This update has been a long time coming, but I am finally done with my room! As a coach, I don’t get a ‘classroom,’ but I do get to place my office in the building’s book room. This is a room where we house our Calkins Units of Study books. Even if it is a glorified warehouse, it’s still “my” room, and it needed some flare. So, at long last, here is my office space!
And where are all these books, you might ask? Here they are!
See the post below for Before Pictures. That 70s yellow was just too sad for me, and I had to brighten it up with more white. I covered my desk in contact paper, covered the walls in white butcher paper, and added as many pops of color as I could. The wall is also covered in book jackets of my favorite elementary read aloud books. I hope you enjoy this fun makeover!
If you have a blog with before/after pics or brag pics of your classroom, I’d love to see! Please link in the comments below 🙂
Welcome back to school! For many traditional school year teachers in the U.S., this week is either professional development week or your first week back with students. I hope you are all surviving the transition and ready to get back to the critical, valuable, honorable calling of education.
I am starting this school year in a new district, in a new position. I am the Elementary Literacy Coach for Special Education in a district outside of Milwaukee, WI. There are a LOT of transitions for me! This is my first year in a role as a coach. I am so excited to be able to support teachers and help them with the ‘behind the scenes’ work that we all do. I will be helping teachers to better understand and address the literacy needs of their students. This is also a big transition for me to dive into the elementary world, since the vast majority of my teaching experience has been with middle / high school adolescents. I have so much to learn, which means a lot of potential to grow professionally (go growth mindset!).
I’d love to show you the BEFORE pictures of my new office. It’s not a classroom, since students will not use this room. I share this room with 2 other literacy coaches. It is also our book room for the elementary school at which I am housed (I serve all 4 schools in the district, but this is my home base). As such, I know I won’t be spending a TON of time here, but I do want to make it welcoming and inviting. I have a lot of work to do, but I am up for the challenge!
If you have any fun, exciting, new decorating ideas – PLEASE SHARE! I have a blank canvas inviting me. Stay tuned for AFTER pictures soon!
At the gym today, I came across this poster in the women’s locker room. It made me feel really great about working out – I did not procrastinate, complain, or come up with excuses. I just did it!
It got me thinking that this would be a great poster for my classroom. As soon as I get a spare minute (maniacal laughter inserted here), I will make this into a colorful, inspirational poster. It would be a great discussion piece when I check in with my more reluctant students. Just thought I would share!
If you wind up making this into a classroom poster, I’d love to see it! You can do it!
My students can do this amazing magic trick with pencils. Every year, I start with 50 beautiful bright yellow sharpened #2 pencils. By December, I only have about 2 left. WHERE did they GO? My students won’t tell me, because great magicians never reveal their tricks.
Well to combat the disappearing pencil trick this year, I decided to use pencil flags. They are inexpensive when compared with the flower pens, and an easy visual reminder that the pencil belongs in room 204.
I used Duck Tape brand rainbow-colored duct tape purchased from Walgreens for about $3.50.
Some former students (now seniors! ah, where does the time go?) were visiting me today as I set up my classroom. They said the flags were a cool idea and they think they might actually work. Here’s hoping!
Yay! The Back-To-School Fairy stopped by Room 204!
I’m very excited about a few things I ordered in the spring. Back to School shopping is such an exhilarating activity – it’s something I’ve loved to do ever since elementary school. Ahhhh…. the smell of new supplies! It’s better than roses!
What I ordered:
Manilla Folders – one for each student
Stickers (yes, even 8th graders love stickers)
Lightbulbs (I have several lamps in my room for when we are using the SMARTBoard and the room lights are off)
Invisible Tape + Dispenser
EXPO Markers for my whiteboards
Twist-n-Write Pen/Pencil – have you ever tried these? They are fantastic!
An ELECTRIC Stapler! I squeal with excitement!
An ELECTRIC Pencil Sharpener! Be still my heart!
Another crazy super-powered stapler that can do 30 sheets at a time (P.S. WHY do my students always manage to break these? I buy 2 new ones every year!)
A Magnetic File holder (This is where I have students turn in their work)
I have a few things yet that I will be purchasing with my own money:
Candy (incentives). Since I must be mindful of nut and dairy allergies, I usually get Smarties, Dum-dums, Jolly Ranchers, Peppermints, etc. Even those aren’t safe from allergies, however. I had a student who was allergic to food coloring 🙁
Granola bars and snacks for the students who forgot breakfast/lunch.
A silver Sharpie so I can try out this new idea I saw on Pinterest for a Reading Graffiti Wall. Expect a detailed post once I have finished it!
Some fashion duct tape so I can make flags on my pencils. They always walk off!
I’m curious to see how much of these supplies I actually use this year, given that we are going one-to-one with iPads. I know there will still be a significant amount of handwriting, and we aren’t going completely paperless yet. I imagine my supply list will dwindle each year as we get used to relying more on our electronics.
Do you think there is anything I missed? Do you have some Back-To-School items that you always purchase?
I have an idea that I am excited to try out this fall. Recently, I learned about two new apps that I think will be very valuable in my classroom. Both of them offer a virtual reality experience of sorts. I think this will be ideal for students who need a break from ‘reality.’
Teachers – you know when you have a student who just seems like they need to take a deep breath and start fresh? Perhaps they are overwhelmed, emotional, or anxious. This is when I would invite them to take out their iPad (or borrow mine) and have a 3 minute Virtual Reality escape. This will replace my old ‘go to’ techniques of “Why don’t you go get a quick drink?” or “Please take this (meaningless) super important document to the office for me (so you can calm down and walk it off).” These apps will hopefully occupy their mind and offer them a brief respite from what is leading them to be off task and unfocused (notice I didn’t say ‘naughty?’).
So here are the apps I am thinking of using for Virtual Reality Escape in the classroom. Let me know if you have heard of any others I can add to my list!
This app is FREE and totally awesome. You can take yourself to some amazing places throughout the world from world famous cathedrals to tropical vacation destinations. As you twist and turn your iPad/iPhone, you get a 360 degree panoramic view of the location – even the sky and ground. I must look like a real fool as I swivel in my chair and contort my body to see every inch of the awe-inspiring views, but I just don’t care! I love looking at Sphere just before bed so I can dream of a vacation.
Of course, there are academic purposes for this app as well. Perhaps there are some locations you are currently studying in the classroom, and your students would love to visit in 3D! My only complaint about this app is that not all of the links work for me all of the time. Hoping some bug fixes are on their way!
2. Sky Guide: View Stars Night or Day – by Fifth Star Labs LLC $1.99
This app was gifted to me, but normally costs $1.99. I honestly had no idea how much I would enjoy it. Basically, the app helps you to identify celestial objects (stars, planets, constellations, etc.). You simply point your iPad/iPhone at the sky, and voila! The app includes ethereal music to accompany your ‘Out of this World’ experience, but I often turn off this feature. As the title says, this works in the daytime, too. Students can imagine launching themselves into the atmosphere, flying through space, across the universe!
Of course there are real academic uses here as well – be sure to share with your school’s Science department!