Monday, August 15, 2016

Back to School- Part 2

Happy Monday!
I finally ventured back into my classroom today.  I actually went in early in August to drop off a bunch of the stuff in my classroom.  But today was the first time I actually worked on some things.  When I went in early August I dropped my summer projects off and moved everything out of the giant pile in the middle of my room.  I was afraid the sight of all that stuff stacked up in the middle of the room would keep me up at night.
So I quickly moved the big stuff to the right places and left.

One thing that took several hours today was my book basket labels.  I am not completely done with those yet so they will be my next Back to School post.

I worked on organizing my supply tubs today.  Since I have two separate classes that share the same space, I have had to get creative with my supplies.  I used to keep all of the supplies that the students bring in and give them out as needed.  But it was really hard for me to keep track of which class and which students were using the supplies.  I decided to let the students keep their extra supplies in their cubbies.  When they needed something, they went to their bucket and took it out.  When that supply was out, I sent a note home for the parents to send in more.  It really helped out a lot and took a lot of the stress of it away from me.  The only issue I had last year was that the students couldn't keep track of which bucket was theirs.  I used two different buckets in the cubby with two different lids, but both lids were white.  This became confusing to the kids.  So this year I decided to paint the lids to help them know which one is theirs.

I have never spray painted plastic before so I wasn't sure what to expect.  I had read about spray paint chipping as soon as it dried so I made sure to get the paint especially for plastic.
I am really happy with how they turned out and I think they look great in my cubbies.  There is no way the kids will get them confused this year!!!

Spray painting is kind of addicting!  I went ahead and spray painted all of my clothes pins too.  I really want to paint some more things now!  What have you painted for your classrooms?

Happy Painting!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Back to School Part 1

It isn't even August yet and my back to school dreams have already arrived in full force! Last week, I woke up at 2:45am and had a thought about something I needed to do for school.  I thought to myself that I needed to get a pad of paper to write my ideas down when they come to me in the middle of the night.  But the more reasonable side of me won.  "It's 2:45 in the morning, don't be ridiculous! Just write it down when you wake up!" Sadly, I woke up and didn't remember what it was!  I STILL to this day, all these days later, have NO clue what it was that woke me up!.  Oh well!

I am slowly but surely, getting geared up for this new school year.  I brought home several different projects to do this summer and one by one I have been checking them off my list of things to do! I will be sharing them with you in the upcoming weeks as part of a Back to School series of posts I intend to do.

But first up is all about Parent Communication.  I think every teacher has a love/hate relationship with parent communication.  I think we would all agree that there should be a college course, when getting our degrees, devoted to parent communication, right!?!?

My approach to communicating with parents has evolved over the years, just as I suspect most of yours has as well! For me it has been a lot of "guess and check". Try this and see how it works. Use what does and get rid of what doesn't! A few years ago, I embarked on gaining my National Board Certification and communication with parents became one of my focuses as I reflected on my practices as a teacher.  One thing that I have noticed regarding my communication with parents is how it has changed as I became a parent.  I have often said that I became a better teacher when I became a parent.  I also think I became a better communicator with parents when my children went to school.

I have tried a variety of things that were all working for me.  I just felt like a huge amount of time was devoted to communicating with parents.  I was maintaining a class webpage, facebook page, weekly newsletters, emails, remind app, and volunteer spot. I was doing a great job with communicating with my parents but I felt like that was ALL I did.  On top of everything we have to do in addition to communicating home, it just got to be a little much. As you know, one of my teaching mantras is to work smarter not harder.  So I needed something that would help me in this area.

Last summer, I came across a blog post talking about a new app that was changing communication. With a change in my teaching I thought I would give it a try.  It is called Bloomz. I am here to tell you, it was AMAZING!!  I teach in a 50/50 English/Spanish immersion program.  So I have two classes of students that I share with a teaching partner from another country.  I teach fully in English and he teaches the exact same thing I am teaching in Spanish and our classes flip between us each day.  So I have a different class every day than the day before!  It also means that I have 2 groups of parents to communicate with.  Each class is different, they have different personalities and needs.  I don't teach identical days with both classes so communicating with parents is a tricky thing.  I loved lots of things about Bloomz!  I loved it so much, I recorded a VLOG about my 3 favorite things that I loved the most.  I hope you enjoy it.  However, there are some disclaimers about my VLOG.
1) It is the first one I have ever done.
2) It is still technically summer so I do not wear makeup or do my hair in the summer.
3) I have been sick and couldn't talk for more than 15 seconds without hacking up a lung so I filmed it in snippets and then put them altogether.

I hope you consider trying Bloomz this year.  Click here to check it our for yourself! It has really made communicating with parents so much easier, quicker, and more efficient than ever before!  If you try it, leave me a message and let me know how you like it!

Happy Communicating!