Friday, August 9, 2013

Bookshelves and organizing

So I never blog, but I've been reading a lot of blogs recently, so I thought I'd try again.

I've been kind of going overboard with how much time I've spent in my classroom this week, but I blame it on getting new bookshelves and having to re-arrange and reorganize. Getting new bookshelves was a definite high-point! I have a lot of books in my classroom library. Like...lots. Like....close to 4,000. Yeah, I know, I have a problem. But it is a problem I really love! In recent years, my chapter books have resided on three double-sided rolling carts. While they are awesome, they take up a lot of floor space, which was frustrating. Through a series of circumstances, I was encouraged to request the installation of some library shelving from my previous (and much-missed) school, which was closed due to budget cuts a few years ago.  The shelves in the library had been custom-designed and built for the library - solid oak - and they are beautiful. I was so excited to get two sections to have in my current classroom! 

I realized pretty quickly that not all of my chapter books were going to fit on these beautiful shelves, however. Sigh. So I put on my big-girl panties and started weeding through the books.  I took any duplicates and put them in a separate place, so they are still accessible in case more than one student wants to read the same book, or if two (or three...or four...) students want to read a book together. I also pulled some books to donate to the school book giveaway.  Hopefully they will go to good homes!

So these are the awesome shelves! I love them! 

I will post some more pictures of my classroom tomorrow.  The book area looks pretty good, but a lot of the room looks like it has been ravaged by a tornado.  I just couldn't face the mess today, so I stayed home, but I really have to get on the ball tomorrow.  I want to have everything put away, curtains up, and desk organized tomorrow. And maybe, if I get really inspired, I can get the bulletin boards and walls decorated, too! 


Friday, May 11, 2012

Finally Friday

My first week of student teaching, my mentor teacher told me that no one appreciates Fridays the way a teacher does.  I have come to believe that even more firmly since that day more than 15 years ago.  Fridays at each end of the school year are even more appreciated!

This week really has been so fast and furious that it is kind of difficult to process. One of the favorite events of the year for the kids in the intermediate grades is the track meet. All the third, fourth, and fifth graders go to the track at the local university and participate in track and field events. Everyone at the school is involved in one way or another and it is really fun, even if you are in the stands. The atmosphere is really nice. The kids cheer for their friends, they cheer for the stragglers, and everyone gets a ribbon!  The down-side to this event is that it is held in the middle of the day and lasts for about 4 hours. This wouldn't be so bad except that it is hot and about 75% of the people there leave with a sunburn.  I will pat myself on the back because this year, for the first time ever, I managed to leave with minimal sunburn! I got a burn along the part in my hair and just a slight pinkness on my chest and the top of one knee that was gone by this morning. Considering that there have been years that I have left, able to glow in the dark, I counted this as a massive success!

The effect of track meet always continues into the next day. The kids come to school tired, sore, and sunburned. Several of my kiddos also had to play in ball games yesterday evening, so they were double-hit and double-exhausted.  So what is a teacher to do? Call for a reading marathon! Now that is a great way to spend a day! The kids bring blankets or pillows, wear comfy clothes, and a stack of books. We read by ourselves, with a buddy, and I read to them, too.  Time usually flies, and we have a chance to read deeply, which is hard to do at school. After everyone got settled, I put the thousand and three things I have to do aside, and I read, too.  It was terrific! Several kids were able to finish books they'd been working on reading for a while, and many of them shared with me and with their classmates about what they'd been reading. And everyone agreed that it was a great way to spend the day after the track meet.  :)

Another fun little interlude today was the graduation ceremony for the four-year-olds in the Pre-K classes. They have been our little buddies at recess this year, and we will miss them so much when the Pre-K classes are moved to another building next year.  Just so you know, four-year-olds totally crack me up.  I love hanging out with them at recess or greeting them in the hall, but I would probably lose my mind if I had to spend the entire day with a whole group of them.  The cuteness factor of the graduation ceremony was really off the charts! They stood on risers and waved to their families and fifth grade buddies. They sang cute songs and wore cute graduation caps made of construction paper.  Their names were called and they got a certificate and....the best part...the teacher told the audience what the child wants to be when he/she grows up!  Oh, so adorable! There were lots of policemen and firefighters in the crowd, of course, one teacher, a few mommies, one daddy.  Then, there were a few that were a little more unique and somewhat hysterical:
  • spy
  • environmentalist
  • a big boy
  • a "dinosaur digger"  (yes, that was the exact terminology - I adore that!)
  • nail technician (really this is only funny because I know the child - very blingy - and I know the mom - not at all blingy)
  • Buzz Lightyear
Can you believe those? I adore it! That would be cute to have on record each year for a child - what they want to be when they grow up. Maybe I ought to have my fifth graders do something along those lines next week.  Hmmmm...

Next week is the last full week of school. And, yes, you probably did hear me cheer at that thought.  What that means, though, is that next week is going to be incredibly challenging. Two field trips and a "fun day" help, but that still leaves two days to get through! Wish me luck - I'm going to need it!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

End of Year Madness

So will I ever become a more regular blogger? Somehow, it doesn't look promising. Maybe I can get more into the habit this summer. I need to find an app so I can do it on my iPad - that might make it easier.

So right now, my life seems to be all about school since it is the end of the year. Life outside of school doesn't really seem to exist because school is just too big right now.  The end of the school year is heading toward me like a freight train, and I am working hard to survive being plowed down.

The end of the year in a classroom requires a balancing act that is difficult to achieve. You can't just stop because school is almost over.  You have 24 friends in your classroom who will completely go wild if you don't give them something productive to do.  You can't resort to busy work because that will just not keep them occupied.  So you try to do some "fun" things that are still learning oriented, in the hopes that it will be productive and keep the friends occupied.

That has been our challenge for the day.  Today in my classroom, the fifth graders worked on our bio-engineering project. We have done bio-e in bits and drabs all year, and today we dove head-first into the final project. Chaos? To say the least. Fun? You bet. Learning-oriented? Absolutely!  And it has kept us busy all day long.  Fantastic way to spend a day at the end of the year.  Perhaps more blogging on that later when it is not my lunchtime and I have time to write about it.