Tag Archives: Back to School

Labour Day and Back to School

Monday – the labour day weekend. While most people are relaxing having a second coffee (okay maybe I’ve done that too) feeling fortunate for the extra day off teachers and students have a different feeling. It’s not that we don’t want to go back but it’s a combination of anxiety, anticipation and excitement all rolled into one. Endings are always difficult. My family had a particularly lovely summer. It was low key and relaxing. We didn’t have any grand vacations but lots of cottage trips, beach days, park visits, late night with neighbours watching movies projected outdoors. Many fond memories were created. While I don’t want to go back to work and I love the time I’ve been able to have with my children. I am ready. My room looks great. My new grade 3 teaching partners are lovely. My new administrator Kathy is wonderful (we miss you Greg) We have big exciting 21stC plans for the school. I cannot wait to start up Green Team with my colleague Sarah and Coding Club with my other colleague Michelle. I have a feeling that this is going to be a really great year.

So today while I enjoy my last day of summer with my family and friends I will also be ticking off items from my to do list. I’m sure there are about a zillion things I am forgetting and there are a bunch of things I’ve intentionally left off the to do list.

As my husband Phil and I prepare for the new school year it’s with a heavy heart as we think of our colleagues and students in BC. Nobody wants this. Not parents, not students, definitely not teachers. Admittedly I do not know all the intricacies of their negotiations (or lack of) but being a teacher I do have a sense of what is involved during contract negotiations and it’s not a lovely situation to be a part of. I’ve been following #iwillholdtheline and #bced on Twitter and reading articles posted on Social Media and what gets me the most are the comments calling teachers “greedy”, “selfish” and in some instances much worse. I get it emotions are high, parents are scrambling to figure out arrangements for their kids, high school students are worried about getting their credits this year –  but to call teachers greedy and selfish is the wrong approach. Does a greedy person spend their last week of their vacation setting up their work space? Do they take a course to upgrade that they have paid for themselves? Attend conference and workshops and even present during their vacation? Do they spend their own money to buy resources and materials to enhance their workspace? Do they stay up until 2:00am the weekend before they go back to work prepping materials and planning activities? Maybe they do? Perhaps you don’t support or agree with the BCTF but perhaps you could hold back on the insults.

BC teachers while you hold the line we will be sending you our support from Ontario.  We leave you with this message:

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Happy New Year!

Since becoming a teacher I’ve always considered September to be the New Year.  When you think about it, it really is. Fresh pencils and erasers, newly waxed floors (thanks custodial team!), new bulletin board displays, fresh classroom/grade level (in some instances), new strategies to try, technology to dabble in and most important a whole new bunch of young faces who are nervous and excited about what their year is going to be like.  I’ve spent the past week at home and school preparing for those fresh faces.  I want them the come into the room on September 3rd and feel like their classroom is a warm, friendly welcoming place.

 I leave a lot wall space blank as I like to build it up with the children I am also big on things being organized and labelled. A place for everything 🙂  I feel like it makes the environment less stressful and more enjoyable for everyone.  It also helps the children with materials management to have it well organized.  I use to make up all the labels and signage for around the room but since teaching FDK for a few years I learned the value of letting the students do that so will be one of our first week projects.  

This year I used brown kraft paper on the bulletin boards.  I got the idea from an awesome Kindergarten colleague at my school @K5_RP.  It looks fresh, calm and organic and I will probably use this for a long time instead of bright colours.  Another colleague mentioned that they used the kraft paper because it’s great for many children with different visual/sensory concerns because it’s calm.  I also think it will allow for the children’s work to stand out.  

I also made a commitment this year to organize my classroom sign-out books.  They are organized into levelled bins and then there is a shelf of just “for fun” books.  I’m going to use http://classroom.booksource.com/ this year to catalogue the books and then students can sign out the books using a device (android or apple) or from the computer. It’s free to use which amazing and you can set up the restrictions.  For example, I’m allowing students to sign out 2 books for a week at a time. Even better if you have parent email addresses an overdue alert is sent to them!  In the book area I’ve put up a sheet of white paper and the kids can recommend books “graffiti style” which I think they will enjoy!  

The centre/hub of our classroom is our technology station. The desks and carpet area are all centred around this key part. Unfortunately our LCD is not ceiling mounted but I have it set up on a table in the middle of the room in a way that works.  Sadly I forgot to take a picture but I will later.  

For student jobs I made an iHelp chart that is in the shape of an iPad.  I found this on Pinterest and instantly I knew this was the perfect chart for me.  The students, especially the ones I had last year in grade 2 will get a kick out of it as they know my love of apple 🙂  I also included a “Tweeter of the Day” sign which will name the student each day.  You can actually follow our class @MsLYGrade3, the kids LOVE having new followers!  

My other great Pinterest find is the “Be” board.  It has the word Be in the centre and then it’s surrounded by great words like “unpredictable”, “punctual”, “organized”, “happy”, “yourself” etc.  Instead of putting up all of the words it just says Be.  We will add a new word each day which I think is going to be more powerful than just having the whole thing displayed.  

I feel ready for this year and I’m super excited.  No I did not get to organizing my filing cabinet but I figure a few planning times and some after school sessions I’ll get to it… or maybe I’ll have to put it on the list for next summer!  

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