Thursday, July 2, 2015

Classroom Improvements

I'm soo excited to be linking up for my *first time* with Ashley at Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd and Angie at Lucky Little Learners for their #2getherwearebetter linky!  What a great way to learn new ideas and see that other teachers are thinking about and struggling with the same things that I am as a teacher!

I've had all day to think about how I want to improve my classroom.  While there are new decisions for me to make teaching 8th grade instead of 3rd grade and not knowing what my classroom will be like so I can think about how to plan my wall space, there are still some improvements that I can do! ;)

I have seen this as a theme through other posts, but I can say it especially applies to me because I will need a new system of managing 8th graders as opposed to 3rd graders.  I used the Whole Brain Teaching classroom rules that were THE best rules I could ever have.  Even other teachers would love to call out a rule to my class just to hear my class repeat the rule and do the corresponding motion. :)  ahh .. I will miss those days.  I am debating keeping those rules.  They were simple, and it was just 5 things that students needed to remember.  How complicating do classroom rules need to be?  If I ask for students' input, I'm afraid I'm going to get every minute and petty rule under the sun.  At least with rule #4 (Make smart choices), we could discuss what would be a smart choice.

Okay, so I need classroom rules, but another thing I have been thinking of is having contracts.  I have heard and seen other teachers have contracts (haven't seen them actually used to remind students of the contract), but I could see the system working for having approximately 90 students ... Students are not just responsible, but parents would also have to sign the contract in agreement with the student.

I'm still thinking and pinteresting other ideas ...

I'm thinking "bucket filling" won't be cuttin' it for 13-year-olds. :( 
(Bucket Filling Essentials can be found here! They're by Hope King!)

No calendar wall ... #overrated ? ... for middle school. ;)

Probably won't be needing classroom jobs (from A Cupcake for the Teacher)

I may keep this idea! Use rubrics for grading and to give students an expectation!

I'm a teacher where I need almost every little space of wall covered, though there does need to be rhyme and reason to what I display or I feel like everything gets glazed over and it becomes overbearing.  I know for sure that should I display student work this year, I need to make it more manageable.  First of all, it needs to be more on my level because breaking out the step stool ain't happenin' ... It didn't last year, so I can guarantee it won't be happening this year.  #itdidn'twork

This was September .. the only picture I have of this board. It got much prettier throughout the year. ;) But you can even see the step stool in the bottom! #teacherproblems

So plan B - make it at a level I can reach.  And  p o s s i b l y  make room for 30 students to display their work at a time. Maybe rotate for a class/month to display their work.  anddd I want students to have a say in what is displayed.  If we're going to differentiate our lessons and activities and accommodate our students, then the work that is displayed should reflect that.  #justmyopinion

Ugh! Planning.  Can I confess something? I bought an Erin Condren teacher planner two years ago because "everyone else was doing it", so I hopped on the bandwagon ... well, it didn't last long before it just wasn't happening for me.  At the time, my school was requiring a specific layout for lesson plans and they had to be turned in weekly to the lesson plan binder in the office.  I felt like I was wasting time putting one thing in my planner and elaborating on the lesson plan layout.  I really couldn't rely on the planner to hold what I needed; there wasn't enough room.  I do know that I need some semblance of a planner because ideas come and go through my head like a train rolling in and out of New York Penn Station!

I did recently hop back on the bandwagon and purchased an Erin Condren life planner.  While the planner is bulkier than other life planners I've had, I'm actually really content with it. I enjoy the fact that every month has a tab, and I could choose the vertical daily layout.  That has really helped me plan out my time of the day.  Hopefully this will help me establish a routine.

Have mercy on me that it's not sooo fancy! I'm a newbie at this! One day, one week at a time!

Does this count as a classroom improvement?

Yea, I need to keep up with grading.  And just *thinking* of having 90 students ... umm, #timemanagement when it comes to grading.

These are the biggest areas that I can think of since I'm making an adjustment in grade levels, maturity, interest levels, reading interests, and ages.  Any and all comments/thoughts are appreciated.

 Thank you in advance! :)


Kaitlyn said...

If you are able to get a class set of Chromebooks (or other computery type things! :), can I suggest Google Classroom? It's pretty fab, and you could do a lot with it with 8th graders, and cut done on the paper grading pile! Students can even do assignments from home, and you can grade & add comments right on it.

Good luck!

:) Kaitlyn
Smiles and Sunshine

Teaching Little Miracles said...

3rd to 8th? I cannot even imagine! I'm sure you will get it all figured out though. 😉 I love WBT in second grade, and this year I'm starting 'Bucket Filling.'

Teaching Little Miracles

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