keep two. This should prove to be interesting. This blog is my second. The first is on my teacher website, also a first. I thought the blog would be nice for parents to read about my classroom and the learning that takes place there. I'm hoping the website helps me with communication between parents and students. On the website, I have placed my syllabus, weekly assignment sheets, assignments, and a calendar of deadlines.

So what am I going to write about here? Everything else that happens in my so called life.

This week I've been spending much of my time getting ready for the start of school. Obviously, I created a website. I've also been working on my lesson plans for the first couple of weeks. I don't like to plan too far ahead because you never know what's going to happen in the learning process. My classroom is moving along nicely. Each day I work on a different area of the room. Yesterday, I spent my time organizing materials, cleaning out and organizing my cabinet, hanging posters and pictures, and setting up my desk. The pictures and posters on my walls have inspirational messages, plus some posters have information about proofreading. There's plenty of space for students to add their own work. I'll post some photos of my classroom soon.

I should say that this year I'm on the Ninth Grade Team. This is a new concept at our high school. We spent much of last year being trained on how to team teach. This summer the team met twice a month to plan for our first year. This is only my second year teaching freshmen; I had always taught juniors. But when my principal asked me to be on the Ninth Grade Team, I accepted. I enjoyed working with the freshmen class last year, and I look forward to meeting my new kiddos in about a week.

I constantly look for ideas to improve my classroom, and I found some on a blog called "e, myself, and I". Here's one of e's ideas that I'm going to try this year. Elizabeth, or e as she calls herself, has an area in her room with a table, and on top of the table there is a cork board leaning against the wall. On the cork board, she attaches her weekly assignments for her classes. Students can check here to see what is coming up for the week as far as classroom work, homework, quizzes, or tests. I like this idea! I used to post my weekly assignment sheets outside my front door. But then students would get congested trying to come into the room. In addition to e's idea, I'm placing my weekly assignment sheets on the website. I've found I can never have assignments posted in enough places.

On the table e placed a hanging file system. Each file is marked according to class period. When students are absent, she writes their names on any of the work they missed from that day and places it in the hanging file for their class period. Once again, I have also posted my assignments on the website so if students are absent they can see and even download their work. The last thing that she did was to keep her attendance on the table so when she did mark students absent, she also wrote down in a column provided the work that they missed for that day. She also places a mark in her grade book indicating an absence and work that needs to be completed.

One more thing I decided to do different this year was to use a plastic drawer system on wheels to hold classroom materials. On top of this, I've placed a smaller plastic container with three drawers. In the large container I've placed notebook paper, note cards, construction paper, crayons, markers, and colored pencils, and the last drawer holds scissors and glue sticks. The smaller container holds pens, pencils, and hi liters. Both containers will be placed next to the table and cork board. Students may borrow any of these items if they need them. They only have to leave their shoe for collateral.

It's nice to find others blogging about things of interest or things that can be of use to me.

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