Sunday, July 12, 2015

What a week! Being thrown off the high dive into the deep end of the school pool, that was me this week. We had a week long professional development about a new method of lesson planning. I was so nervous going into my first pd as a new teacher. I had butterflies and didn't sleep the night before. While I have been a sub, and worked in almost everyone's rooms, it was different being one of the team. Finding someone to sit next to, wanting to participate but not too much, finding someone to eat lunch with, UGH it was rough.

One thing that helped to sooth my nerves was the class itself. It was a very challenging workshop and EVERYONE struggled. There's nothing like having to pull together as a team to figure out something completely new and foreign. We were learning all about Literacy Design Collaboratives. This process is a whole new way of thinking and planning units and lesson plans. You can learn more here. 

LDC modules are a way to plan for what the student will leave your lesson knowing. It is almost backwards thinking when planning your lessons. The LDC website walks you through each step of the planning, forcing the teacher to really plan out, think about and ensure each aspect of a lesson is meaningful for the students. LDC forces incorporation of reading and writing skills into my subjects, science and social studies. This is what I loved about the format once I figured everything out. 

What I did learn from the workshop is that I am on my own teaching science and social studies. There are absolutely no resources available in these subjects for the district. There is no curriculum in place, no text books, no reading materials, no maps etc. It is up to me to create the entire year's plan and materials from scratch.  This is proving to be very challenging. I am finding that using Keynote and Powerpoint are going to be my go to for lesson presentation. I like that I can print off outlines from the presentation creating my resources for the students. Teachers Pay Teachers is also giving my credit card quite the workout. 

I am trying out google classroom to see if it will help with organizing some of the things I am able to find and use. Once I get little more familiar with how classroom works, I will be sure to blog about it here.

Here's to creating a whole new curriculum and hoping to NOT have to redo things for next year!!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Ideas, ideas and more ideas

Since I was lucky enough to get the job offer for 4th grade at the beginning of the summer, I am not stuck with weeks of time to let my mind wander.

I am beginning the process by planning out two major issues for my classroom. First, I am making a plan on how to keep myself organized! I have chosen to try out one tool this year. I figure I need to give a system a chance to work or fail and have committed to a full year of testing. This year I am going to try Evernote. I love that I can use Evernote for free on my laptop, tablet and phone and have all of my files, contacts etc right at my finger tips. Try Evernote for free in your app store. Available for both Apple and Android.

Once I decided on a system to use this year. I researched how to best use Evernote specifically in the classroom. I just googled "evernote in the classroom" and got a ton of great ideas, webinars and blogs all geared toward teachers trying to get organized! Here is one presentation I found helpful. Again, there are a ton of great resources, just go look.

Evernote For Teachers

Now that I have a system to get ME organized. Its time to think about how to get, and keep my students and classroom organized. I'm off to brainstorm and look for inspiration.

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Call

After a long hiatus away from the classroom, I am returning. The call came earlier this week that the school board had approved my application and it was now official. I was free to celebrate and share the news. Of course, that also meant my summer of relaxation was over. My mind was now in overdrive and hasn't slowed down.

Not only am I starting at a new school, in a new district, in a new state, I am starting over in a new grade level with unfamiliar standards. While this all is enough to make me feel overwhelmed, it really is the fact that I am starting my classroom over from nothing again. No classroom library, no collection of amazing lessons broken in by previous classes. Nothing.

I will be blogging throughout this year as a new teacher again. What is working, what is not, what failed miserably. I am no spring chicken right out of college but am up for the challenge. Bring on fourth grade! I am nervously excited to get things started and to be as prepared as possible in August.