Friday, August 24, 2012

A Classroom Comes Together

I spent several hours unpacking yesterday in my classroom.  I got a lot accomplished and putting things in their place always helps to heighten my enthusiasm about the first day of school and soften the blow that summer is ending.

Now that I have my daughters though, I feel tremendous mommy guilt bringing them into school (especially on an afternoon when it was 86 degrees and beautiful outside) when we have so few days left together before we are back into the swing of our school-year routine.  I have to give mad props to my girls though.  They absolutely LOVE going to room 356.  At ages 5 and 4, it is a place where "big kids" go.  The desks seem huge to them, and it is more of a playground than a classroom.  (Not to mention Mrs. Bouteiller has a candy box she is always generous with!) Their favorite part, which I find is also true of my students, is all of my furniture.  They especially love my desk chair, which is an ergonomic chair that (drum roll...) has wheels.  They race around my room sometimes timing one another, sometimes giving each other rides.  The best part by far, for me at least, is their laughter.  You would think they were on the tea cup ride at Disney! (Which they have never been...yet.)  As I dust, put books on shelves, display my teacher knick-knacks, they fill my room with joy and excitement. My girls actually made us stay for an additional hour because they weren't done playing.  True story.

I want to hold on to the memory of that noise as my new 7th graders enter the room.  First, it is a beautiful moment with my girls that I can think on as I miss them each day while at school.   Second, it is a reminder that my classroom, our classroom, should be a placed designed just for and excitement.  We are there to learn of course, but if I can create an environment where my students are laughing and ecstatic to be there...then the learning will come. 

Thanks Janie Bea and Sammy for teaching Mommy one of the most important lessons there is for an educator.  XOXO

A picture of my ergonomic desk chair.  Do you know what ergonomic means?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 2

I thought I should say something about why I started this blog.  This year with my 7th grade students, I will be asking them to begin their own blog.  While I have done lots with technology over the years, I seem to always try to add something new each year.  Some people can't understand why I would do this to myself.  "Don't you just want to do what you did last year?  Isn't that easier?"  I guess I just don't do 'easy'.

I think the blogosphere is an ever increasing important part of our world.  One that I think broadens our horizons and allows us to explore and reflect on our lives in a new and exciting way.  My goal this year is expose my students to this world, invite them in and see what happens.

Another important aspect of the blogosphere is the community that it provides.  It allows bloggers to not only share their ideas and experiences but to connect with others have similar stories.  It also gives us the opportunity to expand the horizons of others who may have never heard of what we may be blogging about.  Through the comment feature on our blogs, we will interact with each other to create what they refer to in the blogging world as "the ripple effect".

For my blog (which is actually my second attempt at other blog has a total of 3 posts and I have not written in a couple of years...sigh), I have decided to focus on sharing stories from my classroom.  My audience includes my students, who are where my stories will come from, students' parents, who often feel disconnected from what goes on behind these middle school walls, other teachers, those that can share and relate to my experiences, and parents in general.  What makes my blog unique is that this year, I am not just a teacher in my school district but I am now a parent of a student as well.  My daughter, Jane, is entering kindergarten.  I think this will make this a special year as I will get to experience school from a new perspective.

Yesterday, I spent a few hours in these last days of summer with another 7th grade ELA teacher from my building who is also embarking on this blogging adventure with her students.  We are both nervous and hopeful for what this year will bring.  As you can see from my first entry, I was brief and didn't say much.  It wasn't that I was pressed for time but rather terrified at putting words down knowing they would be published for all the world to see.  Are you feeling the same way?  If yes, good.  I don't feel so alone.  If not, then you will probably help to lead us on our way as we start down this road they call blogging.