As you prep for the upcoming year,

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Aliceacc, Jul 15, 2010.

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  1. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    My grade 8s last year loved it when they were able to produce something better than I did when I was writing along with them!
     
  2. DaleJr88AmpFan

    DaleJr88AmpFan Cohort

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    Say what? Y'all don't think elementary teaching is about the themes and the bulletin boards?!? *ducks and hides from the fruit being thrown at her*

    Seriously, I am glad that content was mentioned. I, too, think about my room decor. Then, I move into the room arrangement phase. I move the furniture around to make the learning more conducive. After that, I am all about planning and preparation. I usually read several professional books over the summer and take PD classes. (One reread is Harry Wong's FIRST DAYS OF SCHOOL-- every summer!) I have already started working on my lesson plan format so that it is easier to complete and align with our pacing guides.

    I will be heading out to school to begin working on my room next week some time... filing away all of our copies and redoing my classroom library. It'll be the beginning of the room decor/arrangement time intertwined with planning & preparation of curriculum.

    Once my room is ready, I feel more at ease with working on planning. I know once I am "on the clock" we will be having Open House that first day back. Yes, we have Open House the evening of our first contracted day. And, yes, parents expect that our rooms look great.. it is our first impressions for those upcoming students and their parents. Parents do not seem to understand why our rooms are not done-- decorated, bulletin boards ready, nametags on lockers & desks completed, etc-- that evening. So, I *have* to get the room done so that I "look" prepared for the parents.
     
  3. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    The first thing we did after kids left was create our curriculum map for this year. Quite challenging, as we had to cut apart all the standards for grades k-5 and align them together based on skill covered. It took three days. That allowed us to identify our 'power standards' for the coming year, which I've been stewing on in the background. My focus is on the physical environment at the moment, because there is little for me to do with curriculum concretely at the moment. Our math program hasn't been ordered yet, my team teacher is out of the country (we're suppose to plan together) and I've taught reading/writing workshop for 6 years. But I did attend a design thinking workshop this week that has me once again thinking about process and how it's going to fit in. I'm also going to dive in to interactive notebooks this year, so I've been churning that around in my head as well. I'll begin seriously looking at what we'll be doing this year content wise in a week or so. But for now, everyone in the school is focused on just getting the environment ready for the kids, ordering furniture, getting walls painted, etc. That's just fine, as it's overwhelming as it is!! ;)
     
  4. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Ordering furniture? I am just hoping I will be able to fit all the desks in my room for how many kids we are anticipating to have this year.
     
  5. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Bob, we're starting from almost-scratch.
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    What's your class size looking like for the upcoming year? I know that when I left the building the last day of June, all of our classes, except for grade 6, were at max--20 for grades 1-3, 30 for grades 4-6 and 32 for grades 7 and 8!
     
  7. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    I've been expecting this post, Alice. ;)
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 17, 2010

    Yeah, it's pretty much an annual event.

    Sorry, but sometimes all the talk about the other stuff makes me a little crazy.

    I've taught too many kids who had no idea of all they should have known coming into my class. Or who leaned lots of cutesy little tricks that didn't prepare them for the work to come. Or who swore that their "old teacher" taught them something patently incorrect, or correct only in context.

    (Stuff like" you can't factor the sum of perfect squares" or "always divide the large number by the small" or a million other phrases that are NOT correct.)

    And I read posts from teachers who don't know their times tables or who don't know basic info about what they're going to teach.

    And lots and lots about how great rooms will look. And it makes me just a little crazy.

    We need teachers who know their stuff and who have spent the time they need thinking about how to explain it.

    And, yes, I realize that it's possible to have both: a great teacher and a great looking room.

    I just think it's worth mentioning the content every now and then.
     
  9. teach1st

    teach1st Comrade

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    So true!! But have some faith that other teachers do know their stuff.
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Amen, Alice.
     
  11. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Hmmm...

    There are rotten, ineffective teachers in this world. I'm sure there are bad teachers who belong to this forum. And maybe some of them are starting threads about bulletin boards. But I'm going to give most everyone a little credit and assume they have their content under control as well as their room decor because that can be accomplished.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm not sure what your point is? Do you think we should NOT discuss content? Alice was merely starting a conversation about a meaningful topic...not passing judgement on anyone. There is A LOT of conversation this time of year about themes and BBs...Yes, that's nice and most of us spend some time on such things. But the MEAT and POTATOES of what we do is content!
     
  13. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Of course I think we should discuss content. Come on, you should know that. It's it touch insulting to think otherwise. And we do. But all the discussions regarding decor and themes and classroom organization drive Alice crazy, and if this drives her mad because she fears so many allow content to take a back seat for the more cutesy aspects of teaching...well, I think most teachers are able to handle both.

    Content is discussed frequently on this forum.
     
  14. MissJill

    MissJill Cohort

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    Is this an exaggeration or real? I can't imagine a teacher getting out of college without knowing times tables. Am I just ignorant though?
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    It's not an exaggeration, MissJill, believe me.
     
  16. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Unfortunately true, and very sad.
     
  17. MissJill

    MissJill Cohort

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    How is it even possible!?
    How did they get a job or pass the praxis (or whatever testing they had)?
     
  18. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    MissJill, I'm the first to admit that I'm absolutely horrible at math. I'm also not entirely sure how I passed the math section of the GKT, since I had spent a month reviewing Algebra and approximately 90% of the test was geometry (which I flunked in HS). I think the formula sheet helped, though :)

    Sometimes, there are just teachers who just don't know the content. They do pass the test, they do get jobs, they do get tenure... and they don't even know what they're teaching.

    But if anyone wants to debate grammar theory and trends, you know, I'm available :whistle:
     
  19. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    I think curriculum is the main reason that we are there. I have a theme on my bulletin boards that I use with materials that are needed to teach the students. I have been working on both things sice July started. Alice, thanks for the reminder on what is really should be our goal.
     
  20. Jem

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    I also think that the summer is a time to relax and recharge, and thinking about classroom design is a fun way to spend your relaxing time. I tend to work more on content design in August, as we get closer to opening day. But if I'm going to spend my unpaid time off working on school, I do love to dream up fun ideas visually! (and for elementary, all those crazy bulletin boards are usually interactive, furthering content understanding!)
     
  21. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

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    Thank you! I needed to hear that. I was browsing through facebook a few weeks ago, and some of my teacher friends were talking about how they were stressed because they couldn't think of a new classroom theme this year. For a minute I felt like somewhat of a failure, because I don't do themes. Maybe color themes. But I definitely don't stress over it. I have really been focusing on content and how I'm going to teach. I am surprised at just how difficult it is to teach some of the elementary concepts. There's a lot to teaching, and I'm glad I've spent time this summer researching. My room only has about three posters up so far, but that can wait. Everything else is organized and ready to go. (But I'm sure I won't feel that way right before school actually starts!) Again, thank you for the reminder that I'm not insane for having award-winning classroom decoration. :blush:
     
  22. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Thinking about classroom design is most certainly NOT relaxing to me Jem :lol:
     
  23. Loves the beach

    Loves the beach Companion

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    My eyes have been burning a lot too lately. I think I need to take more breaks from the computer!
     
  24. DrivingPigeon

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    The content is the reason I start going into my classroom so early (end of June). I am a perfectionist and a very visual person. If my environment isn't "just right" I can't concentrate or focus on anything else.

    So, I try to get my room all pretty by the beginning of August, so I have weeks to focus on content. It's a GREAT feeling!
     
  25. TeacherShelly

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    Yes, please!
     
  26. teach1st

    teach1st Comrade

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    Yes!!!! I completely understand! I have a bad habit of letting small stuff go throughout the year. So it is nice to have it organized all again. Plus, I rearrange my room every year. It helps me get in the mind frame of a new year and new class.

    Next week, I will dive into test scores and see where I need to focus my attention the most this year. I know that I really need to beef up my math problem solving skills. So I will be looking into new programs and where I can supplement from!
     
  27. Loves the beach

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    I'm also one who is horrible at math. I always struggled with it in school. I remember someone used to tell me that I could never be a teacher if I wasn't good at math. That's why I study my content very thoroughly before I get up to teach. Some things don't come naturally, but I don't let that get in my way. If the kids can learn it, I can relearn it too. And as long as I'm teaching it correctly, I don't really care that I have to rememorize my 12's tables each year. :)

    There are many of our students out there who struggle with certain subjects, but I've learned my lesson not to think, "They'll never be able to be a teacher, because they struggle with learning _____." That can be applied to any occupation or destination our students may take in life. Success in life is not just defined by our GPA. I'm so glad I didn't let it define mine. :thumb:
     
  28. TiffanyL

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    Yes, thanks for the reminder, Alice. When I was teaching, I was one of those themed teachers. It would make me blush to tell you how many hours I invested into my classroom looking perfect. HOURS upon HOURS.

    Of course, I invested a GREAT deal of time on content as well but I wanted my room to look perfect for my little darlings. Looking back, it did not make me a better teacher and my time would have been better spent on mastering even more content.

    And, as I reflect back even more, I'm quite certain that the students I taught would all say that they remember me fondly because of the time I spent with them.....they'd probably never really remember all the little touches I put in our room! LOL! :haha:
     
  29. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    As always, folks, please feel free to ignore any or all of my opinions.

    But, no, it wasn't an exaggeration.

    And the PMs I've received might indicate that a number of people agree with me on the issue.

    Best wishes to all as you prep for the upcoming year.
     
  30. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Agree, agree, agree.

    I have 3 huge boxes filled with my Read Alouds that I need to go through, some need to be weeded out, and I need to arrange them according to seasons and skills. I'll write my reading & writing lesson plans for the whole year this summer so I don't neglect any of the strands and that way I can use my time more efficiently on things that come up.

    It's about organization, and I love a pretty and organized classroom.
     
  31. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Well, yeah, I would hope everyone agrees that content is more important the room decor. I certainly do as well, if that was somehow still up in the air. I was the second or so person to respond to this thread agreeing and explaining that while I spend a lot of time of the how my room looks and feels, I spend much more time on what is being taught and how it's being taught. I want to be crystal clear: the original message I agree with completely and my only note was to say that it's possible to do both.
     
  32. MissJill

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    I'm not disagreeing (I don't think anyone really would), I'm just stunned by what you said.
     
  33. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    What did I say?!
     
  34. teachgrade5

    teachgrade5 Comrade

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    JustMe--I agree both can be possible. I only spend time on getting my classroom ready during the summer, because I know during the school year I will be spending all of my time on content. Very rarely do I change my room around during the school year. I will occassionally change a bulletin board, but only if it goes with what we are learning in class at the time, and I change the grouping of my students throughout the school year.

    During the school year I spend the majority of my time researching to enhance units I have developed, tutoring students on my time to help them understand content, reteaching standards, grading papers, and recording grades. Not to mention using guided reading to drive what instruction I will be doing in reading to help my students comprehend what they are reading. When it comes to math, I always look at the lesson to be taught the next day, and I try to figure out problems that my students will be having.

    So while classroom decorations are nice, they really take a backseat during the school year while I teach content.
     
  35. MissJill

    MissJill Cohort

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    No no, what Alice said about a teacher not knowing the times tables. Sorry for the confusion!
     
  36. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Oh. :blush:
     
  37. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oh yeah, there was quite some conversation on that thread. :dizzy:
     
  38. tgim

    tgim Habitué

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    I am in the process of revising our grade's webpages for my grade and agree that the CONTENT is what it's about! As I set up a link for our state standards and set up a listing of standards by subject and grading period, and put links in for parents and students to access skill lists, content, and vocabulary - as well as standards - it has been a great review for me about why we are there! Of course, setting up the physical classroom to be inviting helps motivate me to do everything else.
     
  39. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    This is one of the odd joys of my classroom setup. Other than occasionally changing a graphic or literary quote on my home page, I can use the same HTML template I created two years ago and FOOM, there's my decor! I spend a ton of time creating multi-media presentations of my lecture material, but that's much more academic than aesthetic.
     
  40. DHE

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    I use the same process that teachgrade5 uses, once my room is set up in the summer there are very few things that are changed. My focus is on instruction and curriculum during the school year.
     
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