Planning

I’ve done it. I have planned the entire first two weeks of school. I have my handouts created and my binder put together. I can breathe a sigh of relief. I already have two entire book units complete as well.

I think it’s really important to have that first big assignment be the one I use to get to know my students and their abilities. Students will brainstorm, draft, peer edit, revise, and publish their work. They will write five personal vignettes about important moments in their lives. This is a great way for me to learn about my students and for my students to learn about each other.

There is still so much left to do! Since my mom used to teach, I thought it would be nice to ask her to come help me set up my classroom. I will begin that process on Tuesday! Almost there 🙂

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How To Handle Absences

What you need:

1. A file box – I went with a clear tub because it makes it easy for students to see what is in it.

2. Hanging file folders – I went with colored ones because I really hate those greenish brown ones that you typically find.

3. Manila folders

You want to make sure that everything is “letter” sized. I didn’t know this until I started looking, but apparently they make different sizes!

I have six classes of College Prep English 10, so I don’t really have to worry about different preps for different classes. Making sure to stagger them, I attached the tabs to the hanging folders. On each tab you want to write the date of the class. If you have different preps, you could use multiple manila folders in each hanging folder and label them with the course name. The plan is to make packets of the work that the student missed. You could staple these together or paperclip them; I think either really works.

When a student is absent, s/he will go to the file box and look for the hanging folder(s) with the date of their absence(s). It’s a quick easy way for students to get their work. I don’t have to take any extra time hunting down the papers for the student. If you’re like me, you have fairly detailed lesson plans as well. You could possibly attach the lesson plan to the work so the student can see in detail what was done in class that day. You could also assign someone to be a note-taker for the day. A different student each day will take notes during class for students who are absent. Throw in some candy for great notes as a little extrinsic motivation and I’m sure students wouldn’t have a problem taking notes! It also gives students a chance to practice their note taking skills. The student’s notes could be attached to absent work instead.

Really the only problem I see happening is running out of the labels for the tabs. You can use both sides before it needs to be trashed, but I’m sure you can easily make new ones to go into the tabs. I think this helps teach students responsibility because they know what is expected of them when they are absent.

I had a teacher who placed all the papers on top of tables in the back of the room, and students were expected to go get their late work from them. The problem was she never told you what the work was (it was of course never in order either), so you had to spend forever sifting through ten weeks of work to find what papers you didn’t have. This system keeps everything nice and organized in a small space!

Forgive the horrible photo; I don’t own a camera, so I had to use my cellphone. Once I get set up in my classroom I’ll get a better picture

Wooo!

I know it’s something pretty small, but I just got my 4 Year Educator Licensure in the mail!

I do wish I understood this new mentor program they’ve started, but it’s difficult to understand something when it’s still be created. The one thing I’m not looking forward to is the TPA again. It was bad enough having to be a part of the last test group! I guess I just find it difficult to believe that this test tells you if your a good teacher. How does showing a video clip less then ten minutes show you want kind of teacher I am? If you want to see what kind of teacher I am, come sit in my classroom for the day. See how I interact with kids or handle problems. See how I can think on my feet or shift gears and still have students follow along. See how I get my kids to learn and enjoy learning.

Education is constantly changing. Sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse, but believe me when I say, my kids will ALWAYS come first.

Countdown

So…much…paperwork.

I stopped by the district office yesterday to drop off my insurance paperwork. It’s a really weird feeling. Is this what it feels like to be an adult? Ha!

I got to see my classroom the other day. It certainly needs a touch of me. I still haven’t decided on how to set the classroom up. I think it’s important to keep your desk by the door or in line with the door. I had all this training on classroom management, but I’m afraid it will all go out the window soon. Should I group the desks? Should I keep them in lines? Should I pair them up? Why are there so many options available! I think I need to see the dynamic of my students before I make a decision, but a decision still needs to be made for those first days of school! Eep!

I’ve read so many blogs and books about what to do in those first days of school. I don’t want to spend too much time playing those get-to-know-you games, but I want to build a sense of community with my students. The clock is ticking down. I have about 26 days until the first day of school. I have so much planning and organizing to do! Maybe I need to bake something or maybe I just need another cute pair of shoes. An even better idea would be to bake something while wearing a cute new pair of shoes!