Saturday, September 26, 2015

How I Survived the First Day of School + Blog Hop + FREEBIE


I'm so happy to be a part of the Fall in Love with Teaching Blog Hop. Please read to the end to find a FREEBIE, giveaway from me & the blog hog giveaway! 

I'm sketching out this post a month before it is due. It is currently 8/24 and I have a week until school starts. I am hoping for that blog post title. Being ready for the 1st day of school & surviving are seriously in question right now!! Not only am I moving to a new grade (1st to 3rd), our school decided to renovate right before school starts. We were in desperate need of new paint and carpet and it was provided by a generous donor. The downside is that I am not in my room yet, and I've only been able to prepare some things at home. If I were still teaching 1st grade, I could go into auto-pilot and make this work. It is an extra challenge to figure out a new grade level when my room (as of tonight) has unassembled furniture and all of my things are in another space and can't be accessed. 

15 days before school!!!
My online teacher friends (you all are awesome!) have been encouraging me with talk of a "blank palette". My mind is simply on surviving Orientation (the night before) and the 1st day of school! I am mostly trying to not to think of all the details and keep moving to accomplish something - by the yard it's hard, by the inch a cinch - right? :)

10 days before school!!

Carpet & pain completed - no furniture and can't get to all my boxes :(
Some year, or perhaps this year, you will find yourself in a difficult situation which may even seem impossible. New administration/office staff/teachers, renovations and new grade level are the ones I'm dealing with this year. I want to pass along to you some of the great and encouraging tips that I received from my online friends. Of course, I will also have some teaching goodies along the way so make sure you read through to the end!

1. "This year my room may not be all that I want it to be. But, next year, it will be amazing!" - LOL! This comment made me laugh and think. It was posted by a teacher who will be moving her classroom after school starts. It always helps to know that you are not the only one. Other teachers are dealing with all kinds of situations and we are a strong and creative bunch who know how to make things work. Sometimes you just have to hold on loosely to your dreams and ideals and be willing to let some things go. 

2. "The students will love to help their new teacher set up parts of the room. Bonding experience!" So true! Anything that I can do together with the students will really help build our classroom community. I am likely going to go this route out of necessity. I am looking forward to having an older grade. I've made some lesson plans for the 1st week - can we really call it a plan for that 1st week? It may be more like lesson thoughts, hopes and ideas! I put in a time that first morning for them to sort through the supplies with me and label things and put them away. That will be a first! In 1st grade, you need everything setup and ready-to-go! 

3. "All that room needs is a motivated teacher to love on those students! You got this!!" My favorite comment! This is something that I just need to post above my computer this year. It helps to focus on what really matters - the students. We've been given a gift to have a part in these young lives. I'm so excited about the lessons that I have planned for this year - - both academic skills & character development. We truly have the opportunity to make a difference. These children are the present and the future! Find a way to encourage and inspire your students each day. Those are the lessons they remember long after they've forgotten how your room was setup or the little things that you wanted to get to and just couldn't get finished. Let it go. Focus on the big picture.

BTW, these are all comments from some wonderful Instagram followers. It is such a fun way to share pictures. I am so inspired by the teaching ideas that I find there and obviously the teachers are so encouraging. You can follow me at TeacherTreasureHunter.
A work in progress...
pretty new bookcases
1st day of school! I made it this far. :) Parts of the room look good!
I wish that I had some beautiful pictures for you of my entire completed room. Nope! It is getting close, but still a work in progress. The whiteboard (that I use for everything) was leaning against the wall for the 1st week and little things are being added all the time (new desk chair today and hanging pocket by the door). I'm still waiting for a place for the students to put backpacks and book bags. However, the parts that are finished are looking very good!

**Scroll down to the end of this post to read an update - How I'm Surviving After 4 Weeks!

I hope you found these comments from my online friends inspiring. If you need some practical tips to survive your teaching year, you may enjoy my FREE Classroom Planning A-Z Guide

I will continue to make materials that are suitable for 1st grade since that is where I have the most experience (and it will always have a piece of my heart regardless of other grades that I teach!). I will also be making more products for 3rd grade. I already have several animal products that are a great fit for both of those grades. I've used my animal research packs with groups of 1st-5th graders at the end of the year and they've all enjoyed the researching and writing. I'm going to give away 2 animal research bundles ($20 value each). Just join my email list to be entered into the contest. 

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UPDATE: After 4 weeks of teaching, I feel like I might survive! :) Honestly, it has been a difficult experience but it does help to focus on the big picture. Here are some amazing things that have happened in the last few weeks:

*My new students are totally fitting into the class. We have a small school and it is a family like atmosphere. It's so wonderful when they make new friends right away and feel like they belong. 

*One of my students told me right away that they don't like to read and they only like Minecraft. I tried to suggest some great books and even mentioned Minecraft books. Nope! Fast forward to this week...that student has recorded the most reading out of all the 3rd graders (over 500 minutes) and won a special bead for the reading chains (see picture). He told me "I am so, so proud of myself!" THAT is worth so much!!

*I'm starting to figure out the 3rd grade curriculum and ways to incorporate the kinds of hands on teaching and activities that I love. Yesterday, the students pretended to be parts of the ear (2 students were the outer ear (arch for the sound to enter), the aisle was the auditory canal, 1 student was the ear drum, 3 were the bones of the middle ear (see the stirrup - triangular shaped hands), 1 was the cochlea (those curled up hands are supposed to look like a spiral!) and 2 students were the nerves. Of course 1 student had to be the sound and another the brain! They had so much fun bouncing the sound off the eardrum and through the middle ear and eventually to the brain. 
So, we are getting on to the important work of teaching. I still have a few bulletin boards to put up and some blank spaces on my walls. The kids have never once commented on that! Those aren't the things that matter a whole lot to them. 

One of my sweeties wrote on the back of her paper - I love Mrs. Michael and Lizzy so much! I now rank up there with the classroom gecko - I'll take it! I'm so glad that the students are learning and enjoying the process.

Click on the picture below to go to Jennifer's post at The Blessed Teacher. She has some great tips for teaching grammar!


6 comments:

  1. I'm so glad that things are working out for you and your room is coming along!!!

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  2. I just had to post...thanks for sharing the comments and your update. I recently moved out of state due to a divorce, accepted a job two weeks before school started which involved a new grade level (from 15+ years of K to 3rd) and am the only member of my team. So glad to know I'm not alone and I too feel I just might be able to survive. I'm excited to see what this year brings, but even more excited to know it will be easier next year!

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  3. These are some great inspirational tips! Your room is looking good!

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  4. Glad you have "survived" your first 4 weeks! As a former first grade teacher too, I can tell you that you will probably love 3rd grade! The kids are more independent, but still very sweet!

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  5. Sounded stressful! I was stressed when I couldn't get into my room until the last week of July-- so I can only imagine your pain. I'm glad things are turning around for you!

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  6. Thanks for sharing your real world teaching journey! It is so nice to see motivated teachers and how they survive the chaos. Love the tips your followers shared. I am glad you are in the swing of things.

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