Monday, June 8, 2015

Reflect and Refresh: Part 1

I am so excited to link up with Stephanie over at Mrs. D's Corner for a reflect and refresh series of the previous school year! We were finished with 2014-2015 on June 4 at 1:15, and let me tell you - WHAT A YEAR. Some good, some bad, some ugly, but ultimately as a new 3rd grade ELA reading teacher I felt super successful with my kiddos. Here is part 1: looking pack. 

This year I started with weekly newsletters and it did not have as good as a response as it did in kindergarten. Makes me sad, but I get it. I found a few months worth in one kiddos bag and at that point I knew I had to change my method of communication with parents. 
I use Remind101 religiously, BUT I only have about 11 parents signed up. That doesn't help entirely either. Our district does use a call out system to remind about upcoming school events, but as teachers we don't have that luxury of calling all of our parents with one individual phone call. My parents all have my personal cell phone number, and they do utilize that option. I'm thankful for that, but I am still unsure about those parents who I don't ever talk to or don't ever even get to see. 
Next year this is where some new trial and error things are going to come into place. I start out every year sending home a few personal letters, including this one: 
Which I will continue to use, BUT I have parents whose numbers change often. Which means I need to send home some letters maybe every 6 weeks, a sort of updated form. 
With the parent communication and weekly updates, I really want to make sure I call EVERY single parent or text them once a week. I need to make this a habit. Good or bad, they need some sort of update on their child. 

Organization & Classroom Management: 
My library was a hot mess this year. I had so many good ideas and then we couldn't get into the school until two days before school started and it seriously all got thrown into tubs by series and left that way. 
I have over a thousand books. It's a good mini library. I just need a better checkout system. I am going old school next year and ordering the cards and pockets from Amazon and they have to sign it and give that to me so that I know who has what book. I have spent way too much of my OWN money to lose any of these books. I know you all know what I mean. This was my library at the beginning of the year. 
This set up did not last long. I ended up with the two big shelves against that wall under the POW and BANG signs. The futon was eventually moved in the left. It's a mess. These are ALL Chapter books too. 
This photo is what our guest bedroom looked like almost all year. These are my picture books from kindergarten. 
(Do you see my biggest problem in life, books ;) hahah) 

And all of those boxes on the right are nothing but 2nd-4th grade level chapter books. 

So, the next thing I have been really reflecting on is homework and coming up with a steady routine. I would love to hear any of your successes. I need to google and search through blogs. I have a ton of teacher friends who I know have ideas. I just need to find something that will work and the students can follow. I am pretty sure if I hear another homework excuse, I may go crazy. Ugh. 
As well as organizing my materials. I am moving to a whole new room (and campus) so I am unsure of what I am going to do. I do know that table caddies didn't work with my group this year and since I am looping with them, they aren't going to work this upcoming year. I want them to have their individual boxes with their own supplies. They fight like old married people and I can't handle that another year :) 

Classroom management.. I have to say this is something I take a lot of pride in. A lot. I build strong relationships with my students, it's a family community and they know that. I don't have a system per say, I have respect. I am so interested to see how this next year goes looping with our students. I'm so excited! 

Focus wall: I was SO excited when I brought this into my classroom this year. The students actually were excited to see what we were doing that day/week and what our I can statement was going to be! I definitely plan to implement this again next year. 

This was my focus wall when I first started. I didn't start it until around Christmas. Next year I will be strictly writing and grammar so it will be more emphasized in those two. 

I am moving to 4th grade Writing, looping with my students! Which means all I will be teaching is writing and grammar. My partner is moving also, and she is taking over the reading class. With her homeroom. Then we will get another whole new group of kiddos who will be with a new math teacher. I'm SO excited. 

My Big Summer Plans: 

Aside from getting the nursery and our lives ready for baby Gunner, I have to get some serious organization into my life. 
I purchased the lesson planner from April over at A Modern Teacher
I may even end up leaving this with the sub. Just depends. I'm so overwhelmed with the thought of leaving my class for 2 months. 
I also am either going to look into the life planner from Erin Condren, or create my own so that I can have some sort of life order as well. 

Actually, Stephanie at Mrs. D's Corner has the cutest sub binder I know I will be using again this upcoming year! Check out her store if you haven't seen hers yet! :) 

I also preached very heavily this year that I wanted to get vertical alignment underway and I wanted to make sure we had a set curriculum plan from the beginning. We didn't have that this year, we were all over the place. So this summer we are working a few weeks to put that together as a whole district. I'm very excited about this (NERD ALERT) and know it will definitely help in my creating maternity leave plans. 

If you want go link up with Stephanie at Mrs. D's Corner! Can't wait to read what you all say and how your summer is planned out. 

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  1. My biggest problem is books too! We went yard saling this past weekend and I seriously bought 50+ books for less than $20! You can't beat the prices and I love having a good variety for my little friends to choose from. It also helps when all 5 of your friends are on different reading levels... always something to pick from!

    Thanks for linking up!

  2. Cassie, I so enjoyed seeing pics of your classroom. I hear ya with the books! I just retired after many wonderful years in the classroom - and I kept SO MANY BOOKS! I just love books! :)
    Peggy @ Primary Flourish