Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Teacher Week: Now Teach!

Hi! Well, yesterday, I had about a billion pictures and the longest (and probably most boring) post ever. Today...not so much with the pictures, unless I can find some hiding in my dropbox. Linking up again today, to Teacher Week over at Blog Hoppin'. Check out the schedule of events, and if you haven't joined in yet, do! It's fun! for instruction. Organization by itself is NOT my strongest point, but here are some things I do to keep myself together during the school year.

I use Pinterest ALL THE TIME. Literally. I have a "teacher" account, so that anything that I may want to pin that may not be appropriate for kindergarten eyes, does not get seen by those eyes, and I use Pinterest almost like a Symbaloo type page, for working with my students on our interactive whiteboard. I have a Pinterest Board for calendar, and many of our songs and videos are there, and I have another for Language Arts. I started a Grade Level Team board for our grade level, which some people pin to, and others don't, BUT we've put some great links there for our different ELA units, and I use those throughout every week to link to different activities, videos, games, images, etc. It is wonderful. Also, if you have never used Symbaloo, you totally should give it a try for organizing links and whatnot for your students. That is one of my "throughout the beginning of the year" activities, I need to start making symbaloos to access all of my "stuff" through, AND for the students to use on our classroom computers. 

So, I used to be in "charge" of all classroom supplies. I just could not handle labeling everyone's scissors, and pencils, and crayons and glue...YUCK! Well, last year, I bought those skinny long baskets, and each of my students had one, in their cubby, to hold their crayons, pencils, scissors, gluestick, and sticker book (for "rewards" from games and activities during Title I time, and intensives...much each to have a "sticker book" than to have stickers stuck to their noses, hands, shirts, cheeks, my floor, etc). I had a bin of "extras" and any time something did not get put away in the right place, it ended up in the "Extras" bin, and the students had to go there if they found they did not have a necessary item. I refused to be responsible for their supplies. And you know what? They did better with that stuff than any class I've had, and I honestly believe, I went through LESS supplies than ever before, because they knew that stuff was theirs. They got to take everything but the scissors home at the end of the year, and they were so excited! I still had kids who were organizational's a process!

Let's see, what else? My groups for Title One are listed in a huge pocket chart, and, while they are sometimes "flexible" groups, they are, more often, ability groups, which the students move in and out of as my progress monitoring and observations dictates.  I have a different "intensives" time of day when I will be using much more fluid skill groups this year. Anyway, their names go in the chart with their "group", and then I simply move the names of the teachers (paras) they will be working with that day. Easy peasy! The students loved it, and so did my paras.  You can see the gigantic blue chart on the wall in this photo. You can also see the complete evidence of my lack of organization, helped along by my 3 wonderful children.

I am working on using binders and folders and whatnot to organize the rest of my life, my data, and all that...but that is a terrible work in progress for me. I have all of my info...just not nearly as well organized as it should be! That is definitely one of my goals for this year!I am also working on creating data binder/folders for my students, so that they can monitor their own progress as well. I am hoping to use the new version of my "intensive" time to help students with these, as well as doing some seriously targeted instruction, remediation, and extension.

Anyway...if you read all that, by golly, you are brave! Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon, and I'll try to have a more interesting post tomorrow...or at least, have some darn images! I'm off to the kick-off FAME group meeting for this year (Formative Assessment for Michigan Educators). I am excited to spend another year improving my formative assessment skills, becoming a better teacher, and sharing that knowledge with my peers!

Don't forget, tomorrow is Classroom Management...a few things today probably sneak into that category as well, but isn't kindergarten ALL about management, after all? Everything in K is management related, somehow!


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