Sunday, 29 January 2017

Five for... the weekend!


Week One done!  I survived!

I'm linking up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs Teaching this week.
There are going to be a few promos in this post.
Stuff that has been instrumental in helping me to survive the first week of school over the past few years.

Not because I'm trying to capitalise (all my TPT payouts go directly to charity), but because I've had a difficult week and there's probably others out there who have too. And I want to help you with a few things that have made my life easier.

1. Fresh Starts.
It's been so lovely catching up with my class from last year as I bump into them all through the school with their new uniforms. They look so grown up! All of them seem to be really enjoying Year 1, but they still want to give me a hug. Awww.

2. Teaching routines and transitions like crazy.
I love my class this year. They are so full of life and personality. Some big personalities. Energetic and lively personalities. And many, many, 'can talk under wet cement' personalities. After getting through this week I've realised all over again just how important teaching routines are, and how valuable they are going to be for my own sanity this year.  I'm completely focussed on nailing our routines and transitions into the framework of classroom life and nothing else right now. Forget content for a week or two. For me, this is critical. You can check out my list of routines I teach right here. I had to make a list to keep track of them all!

Start of Year Routines

3. A clear behaviour management plan!
I've also realised yet again that my behaviour management is key right from the first hour. The first HOUR! It sets the tone for the whole year! This book by Michael Linsen is amazing. I bought it a few years ago and re read it every year right before school starts. It's hugely practical and insanely encouraging. It's an easy read and such a helpful resource. I think EVERY teacher should have a copy of this book! Having my plan in place from the very beginning helped me get through the week heaps easier than if I hadn't set it up with the kiddos yet.  They are still learning the ropes, but there were no surprises when consequences came out. No confusion. They knew what to do and we were able to get on with the show.

4. Good support!
This week has been more difficult than the usual first week of school. My usual teacher aide comes back next week, which meant I had other people in... And often didn't arrive until after the day had started so I had no opportunity to let them know what was going on, one of them is brand new and has no idea what we were doing or where anything is. They did a great job, but it just isn't the same. I am so glad my usual teacher aide will be back on Monday. I am so grateful for her loyalty. And her ability to read my mind. I also really appreciate her ninja cleaning skills. I spent over an hour scrubbing tables one afternoon this week.

5. An organisational system that works!
Being organised helps heaps. Planning my time well is critical. Especially now that I'm working a 45 hour week instead of 60+.  I couldn't have survived this week without my organiser. It helped me make sure I had everything organised at the right time, kept everything organised, kept on top of things that popped up (including that parent who panicked because they discovered their child had a time out, the aforementioned time-sucking table scrubbing ordeal,  and my husband electrocuting himself mid week- he's fine though!), and all without stressing out.

Can you say lifesaver?!?!

Take Control Teacher Organiser Bold Bubbles

I was so exhausted on Tuesday that I slept for 14 hours! And I slept well because I had the confidence of knowing everything was taken care of or had been allocated a time to be taken care of all in advance of when it was needed.

It's going to be an exhausting year, but I also know it's going to be one of those amazingly joyful years. I've had my class for the equivalent of 2 full school days (broken up with half days and half classes) and I adore them already.

They are also super knowledgeable about super heroes.
It's going to be a good year.

Monday, 2 January 2017

It's a new day and everything's broken!

Well, happy new year!

It's been a big day already.

I had big plans for today. Plenty of laminating. My teacher aide likely won't be at school during that critical week before school starts. She normally does a lot of the setting up and preparation stuff because I tend to be booked out with meetings and PD all week with hour blocks left free here and there. So I'm trying to do as much as I can before I go back.

Had my laminating all prepared and ready to go.... And my laminator is dead. I had to yank one of the pieces out... It was rolled up like a poster. Hubby pulled it apart but that machine is dead. RIP.

Oh well. I'll get some printing done and laminate at school in a week or so. Guess not. Printer is printing everything twice on each page, between 1-5 mm away from the original spot so everything looks fuzzy or blurry. I only just got it back from being repaired last week for the same problem.

I received a recall notice for my car's indicator switch. What a bother!

My shoe strap came off my shoe. First world problem right there. Time to stop whining about everything I touch breaking.

I decided to do a superhero theme for my class this year. I've got what appears to be an active little bunch of learners coming in. I know the ones that went to our kindy (preschool in the US? Whatever informal facility that comes before your kinder anyway) played with hero capes often. I think it might just be the perfect vehicle to transition them into formal schooling, learning our rules and values, and also growth mindset!

I've never done a proper theme before (my displays are normally what we're learning and student work. No room for fancy/cool/nice looking theme displays- small space) and I'm a little concerned I may over do the coordinating colour scheme.

Also, I'm supposed to be getting a new pin board type thingy installed over the holidays.... But I have no idea which wall or how big it is, so that may change things too.

I've also decided to move my furniture layout for the first time in three years. I'm not overly excited about this. I managed to have a really open room despite it being smaller than I would like. But I have this sinking feeling that the old layout just won't work for these kids.

Plus I want a dedicated reading space again. I had to swap that and home corner out in a sacrificial play to get the floor space I wrangled. Still working on a way to develop a home corner back into the mix. Our class sizes are a little bigger now than they were back when I last had one, so it may be a squeeze.... And I don't like being squished.

I can't even use an online floor planner as I don't know the room dimensions, there are small sections of wall in an awkward place or two, and part of the floor is angled so furniture can't go there. My furniture is largely mismatched and different sizes. Sometimes we swap it around as well so I may not have the exact ones I had last year. It's tricky to plan!

My goal for the beginning of this year is to really look at storage afresh. As almost every teacher in the world understands, we don't have enough storage space! What that led to was designated cupboards for different things staff throughout the two rooms. Which means none of the art or craft supplies are in my room. All of the reading schemes, maths and literacy resources are in my room. Fine motor, blocks and construction toys are spread haphazardly been both. The puzzles are all next door.

While we all generally know where everything is, we discovered it limits our spontaneity and our ability to follow the children's lead because we cant leave the room to access the resources we need right that very moment. I'm not sure we can completely fix that, but I'm sure there can be improvements made somehow.

So much to do! And as much as I want to do it all RIGHT now.... I can't do any of it!

Reading my million books I got for Christmas it is! 😂
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