Thursday, July 22, 2010

Reality Strikes

This is my reality...a classroom in disarray. I woke up this morning and decided that I should go ahead and get started on putting my classroom together. The above picture is what it looked like when I walked in. I wanted to just calmly shut the door and walk briskly (we don't run in the halls at school) back down the hallway, out the door, and get back in my car. I could have slipped right back out because I was the only crazy teacher on my hallway wanting to tackle such a daunting task. Not only did I see this crazy mess when I walked in, my classroom was also a cool 81 degrees. What fun, what fun!

I said to myself, "Self, do you really want to do this today?"

Myself replied, "Yes, once it's done, it's done."

So I went to work moving desks, chairs, computers, books, etc., etc., etc. The moving was NOT fun, especially since I was sweating. Joy...Joy!

As the time ticked by, the room really started to come together. I put the desks in groups of four first. Then, I put the teepee up in the reading center with a computer for AR and a place to add incentive charts later. This area is a big hit with my students every year. They love some teepee reading!!

My Mom helped me make the teepee my first year of teaching. It is made out of PVC pipe, craft wire, and wooden beads. She used a teepee pattern to sew the cover. I bought some floor pillows to put inside so it would be a cozy, comfortable place to sit and read. The camo netting was added later, after my husband visited the class for Veteran's Day.

Next, I was ready to put the writing center together.

I love, love, love this area. This is where the Writing Process can be seen in action. My students use the bubble map pocket chart to show me where they are in the process. They each have a card with their name on it, and they place it in the correct spot to let me know where they are in the process. This helps me keep up with where everyone is when I conference. It also helps me focus on those children who aren't moving and need my help.

I found the cubbies at Old Time Pottery for $5 each last summer. They are actually closet organizers. I took three pair and hooked them together. This is where editing materials, dictionaries, writing prompt cubes, pencils, journals, and Writer's Handbooks are housed. My students know where to find everything when they are working independently on a piece of writing, so I can focus on one student at a time. There is also and Editor's Checklist, State Writing Rubric, and posters for the six writing traits posted in this area. The "Umbrella Table" is a place where the students can write during independent writing time.

Next, enter SUPERNERD (that's me) to get the Technology Center ready!!! Oh how I absolutely love technology, or in the case of the computers in my classroom: Archaeology. I was ready to hook up some wires, climb under a table, and welcome the World Wide Web back into my classroom.

I can't wait to implement some new technology tools this year. My students are going to be blogging, social networking, emailing, skyping, typing, and much more. Yes, I did say social networking!! We will be using as a communication tool inside and outside of the classroom. It is like a private Facebook for the classroom. I can't wait to try it out with my students and parents this year. My students will also publish writing on our class blog here. I hope to use my new Hue Hd to Skype with another third grade class. I know that my students will be learning with technology every single day in my room!!! Woot really makes me want to sing!

The last order of business was to organize the classroom library.

All of the storage containers came from Dollar Tree. Since I teach third grade, I have an assortment of picture books and chapter books. I use the larger bins for picture books and the smaller ones for the chapter books. A few years ago, I found some labels another teacher had made, here. I used shipping labels to print them on, and then I stuck them to the bins. They have been there for three years now, and they still look great!

So after a few hours of hot and sweaty work, I was finally finished. I was so happy to get it all done in one day! I thanked myself for talking me into it, then I took some final pictures.

Oh yes, I failed to mention the Promethean Board during my technology speech. Oh how I love her!!! She helps me keep my students actively engaged, she takes us around the world (Google Earth), and she helps me teach using...well you know...the T word.

Now my reality is that I don't have to work on this room for the rest of the summer. I can work on the rest of the beginning of the school year stuff right at home in my air conditioned office. I might also get a few more projects finished before school starts. Awesome Sauce!


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Mrs. Teachnology
I am a National Board Certified teacher in the great state of South Carolina. I am currently an Instructional Coach for a wonderful elementary school. I taught third grade for seven years and first grade for one year. I love everything having to do with technology, and I am excited to share my ideas with fellow teachers.
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