Saturday, August 22, 2015

Scenes from our first week!

I've had the most wonderful first week at my new school! I'm over the moon excited about the kindergartners sitting in my classroom each day, and very inspired by the staff I get to work with. Change is scary! But not as scary as never getting out of your comfort zone, learning new things and meeting new challenges. 

We implement Staggered Start at most schools in my county, so my students came one day Monday-Wednesday, and then the whole class started full time on Thursday. Those first three days with only one third of the class are SO special to me. It gives the students a chance to meet a few new friends, get to know our classroom and school, and get comfortable with me. When they come back on Thursday, they already have some familiar faces to put them at ease. Walking into a new classroom with 17 unknown faces can be very intimidating! I love that I get the chance to get to know them in a small group setting and that we have time to do some very special activities that we otherwise wouldn't be able to do in a large group setting on the very first day. 

My Team has a special Gingerbread tradition that they do every year during staggered start. We read The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School, and then we decorate Gingerbread cookies. When we are all done decorating our cookies, our data processor comes around and collects them to take to the kitchen. She's going to warm them up for us so they'll be extra yummy.

While our cookies were warming up we quickly did our calendar  routine, then headed down to the cafeteria to pick up our cookies. 

We were in for a huge surprise! Our sweet cafeteria manager told us that a few minutes ago she heard the oven ding and when she went to take them out, a whole bunch of cookies jumped out of the oven, ran across the cafeteria and out the door!! Well, we just couldn't believe it! 

We searched the school high and low for those cookies! Our media specialist told us that they had ran through there a few minutes ago and that if we found them we should tell them to never, ever, run. 

They weren't in the art room, the music room, the clinic, or the science lab!! 

Finally, we decided we should tell our principal our problem, and maybe she could help us! It's a good thing we checked with her, she had a special gingerbread friend who said she thought she saw them head back to our rooms!

And wouldn't you know it, there they were! We quickly ate up our cookies before they could run away again :) 

We also had time during those first three days to make beautiful stained glass apples for the big windows in our room. This is a project that could have been very stressful for me, had it been a whole class activity. But in a small group setting it was just right. Next time we do a contact paper/tissue stained glass project with the whole class the students will already have an idea what to do. 

apple window decorations
I got the templates for the apples from Kinder-Craze

On Thursday and Friday we spent a lot of time doing community building activities with our whole class and rehearsing the rules and routines we'd learned on our first day. We also got a chance to complete a few projects for Open House and to begin learning about reader's and writer's workshop!

My room is ALMOST done! Sadly it wasn't ready for meet the teacher, or the first week, but the students still loved it and I've received lots of compliments about it. I was hoping it would be done for Open House next week, but it doesn't look like it will. Hopefully by September! 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

New Year, New School, New Room! {Before}

It's here folks! Another school year has snuck up on us! Last year this time I was on maternity leave and I had seriously forgotten how exhausting it is setting up a classroom! It's especially a challenge this year because I am starting over, FROM SCRATCH! Last spring after 9 years at my current school, I accepted a new Kindergarten position at a great school much closer to our home and spent the last month or so of the year driving all my stuff home from school. 
I can't even tell you how many trips I made with a car full of stuff!

Now that August has slowly crept up on me, I'm tasked with moving all of that stuff out of my garage and into my new room. And you know that's only half the battle. Once it's all in there I  have to organize and find a place for it all, choose a layout, and of course, DECORATE! 

Thankfully I've got a big, open, bright space with plenty of room and lots of natural light thanks to some HUGE windows. We're going to have so much fun keeping those windows decorated! 

I've spent some time (in between summer fun with my family) crafting and shopping for my new space. My son is now an errand pro. If it carries classroom stuff, we've been there! Target, Walmart, Michaels, Joanns, Hobby Lobby, Ikea....

She asked if I was a teacher.... what do you think tipped her off?

Here are some BEFORE photos of my new (empty) room! See what I mean about a huge, bright space?

Those two doors on the far wall attach to another Kindergarten Teachers room who I got to meet this week. She's super awesome, so I'm excited to work next to her!

I've been so inspired by Maria Gavin's room which she's shared on her Blog Kinder-Craze and I'm definitely going to incorporate some of her great ideas, as well as black and brights color scheme!

Click the picture to tour Maria's amazing room! 

 I can't wait to see how it all turns out and of course, show you!