Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Week Before School

Mrs. Coyne and I have been very busy this week getting ready for the students to arrive next Tuesday! Since she moved rooms there was a lot to do!

I've been working on bulletin boards, making copies, planning, unpacking, organizing, meeting the other teachers, and going to staff meetings. It's very exciting to get the real experience of being a teacher, and I'm glad I was able to do my student teaching during the fall semester so I could get the "first day of school" experience.

I finally have my desk set up. I'm very lucky to have such an awesome host teacher who provides me with one! Not every student teacher is so lucky! :) 

This is a bulletin board that I made to introduce myself to the students. I thought I would make it Facebook style to relate to the kids better. I even made the status and wall laminated so I could use a white board marker on them and change them from time to time. Of course, if the students ask me if I have a Facebook, I'll just have to say that I do, but I don't add students as friends. 

This is a bulletin board that I put together that is actually advice from the 6th graders last year that they wanted to pass along to the new 6th graders. 

This one was my favorite one! 

This is another bulletin board that I put together. The students last year worked on finding a math term that they learned in 6th grade for each letter of the alphabet. There were still 3 missing at this point, but they're all there now! 

Today we had staff meetings during the day and tonight was meet the teacher night. Having met all of the children, I am SO excited for Tuesday to be here! I think it is going to be a really fun, and really great year. 

Tomorrow there are more staff meetings but there is also a conference on classroom management that should be very interesting, and especially useful for me. I'll let you know how it goes! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Bit by Bit

Phew. I have a VERY rough outline of my unit for holes finished. It's suppose to be 4-6 weeks long and I'm afraid I'm trying to cram too much in and it's at 5 weeks right now. That gives me a little wiggle room if it ends up being 6 weeks long. I'm always afraid of things taking less, so I plan too much.

Another way I am preparing for weak planning is by having activities for the kids to work on in the free time. I'm putting together a project menu that I'm calling "Green Lake Grub." It'll have different projects for the students to work on in their free time and on dedicated work days. They will each be "cost" a certain amount of money and the students have to spend maybe $10 by the end of the unit on their meal. If they spend more it can be for extra credit. This way it's differentiated completely, and also gives me a little wiggle room in my planning.

I can not believe how much work I still have to do for all of this. I'm so glad my teacher got me started on this a long time ago. Maybe she didn't know, but I over think and over plan things to the max, so it's good for me to get started early.

I do admit though, I have done NO planning for math. I believe that once I get this unit pretty much out of the way by the time school starts, I should be able to focus on math then. I have the text book to fall back on for this subject, and I will be able to integrate some of my own ideas and styles into that, rather than having to come up with everything from scratch in the way I have for this Holes unit.

I've even figured out a way to incorporate a guest speaker (hopefully), storytelling, music, poetry, food, science, and social studies into it. I thought about doing math, but I could only think of one thing to do and I'm afraid the math would be too complicated for them at this point...I'll have to do some more research into that. Anyway, it's going to be great!

I'm just re-leaved I have SOMETHING done right now.

I also will need to put together my "get to know me" bulletin board before school starts. I'm hoping Mrs. Coyne has me come in next week perhaps on one of my days off to see the room and the bulletin board so I can get started.

SO nervous and SO excited. AHHH!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

18 days until student teaching starts!

I have spent all night working on my unit and I only have the first week of my unit planned. I know I shouldn't worry too much, since I won't be doing it until October, but I want to have as much of it planned as possible by the time school starts.  I want to be able to focus on math in the evenings and prepare what I can for that during September before I start taking over a lot in October. I really believe the best thing I can do for myself is to try to get as much done ahead of time as I can. That way I can stay on-top of my classes, work the weekends, and TRY to have a tiny-tiny bit of a life still.-HA! Doubtful. My cooperating teacher has been really good about making sure that I will be prepared. I have to have my lesson plans in for the next week by the Thursday the week before so I can makes copies on Friday and be ready for the next week. Mostly, I just want to make it through this-which I will, despite how much I worry. Do I over-think things? YES! Does it pay off sometimes? YES!

Cheers to all of the teachers out there-making their last minute plans for the school year. Happy planning!! :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Ready or not, here it comes!

I am now a little more than 4 weeks away from beginning my student teaching experience. YIKES! As you can imagine, I have a mixture of emotions going on for that right now. On the one hand, I'm feeling completely unprepared and want to put it off another month. On the other hand, I'm super excited to jump in there and get started. I have been reading middle school blogs like it's my job lately. I was awake at 5am yesterday doing it. Somehow, I just do not feel prepared for this. Sometimes I am prepared for something,  but anxiety makes me feel unready. However, in this case it's because I actually have just not had the time to put anything together yet. Which, is an excuse. I'm aware, but regardless of that, I'm not prepared at all. I still need a few supplies, I have yet to even open the math text book, I haven't been to the classroom yet, and I just decided what book to do for my novel unit last week. I haven't really started preparing my unit yet, unless you count pinteresting. The problem isn't  motivation, because I am completely motivated, and student teaching consumes my thoughts lately. The problem is mostly that I'm just so completely overwhelmed that I'm not sure where to start.

I put together a binder to collect ideas for student teaching and to gather all of my important documents and dates and such. It's been pretty helpful so far. I have a section for my novel unit, math, language arts, life skills, and other. I have jotted down some thoughts for my novel unit and have some other really creative ideas I might want to try out, but I'm still feeling very, very far from ready. 

I decided that I am going to do Holes by Louis Sachar for my novel unit this year. I remember that I absolutely loved the movie and the book when I was younger. It was a fast read, and I think it'll definitely catch the attention of both the guys and the girls in my 6th grade class. I have some really awesome ideas for things I want to do with it. I'm going to try to have my friend who works at a pet store bring in a lizard or two, we're going to study women of the wild west, juvenile boot camps, and famous inventions. We may even pick our own nicknames for each other like they do in the book. It's going to be a blast, and once it's completely planned out I'll feel much better. 

I tend to over think things, which leaves me working on everything 8 times longer than most people would. I'm working on trying to be more decisive, but it's really hard for me. Sometimes I am too much of an overachiever for my own good. I need to learn to take a step back and let good be good enough sometimes.

One thing that I have decided on is what my "about me" bulletin board is going to be like. I've decided to make it a Facebook theme! I saw a couple Facebook boards for famous authors and artists that other teachers have done, so I figured this could be a really cool way to introduce myself to the class. I'll have a profile picture and an about section where I can mention my birthday, my hometown, and where and when I graduated. I'll have a friends section and a photos section where I can put pictures of me and my family and friends. I'll have a likes section where I'll put small pictures of my favorite books, movies, and music, and I'll also be able to list my interests there. My favorite part is going to be the dry erase status message section. That way I can update my status for the class just like I do online. Also, my wall is going to be changeable as well. I'll be able to post questions and pictures and interesting articles, and the students can respond to it with post it notes. I think it'll be a really great way to start interacting with the class. 

Mrs. Coyne should be contacting me anytime in August to have me come set up the classroom. I'm really excited that she is getting me involved so soon and that she is going to help me stay organized and prepared FAR ahead of time. Procrastination would just make this experience so much more challenging and stressful. 

And is...


LISTENING to the fan and traffic. I concentrate best in silence, even though I wish that weren't true. 

LOVING that I finally have a day to relax and catch up with myself and that Corey has the day off too. Also, that things are working out with the FAO. 

THINKING that I wish I had found my motivation earlier this summer and got an even bigger head start on all of this. Stephanie, one of my closest friends, will be coming next week and taking time off work makes me nervous, but I'm so excited to see her, and I need one more break before all of this begins. 

WANTING a few new teacher supplies, some one on one time with Corey, for all financial problems to disappear, and to get some details of my novel unit finished.

NEEDING to get this to-do-list finished, and to take a long nap in the sun. 

A few new items for my teacher wardrobe, colorful pens, a nice travel mug for coffee, and a  planner.