The last time I posted anything was right before the 2020-2021 school year last year. I was so excited to be going into a classroom as a Kindergarten teacher. Then Covid messed everything up! I was planning with my team two days before school started and in the middle of my planning I got a phone call from our Human Resources Director who shared that I would be moved to a remote position as a first grade teacher. I was devastated! I think I cried for the entire first month of school. This school year, 2021-2022, I am once again planning to head back to my classroom. I will be a first grade teacher. Since we are going to be a little closer to the old normal, I am busy trying to make centers and other learning materials. I have purchased shelves, books, and other "stuff!" My dining room looks like an Amazon warehouse! I would love to get into my classroom and start setting up. My principal said I could but I am working a summer program called Power Scholars until July 16th. Then on July 18th, my husband and I are headed out for vacation. I will still have two weeks after vacation before the rest of the teachers get back to get a jump start on things. I am sticking to my teddy bear theme so I am hoping all my bulletin boards are still up. I will admit to being a little nervous; my room needed to be used last year by another teacher and I didn't get a chance to put things away. I am hoping things were not lost! Pray for me!
With the help of a very sweet Teacher Assistant, I finished putting my room together. There are some final tweaks to be made but those cannot be done until I get my class roster. I love my little slice of Heaven on Earth!
For this week I have returned to my classroom and am still plugging along. It is my goal to make this a welcoming and nurturing place even though we have to be as sterile as possible. On Monday we return to work to prepare for whatever is coming. I don't know how much I will be able to get done between meetings so I am thankful for the time I have had to work ahead. Here is what has been accomplished.
We put the contact paper on it and put up the border. Yesterday I returned to school and strung up the welcome letters, put on the bear and in the far corner is a poster with ways to say "hello" social distance style. I love this board!
Mail box pocket chart hang right outside of the bathroom door alongside the coat rack. It's hard to tell from this picture but there is a little bear peeking out from inside that envelope. Can you tell that I love bears? When I was planning my classroom theme this year I wanted it to be gender neutral. I didn't want to go with a dino theme or superhero theme. Every child loves teddy bears! At least I hope they do!
When I was an ITRT I stumbled across mini posters like this from several teachers on TPT. I wanted each of my STEAM labs and/or computer labs to have a set that matched the room theme so I made my own. I loved these little posters so I made a teddy bear set for my classroom.
and I am so glad that Teddy has found a place in my classroom. I wonder if the cassette player still works?
There is still a great deal to do. I will go in early and stay late if needed. I want this room to be right! I do apologize for the pictures. I left my camera in the car and had to use an old child camera that I had purchased for the STEAM lab. They are not the best of images but at least you can get an idea. When I have it all together I will post another video.
Today I went in to school with the intention of moving my stuff from the STEAM lab to my classroom. I only got two loads done. I spent a great deal of time in conversation with an old friend and colleague that use to teach right beside me at Madison Heights. Now we are right beside each other at Amherst Elementary.
Before I got to school I did go by Walmart and picked up a floor lamp that I will use on over cast days when there is little sun and when I got home I ordered two smart bulbs which are supposed to be here by Saturday. I am so enjoying putting my room together. I want it to be perfect for the children! I also picked up an inexpensive coffee pot for myself cause I want it to be perfect for me too! It uses K-cup pods. YAY!! However, I could use loose ground coffee as well. I am thinking about taking my coffee that SaraBeth gave me for Christmas and using that up first. I just hate to have the mess so I am not sure. I will have to ponder it over.
After I left school I swung by Givens and picked up some school supplies. I am so thrilled with my purchases! I found a flip chart with ABC poems that can be sung to familiar tunes. I also got a sight word pocket chart, some bear paws to label my coat rack, and some borders.
All of my bulletin boards are a pretty sand colored background and they are all in very good shape. I don't think I will put paper on them. I just bought yellow border to go on all of them.
Yesterday the custodian who takes care of my side of the school asked me if I wanted this chair. She said that three had been donated to the kindergarten classrooms. Of course I want it! I think the chair itself is beautiful but I am not a fan of that Barbie doll pink color. I brought it home with me and I will have Mark paint it. I really want it to be a nice hunter green or perhaps black or brown.
Tonight there is a school board meeting. I am praying so hard that they do not close school; but, I know that there are colleagues who are praying that they do. Tomorrow I am planning to have lunch with some VEA friends so I will not get a chance to get back into my room until Monday.
I spent all day today cleaning out cabinets and scrubbing. My room is clean and organized now! It smells so good!!
I taught for 20 years before leaving my classroom in 2005 to become an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher (ITRT). I wasn't sure I would like it so at the time I thought, "well, if you like it, Mel, you will never return to the classroom. And if you don't, you will be back quickly."
Well. . . I loved being an ITRT and at first thought I had found my niche and decided that I would commit to learning everything about technology education that I could and I did so. I decided that a career as a curriculum writer that knew how to integrate technology efficiently was what I needed to be doing.
But, for the past 5-6 years I have felt that something was missing. For the past 3 years I told colleagues each year that I wanted to go back to the classroom. Most thought I was NUTS!!!
Well, this year, I did I am heading back into the classroom as a kindergarten teacher. When I had my interview I knew I found a kindred spirit when my principal understood the insanity behind the desire. I was craving those real relationships and I wanted to make connections with with students. This was hard to do when as an ITRT I was seeing 1200-1500 students a month. Don't get me wrong. I think I had some part in bringing positive changes to my division in making technology more available for students and teachers. I was blessed to have parents help me in opening a STEAM lab in two of the three buildings I worked in as an ITRT. I will miss being an ITRT but I am so thankful that I am returning to the beginning.
Today I went to school and walked into my new classroom home for the very first time. The feeling was overwhelming! I am returning to the classroom in the middle of a global crisis. We shut down school last year on March 13 and are just now making plans to open schools back up again. The very first thing I did was sit down and pray. I prayed a prayer of praise for returning me to the classroom and I prayed for each child that would be in my care. I don't want to let them down. I also cried. I cried for the confusion and fear that these little ones and their parents would face this year. My desks were set 6 feet apart!!! Little people need hugs and love. How is this going to be possible?
The truth is, we don't know yet what this year will bring but I am committing to the Lord, to my students & their families, to my principal who believed in my, and to my division at large that I am going to do the very best I can to make this year the most magical one in the lives of my students. I refuse to be fearful - or at least, I refuse to let fear stop me from doing what I know the Lord wants me to do. To that end, I have decided to chronicle everything-each step of the way. This is my classroom as of today.