Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Open House & Getting Organized

A few weeks ago I had Open House for the upcoming school year. I know it seems early but my "track" has ours early right before we track out. Pinterest inspired me this year to try some new things for Open House. Our Open House is basically a Meet the Teacher night where parents and kids stop by, meet their child's new teacher, check out the classroom and get a supply list/information for the new year.

The weekend before Open House I was a busy bee at home making some things. I made my coworker and I new signs with our names on them. I am in LOVE with the dots on turquoise/paisley decorations. This poster was clipped to my easel and put in the hallway to let parents know which room I am in.

 I saw a glow stick idea on pinterest and made a quick little note to go with it. 

 I was so excited about my wish list/giving tree. I put it up on the door and actually even made it look like a tree. Only problem was NO ONE SAW IT. Since the door was open and people were constantly coming in and out no one really saw the door and I was so slammed meeting parents I didn't have a chance to direct them towards it. I was kind of disappointed in that I didn't think it through but oh well I saved the apples to have out at parent night.

 Here are my student information folders. They contain a letter to the parents, a letter to the students, a supply list and information for the parents to fill out and send back the first week of school.

I also have the parents stop and write a little encouraging note to their child. I call them "shine on notes". I put them on each child's desk on the first day of school. The kids love them!

While I was on the creating kick I decided to work on a few organizational things as well. I use plastic drawers to organize papers. I simply added some paisely border behind them and they look so much cuter!

 And I had to make the teacher toolbox from Create Teach Share. It's perfect since I try not to store these things in my desk drawer since I have to move every 9 weeks.

I can't believe I'm already planning and organizing for the new school year! 

Why I Change Classrooms

A few people have asked why I have to move classrooms every 9 weeks. The answer is that I teach in a year round school. Let me explain:

- I still teach 10 months out of the year but those 10 months are spread out over the year. I do not have a long summer break.
- Typically I teach for 9 weeks and then have 3 weeks off. That means I get a break in each season!
- There are 4 different schedules in our year round system. Each schedule is called a track.
- Only 3 tracks are "in" at a time. There is always one track that is "tracked out". For example - Tracks 1, 3, 4 may be tracked in and track 2 is on break for 3 weeks.
- Because only 3 tracks are in the school building at a time, the school is designed to only fit 3 tracks. This allows there to be more students enrolled in the school than the building's capacity allows.
-In second grade there are 8 teachers/classes but only 6 teachers/classes are tracked in at a time. This is why we have to move - when you are tracked out you do not have a classroom!

It may sound complicated but once you get used to it all it's pretty simple. As a teacher I LOVE teaching year round. I love having breaks in each season. I love having breaks more frequently. It really cuts down on teacher burn out.

One disadvantage is that when I set up my classroom it's only for 9 weeks. I don't put up near as much things on my walls as the typical teacher probably does. At first this bothered me but honestly I like it now. I only put things on the walls that have a purpose. I don't have cutesy bulletin boards but I do put up student work and anchor charts. As year round teachers we also tend to be super organized - because we have to be! We all have 2 large rolling carts that we store our materials in. When it's time to track out the carts are moved to storage. As a grade level we have many items that stay in the rooms so we don't have to move them around.

This is my little cart - full of craft supplies, manipulatives, workbooks, tissues, pencils and SO much more!

I always store my large cart behind my desk because it houses my teacher manuals and resources that I use frequently. In this picture I have containers stacked on top of my cart because I took this right before I tracked out - so I was packing up!

Year round is definitely a different kind of teaching, but I've found that it's just right for me!