I spent some time in my classroom on Tuesday, rearranging furniture and trying to get my head in the game.
First of all, I’m thankful to Pinterest, where I found some ideas that may help me be more organized this year.
This blog post made me think about having a table where I can put supplies for students so they have no excuse for not having pencils, etc. to do the work. Her make-up work method is slightly different from what I’ve done before, so I’m going to use parts of that as well. I’m also going to try her “Yellow Sheet” method of having students turn in something, even if they don’t have the assignment. I have a yellow-sheet here: Missing Work Yellow Sheet (To be fair, I originally got the “no homework” idea from this other blog, but I never implemented it.) This is a good way to keep track of students’ missing assignments — if I can remember to make them complete the form — which will help with all the documentation we teachers are required to keep now.
Even though this link is from a second grade teacher, her method of keeping track of parent contact can work at any level, I think. I made my own version of her form, which you can access here: Parent Contact Log Again, documentation is the watchword, and I’m hoping these forms will help.
Last, I created what I’m calling a Think Sheet. This is a form I’m going to try when I have to remove a student from the room for disruptive behavior. They’ll have to think about what they’ve done and write about it coherently and accurately before returning to the classroom. This is another way to document, document, document.
This is the view from the front of the room, as you come in the door. I like to keep my desk at the back of the room. I’m not at my desk much, except to take attendance or retrieve papers or something, and I wouldn’t be comfortable teaching from my desk. So it goes in the back. At the moment, my largest class for this school year is 25, and I have 30 desks but not a lot of floor space, so it’s hard to be creative. These desks and the shape and size of my room do not lend themselves well to groups or tables. Rows just work better.
This is the view from the back of the room. You can see the table of student supplies by the far chalkboard. You may notice the half index cards on each desk. I’ve already created a seating chart, and each card lists the name of the student who sits there each period. (So it might say something like 2. Megan W. 3. Jackson A. 4. Nathaniel B. 6. Taylor H. I don’t have my roster yet for my first period enrichment class, I have lunch fifth period, and I have prep seventh period.) The files on my desk are for work that needs to be graded and work that’s ready to hand back.
At the moment, my largest class is 25 students, but I have 30 desks in my classroom. There isn’t really a place in the school to put furniture you’re not using (at least, if there is, I don’t know about it) and I wanted to try something different. These four desks are at the side so that when I have a small group that I want to work with (differentiation is another buzzword!), I’ll pull them to this area of the room. That will prevent other students from having to move, and it will keep students from having to sit on the floor. The only thing I don’t like about it at this point is that the way it’s set up, I would have my back to the rest of the class. However, I’m thinking maybe I can just store these student desks here, and when I have a small group, I can move the desks to face the rear of the room so I can sit in the other chair (on the right of the photo) so I am both facing them and keeping an eye on the rest of the class. I don’t know if it will work at all, but I’ll give it a shot.
That was about two and a half hours worth of work today (plus all the time I spent on Pinterest checking out other teachers’ ideas!) I’m sure I’ll be in my classroom quite a bit next week as well. Teacher days begin August 12, and the students come on August 14!