back in the groove

Meetings, meetings and more meetings. Such is the life of a teacher in early August, I suppose :)

This past week was busy, busy, but I'm feeling a little more prepared by the day. Yesterday I was able to compile the first powerpoint and newsletter, including the first couple days worth of activities and procedure lecturing. This morning I woke up and started working on seating assignments. The 7th grade teachers are nice enough to give us some heads up regarding certain students, and certain student combinations. Although I really do like the "blank slate" and fresh start that comes with every year, it is nice to try to avoid any major blowouts on those first few days :) (FYI for teachers: The way I keep my seating charts is super easy and I can use them all year. Some of you may already do this, but I sketch out the layout of the room, run copies for each class, and then cut out sticky notes for each student. I write their name on the sticky note, move around the names and put them where I want them, and then slide the sheet in a sheet protector. I keep these on clipboards behind my desk so substitutes can easily access them. When I want to switch seats, I simply move around the sticky notes and stick them back in the sheet protector. It works great!)

I took some pictures of my new classroom when I was leaving the other day. It will look similar to my previous room because I kept all the same materials, but I have newer desks, and a much larger space. (As always, it's hard to tell in pictures):

Looking at room from my desk
Looking at room from doorway

Back wall, including reading area against the far wall

And the best part? THE WINDOW!!! Yipee! No more seasonal depression :) I even bought a little plant because it will actually survive! And I got an upgrade on my desk, and my desk chair. Good stuff. Also, if you notice to the left of the window: last year I had each of my classes sign contact paper with the intention of putting it up this year. It turned out really well and is a great reminder of why I'm there: the students.
Last year I assigned seats the first day by cards: "You are the 6 of diamonds. Please go find your seat." This way there is no chaos at the beginning of class by making everyone stand back up, and wait for me to tell them where to sit. It also prevents the chaos and obvious problems of them picking their own seats. However, this year I made the cards a little more permanent with packing tape, as I plan to use them more this year.

I decided these cards would allow me endless possibilities for grouping and assignments. For example, "Today we are going to work in groups on character analysis. Groups will be your suit./ Groups will be your number i.e. all the 2s are together, all the 3s are together etc." And so many more options: 5,6,7 of spades...etc! I was so excited when I thought of this. I will also keep a separate deck up front, and if I need to call on a student I can simply draw cards. "Would the 5 of clubs please read the next passage?" I also assigned the week's jobs this way:
And in other news: Brent and I are still working hard with our P90X workout routine. We are on day 43 of 90! We are definitely seeing results and my arms and back are becoming way more toned, and my strength has increased a ton. The other day Brent did 104 pullups during one workout, and I did 124, as I modify them with the assistance of a chair! It's been fun, but also frustrating, because I seem to lack the motivation to do an hour long (or more) workout every single day. But Brent has been persistent, and I suppose I'm thankful.
Yesterday though I had a bit of a setback...not too bad though. I was doing clap pushups (yeah! Crazy!) and after the first couple I went onto my knees so I could do more reps. Well, somehow I ended up leaving my knees and coming back down on them pretty hard. My right knee really hurt and by the time I stood up, I already had a huge knot forming! I was able to finish the work out, but then called my good friend and m.d. resident Brandon, and asked him about it. He said I probably just burst one of the fluid sacs and that it shouldn't cause too many problems. I iced it last night off and on and took some ibuprofen, which seems to be helping. I don't know if you can really see it in this picture, but it is on the inside of my kneecap.
I'm telling you, P90X is not for the faint of heart :)

This morning Brent woke up and headed to an estate sale, or something, where there was going to be golf gear. I just got a call that he is on his way home with a Ping 7 iron and a 5 iron. He is pretty happy; I guess he got an "awesome deal."

Well, I'm going to get off the computer now and enjoy my last Saturday of freedom!


Roberta said...

Wow! What a beautiful classroom you have. I love the card idea. Brilliant! :)

I hope your knee is feeling better. I have a few friends doing that and they said it totally kicks your butt. I think it may be something we try in the near future. Good luck!

Lauri said...

Thanks for thinking of the substitute Kelsey! I am amazed at how unorganized some teachers are. They really leave the subs hanging! I would sub for you any day.

Elizabeth said...

if only i could be a fly on the wall in your classroom...or morph into an 8th grader.

i miss your calming presence.

Lyricality said...

congrats on your window!! looks great to start the year!

Micah Wolf said...

P90 is not for the faint at heart that is for sure...and as I stare at the chalkboard that shows proof that I did all 90 days and feel that my strength has dwindled some....I know I need to start some of the workouts back...but you are right daily workouts are tough.

Regan said...

I love the idea of assigning jobs by their card. I got a bunch of decks of cards from the SJSD "supply store." I was going to assign seats and I really like the idea of the post-its on your seating chart. How simple to move names around! I have found that I have so many more ideas about and for teaching this year since I've been away for a year, but at the same time, it's almost like starting all over.
Your classroom looks beautiful! My classroom is TINY and I haven't had a lot of time to be in there yet. Lots and lots of meetings!