Showing posts from August, 2014

Creating a Classroom You Love, Part III: Hello, Walls

If you’re just joining me, you can read Part I  and Part II  by clicking on the links.  First of all, if you got the Faron Young reference in the title, you rock.  Secondly, you know that part in the movie Steel Magnolias , where Julia Roberts says, "Pink is my sig-nuh-tcha color?" And anything that would stand still in the church got pink bunting wrapped around it?  And when the doors of the church are opened it looked like someone had poured Pepto Bismal everywhere?  You need a visual?  Okay, here’s the pic: Yeah-don’t do that.  To your walls.  Please.  Pretty please.  With sugar on top. Like Shelby, you may think it looks dahlin’ to have every square inch covered, but…it can be more of a hinderance than a help. Walls are such a big deal.  Done right, they truly help maximize learning.  They can serve as a way to display celebrations, dismissal, calendar, word wall, question/concept board, outcomes, word walls, anchor charts, center info, number lines and even more.  Done p

We Know About Labor

Today, I had a surprise walk-through observation. At 2:00 p.m. On a Friday. And because we had just finished a math assessment, we were watching Reading Rainbow. And eating Fruit Loops. But please don't mistake us for slacking off. One of my students was fast asleep-with her pencil still in her hand, poised in the writing position. Should you more evidence that kindergarten is rigorous, check out the photo below.  Upon discussion of what a good citizen looks like, the sweetest child in my class had us scribe this: And with that pic, I wish you and yours a very happy Three Day Weekend! Labor Day!

Creating a Classroom You Love, Part II: Pruning

For me personally, when I tackle the thought of setting up (or taking down) a classroom, it’s déjà vu all over again.  Words just cannot express this emotion accurately.  However, music speaks when the heart has no words.  This song accurately summarizes my feelings: Can you relate?  So this post is all about evaluating the state of your classroom.  It all begins by having an honest convo with yourself.  Ask yourself, “When was the last time I used it?  Will it benefit me this year?  Or it be more beneficial to someone else?” Then act accordingly.  If you aren’t going to use it, lend it, store it (only if you're absolutely certain you  will  use it again-not  can  use it again) or trash it. And believe you me, I know how agonizing that can be. To prove I that statement, here's my career trajectory: kindergarten, 5th grade, 4th grade, 4 th  grade, 1 st  grade, 2 nd  grade, K-1 split (a multi-grade classroom with both Ks and 1s), 3rd grade, 1-2 split (another multi-grade), kinder

Creating a Classroom You Love, Part I: Back to the Drawing Board

Here’s something you didn't know about me: I love Tina Fey. I had more than my fill of doctors’ offices, emergency rooms (in the Harrodsburg ER I asked them to change the waiting room channel to the UK game as I  paced around massaging my kidney infection), and diagnostic offices  last year, which correlates to lots of waiting times.  And lots of magazines.  One of them featured a Tina Fey interview. She was talking about her apartment in New York and she said her boss had told her she needed to decorate her home lavishly.  She explained, “He told me when I open my front door I need to be like, ‘Wow…whose house is this? Somebody important must live here because look at all this.  Having a home like that reminds you why you work.” (Okay, so it’s not an exact quote.  Probably not even in the ball park but you get the idea.) That sentiment of “Wow…this is mine?” has struck a chord with me.  I’m moving classrooms which means everything had to be taken down-which was a lot.  (I told our