Monday, 7 September 2015

We're ready! Happy first day of school!

Well it's back to school time. I've been planning, making lists, lessons, pinning ideas on amount of preparation can ever make me feel ready for back to school.

My classroom last Monday.
All it took was for me to walk into my classroom last week, that after much anticipation, I will be welcoming my new batch of learners tomorrow. I can't wait! I'm excited! Thankfully, I've been wrapping my head around many ideas over the past few months and the mess I saw when I first walked in was not as overwhelming as it has been in the past. I don't feel as much pressure anymore around perfect bulletin boards and prepared photocopies for the first week. All I had to do to make my classroom feel ready was organize the desks and count enough notebooks. Since I didn't stay late the last day of school, I did have to put things away and do a little bit of organizing.

Last year, we were supposed to get tables so I could replace our desks. Unfortunately, they didn't arrive and I'm going to start with desks in rows for at least the first week but eventually turn them around so they could be "tables." The only thing I could control is saying goodbye to the teacher's desk. Surprisingly not at all hard to let go of, it took two minutes to clean out and push out the door. My teacher area now looks like this.

As far as my lessons for the first week, I still haven't decided what our first read aloud will be (it's between Wonder or Out of My Mind) or the first about me art activity. I'm very tempted to put it to a vote, maybe I will, but the kids might appreciate at least the illusion that I'm well-planned and in control. Since there are two students in my class that I taught in Grade 5, I feel like I have to do brand new things. In order to establish rules, routines and procedures, we will be co-creating anchor charts during our Language blocks. New this year will be the "Learner's Notebook." Formerly the "Writer's Notebook" I may keep all my homeroom writing/reflections in that book.

As a mom who is sending an SK and a Grade 2 back to school tomorrow, to a brand new just-built elementary school, I'm confident they will be in good hands. There is so much anxiety this time of year from parents, kids, teachers (maybe it's just my house?) I wish everyone a great first day back.

The best advice I gave the brand new teacher downstairs last week is, there will always be something on your to do list, but you also want to not burn yourself out. As I embark on a challenging year in the class room (it's a 6/7, EQAO and confirmation!) with the biggest class size since my first year, plus I'm beginning my Masters of Ed this year to boot! I don't want to lose the wonderful things that are on my to-do list...but I will not be my worst critic should I not get to them.

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