Friday, September 28, 2012

New and Improved Classroom

I am finally getting around to posting pictures and describing my classroom for the year.

I have worked extremely hard this past summer to research and rethink my current layout.  I knew what I had last year just wasn't right.  However, I felt horrible for switching up the layout and the way I do centers (more on centers in another post!) because some of the parents have been with me since I started teaching.  I didn't want them to think I don't know what I'm doing!

But despite these thoughts in my head, I went ahead and changed the classroom around.  What's my first goal?  To help student succeed, and parents would agree that!

Another reason I switched things around was because the accreditation team gave recommendations on creating different environments for the students.

Storage Solutions:

 When students are the Star of the Week, they will get the Mystery Letter Bag or the Number Bag during the week.  When they have the Mystery Letter Bag, students choose from 2 letters in a folder in the bag.  They will find something that starts with that letter and bring that for the Show and Tell.  This helps with Letter Sound Recognition.

The Number Bag is a concept that I got from another blog found here.  This will help accomplish more math throughout the year!
Journal Shelf.  Students have journals this year based on this idea!  Their binder portfolios will also go on this shelf once I get those started.
 Storing sentence strips and calendar months with binder clips and command hooks.

Classroom Setup

 Sign in system for our older class.  Our younger class just put their Apple Names on the board.  This helps them practice writing their name!
 Our BRAND new art shelf!  I am so excited that I found a less expensive version of the really fancy ones.  The kids have really got into finding what supplies I have there.  Some of the boxes are wrapped.  I slowly unwrap the presents to show what new supply is in there.  That way the students aren't overwhelmed with a ton of new tools to use.  I got this idea from
 Discovery Shelf/ Bible Shelf: All of our math manipulatives and science exploration tools are on this shelf.  Again, some of the tools are wrapped to not overwhelm!
 Center Time Bulletin Board:  Calendar, Weather Chart (based on a Pinterest picture!), Daily Schedule (my students love to say "CHECK!" when we accomplish something in our day.  In fact they yell it they love it so much!), a Number Line, and a Noise O Meter (again a Pinterest picture!)
 Quiet Center: Puzzles, Library, Potato Head, ABC Lacing Game, Whisper Phones, and Magnet Board
 Jesus Loves.... Board: Students draw a picture of themselves on the first day of school and we hang them up there.  I will put these in their portfolios at the end of the school year to see how they improved in their ability to draw themselves.
 Dramatic Play and Doll House
 Messy Area! Sand Table and Art Easel

 Listening Center:  I bought iPod Shuffles for the classroom and use my computer and an iPhone ding to record me reading the books.  Some books will be from a CD from Scholastic.
 Birthday Cupcakes, Let's Count Number Board (I change the number of items on the board each day.  The Count or Countess will help the class count and identify the correct number), and My Job Chart
Computer Center: Using my old laptop.  Working on finding Preschool friendly websites and computer games.

I finally feel like I know what I'm doing.  Three years in the making!  But I feel that makes a good teacher.  If you become stagnant in your teaching, then I feel you become ineffective.  Change is good!

Hope you enjoy the pictures! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Am I Taking Stupid Pills?

God has been slapping me upside the head lately.  With a proverbial two by four.  A lot.

And you know what?  I am totally ok with it.  In fact, more than ok.  It is great!  I want to share with you what God is trying to telling me.

As some of you may know, I am participating in a School Leadership Program.  It is a year long program where I have monthly readings, webinars and projects to work on.  It can be added stress at times, but I believe that God has placed me in that program for a reason.  I always said that I wouldn't be in a school leadership role, but look where I am at right now!?  I am the administrator of a preschool and in this program.  God is telling me something!

One of the books that we have to work through is Ordering Your Private World by Gordan MacDonald.  We only had to read the first two chapters this month, but boy is it striking a nerve!

The point of the book is for the person reading it to figure out how to organize your spiritual life.  What struck me in the second chapter alone is the following questions:
-Do you want to order your inner world to influence the outer?
- OR do you want to order the outer world to neglect the inner?

When I read those questions I realized just how easy it is for me to slip into the ordering of my outer world.  It is more tangible.  I can create a new way of binder organization for the classroom...I can write to do lists for my upcoming wedding...I can take our new fundraising program and work through the process systemically....but how am I taking care of my inner world?  Am I letting my control freak side of me control the outer world so much that my inner world is lacking?  I am such a perfectionist that if one little mistake is made, I drag myself down.  The thoughts inside my head say "Tera, you are such a failure.  How could you do that?  How did you let that slip?!"

Wow, talk about beating myself up!  Since reading those chapters, I feel like God is hitting my upside the head.  He is shaking me and saying "Tera, my child.  Let is go!  My strength is made perfect in your weakness!  Ask for forgiveness and move on!"

My inner world is a slow work in process.  I know I need to read the Bible more, do devotions, devote more time to prayer, but for me, the starting off point was accepting that I am going to make mistakes.  I can't control it all.

The title of this post is "Am I Taking Stupid Pills?"  because honestly that is what it has felt like ALL week.  I realized that I left last year's field trip time on this year's form.  The field trip is Monday!  Strike one Tera!  I left my mom's name on our new fundraising form.  Strike Two Tera!  I thought I lost money from a parent this week.  Strike Three Tera!  Man I am batting a thousand here!

But in the midst of all of those strike outs, I realize that I wasn't as upset with myself as I would've been a year ago, even two months ago.  God has EVERYTHING is His control.  That's why I realized, yes I may be taking stupid pills this week, but with God's help I realize it's OK!

I am beginning the process of ordering my inner world, and it is a daily slow struggle, but with God's help I can do it.  I want my inner world to reflect into my outer world.

So, will you join me in ordering your inner world?

P.S.   Check out this book if you have time!!