Saturday, June 27, 2015

Evidence of Summer Work


This is/was the prop closet in my new classroom. 
Organization makes me happy. 

P.S. Three full days of work. *sigh

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Weekly Schedule Board

I live four blocks from school. When I have a couple of free hours and I am tired of reading (rarely!), I run down to school to work for a couple of hours. Yesterday, I worked on a place to put the schedule for the three new preps I am teaching next year. (Washi tape and letters taped with double-sided tape to the non-magnetic board. With a magnetic board, I use the same tape but then the adhesive-backed magnets for the letters.)
This negates the need for the students to ask, "What are we doing today?" They always know.  (This board still needs the days of the week added along the side. I'm working on that.)

Maybe a bigger problem than students asking that question was that after I answered it 10 times, my smart mouth would start making up "creative" answers: swinging from the lights, nothing, just looking at each other, taking naps, coloring, etc. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summertime Teachers

Tiny Town doesn't have summer school. If they did, I would probably be teaching it. Instead, I am channelling my teaching skills in other ways.

I have been filing, storing, and trashing paperwork that I have been storing too long in my daughters' bedrooms. Unlike teaching, I boxed up what was left and delivered it to my daughters' homes. I'm sure they were thrilled.

At the end of the school year, I was cleaning out cupboards and closets for the teacher who is teaching in the room next year.  At home, I cleaned out closets and cupboards for my own benefit.  My husband was surprised to see there was a floor in one closet. It was pretty awful prior to the cleaning.

For my new classroom, I cleaned and weeded out things that I wouldn't need.  I gave quite a bit to the art teacher.  At home, I sold quite a few furniture pieces and household goods on a garage sale. Things were priced to go--and they did. Both places are now a bit emptier, and I like that. (Clutter makes me tense.)

I'm still getting up early to walk, though it is 5:30 in the summer and 4:30 during the school year. Unfortunately for them, people can see me walk in the summer-- rolling out of bed and out the door means no makeup or hair combing. It isn't pretty, but no one knows during the school year when it is too dark to see.

At home there is a stack of books on the table beside my chair and another on the dining room table. At school the stacks are always on the counter or a back table. There is always something that needs reading or grading. Piles--there are always piles.

I'm so used to schedules, that I schedule in the summer, too: appointments, vacations, lunches with friends, even hikes at a different trail every week. Yes. I admit it. Just like at school, I have been researching trails, too. Success is always in the planning. It works at school, so I figure it works at home, too.

In the summer I've been known to shush people in movie theaters, caution kids about running at the pool, and stare down an elevator full of teenagers who have pushed the button for every floor.  (Not all of my skills are appreciated, I'm sure!)

Teachers are teachers are teachers- whether we are in school or not. Is it in the DNA?

Monday, June 1, 2015

DIY Lesson Plan Book

We have an in-school printing business; however, I'm sure any copy center could put your lesson plan book together for you.

One colleague formats every page of her book and sends it to our printing business.  I did that last year, but this year I sketched a general idea of what I was looking for, and one of the students developed the pages for me.  I tweaked a few things, changed a few things completely, and told her what I wanted for a cover.  She did a great job and even thought of a few things I hadn't.

The juniors and seniors enrolled in the classes for this printing business do some incredible work under the eye of an outstanding young colleague.  She is super organized, super detail oriented, and super insistent that her students produce quality work.  (And yes, she really is Super Woman!)

Anyway, this is next year's lesson plan book.
I loved the sticky note book from last year, but I switched from card stock pages to a heavy weight paper.  (Not so bulky!) The printing class even has a paper cutter that will cut through an entire pad of sticky notes, so they cut the English class (green) notes to fit my pages. The Speech, Drama, and Forensic notes come in the size I need.
Now, you might be wondering why sticky notes? I like the fact that I can peel them off and stick them to my clipboard and then return them to the page at the end of the day. (My clipboard is my brain.) I love that when our schedule changes, I just have to pull up the note and attach it to a different date. And I especially love being able to write underneath the note if I run out of room or have things I want to remember about that day's lesson.
I handwrite the dates on the weeks of my book.  They could type them in for me, but I knew that made quite a bit more work and wasn't a big deal to me.  I did ask them to put in blank pages to separate the months.  I will add the school calendar for that month. (I reduce the size of the month and glue it in.) The rest of it I use for notes to myself. (Things I don't want to forget, standards that need to be evaluated again, or a student I want to keep an eye on.)
Finally, every month in the Notes column, I had a reminder added to check on my advisory students and how they were doing in classes.  (Something, I frequently forgot to do this past year.)  And I'm sure in another year, I will have several other reminders that I will be adding in the notes columns.
And that's it.  I don't add the sticky notes very far out--usually, just a month at a time.  It keeps me from wrinkling them before the week arrives. (My computer bag gives the book a bit of a work out.) I am going to see if I can get the cover laminated at the beginning of school.  The business kids tell me that adding something or changing something (like the cover), even in the middle of the year, is a snap.

Oh, and you might be wondering about the initials: R W S L on the English page.  That is to remind me that my sophomore English students should be involved in productive reading, writing, speaking, and listening in class- every single day.  (Emphasis on the word productive!)