Thursday, June 26, 2014

Reboot Time!

I titled this post thinking mostly of getting started with blogging again, after losing all ability to focus on my social media life throughout this past school year, but the more I think on it, the more I think that "reboot" really is my "one little word" (to borrow an idea) for teaching this coming year.

Reboot...a whole new set of students...well, yeah. This happens to all of us (unless we loop, of course) every year. It's always a big proposition. A new group of kiddos, a new set of personalities, and, with kindergarten, only a little sneak peek into who these little people are who will consume so much of my brain, and fill so much of my heart over our days and weeks together.

Reboot...I have a student teacher for only the second time in my career. Ooooh, boy! I met her in the last week of school this year, and she seems nice, so I am looking forward to working with her. I hope I can be a strong and supportive cooperating teacher for her.

Reboot...I found out about two weeks before school ended that I will be changing classrooms over the summer. I have been in my current room for at least 7 years, so moving is going to be a huge change for me. I've been in the back corner of the school, out of the loop, but able to kind of do my own thing. I've been next to one of my favorite kindergarten coworkers, and across the hall from an amazing preschool teacher, who, though she has never been paid to be my mentor, has been the best mentor (as well as a wonderful friend) to me for years. And then...I will no longer be across the hall from the library, and from our librarian, who just happens to be my momma. Eeek! Oh, and let's not forget, I will no longer be across the hall from the printer and copier for last minute "oh, crap, I forgot to..." papers. I better really reboot my organization and prep skills!!!

So, classroom, whole new set-up, whole new everything. I've spent my whole career in classrooms with little to no built in storage (which is a pain, but which also makes for a LOT of flexibility in terms of room set up...I can put my cupboards wherever I can fit them), and I am moving to a room with two walls of built in cupboards. Yay, but OMG. Setting up my room might make me crazy. Plus, my carpet space will be SOOO much smaller...which is a big deal to me. I think my PTO money might just be buying me a new, not a cute school themed one...seriously, just a good looking bound carpet, to cover the not-nearly-so-nice one on my new floor...thank goodness my Dad owns a flooring store!

Reboot...So...I am completely rebooting the way I start the school year. We are required to do 57,000 baseline assessments with our kids at the beginning of the year. And I've always tried to do that AND begin all of my adopted curriculum right away, like diving into math and language arts series stuff. Not this year. Oh, no. I am rebooting. (and rebelling). I am taking the first 3 weeks of school to teach what I want to teach, the way I want to teach it. I'll probably start our math series pretty quickly, as it's still new, and a lot to get through...but the beginning of year "stuff" is sorting, positional words, etc, so I may not follow our series exactly (how many workbook pages do kindergartners need to do to know "above" and "below"??). But I am waiting for week 4 to start our Scott Foresman series. And I am not worried about it! I'm going to create my own lessons, I am going to teach basic literacy skills, like one to one correspondence, and tracking, and how to hold a pencil. I am completely geeked about it, but a bit terrified, too, because I've got to get my student teacher through it as well! Anyway, I am totally excited to try transitioning my students to a school day in a more thoughtful and appropriate way. I am excited to build relationships and community (even while I'm busting through those 57,000 assessments) because I am not going to force my kids into complete structure immediately.

What else will I reboot? I am working to be a better leader, on my grade level team, and in my building. It's challenging and scary for me, but it is what I need to do. I'm working to reboot how I use assessment and data WITH students to build knowledge. I'm working to reboot how technology is used in my classroom in meaningful ways. I'm rebooting a lot...and I'm looking forward to it.

What are you rebooting this year? What challenges are you taking on that scare you, exhilarate you, inspire you?

I'm off to browse Pinterest for more ideas to keep me pushing forward. Talk to you soon!