My room is FAR FROM READY!!! :(

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Pi-R-Squared, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Aug 10, 2013

    The walls are blank.... nothing has been hung up... no rules posted anywhere.... books are sitting on the counter.... no posters.... :eek:

    I'd like to move my desk to the front so that I would be sitting and facing them eye-to-eye instead of staring at their backs.... dang network cables and smart-board data cable are to blame...

    Inservice is this Monday....


    :help:
     
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  3. Toy_03

    Toy_03 Companion

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    Aug 10, 2013

    Same here. It took me about 5 hours arranging my room and another two hours cleaning it. I still have nothing on the walls and such.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Aug 10, 2013

    Make a list of what needs to be done, then prioritize.

    For me, it's always best to have everything clean and tidy, even if it is bare. Find a home for the textbooks. Arrange the desks. (Rethink having your desk at the front. Many teachers think it's better at the back. Mine is in the front corner only because of the outlet situation. I'd prefer it in the back corner.)

    You don't need a ton of posters. You might want to take a few minutes and make a rules poster to display. Does your school have any required posters that need to be displayed? Mine has several.

    Do you have a bulletin board? Space to display student work and grades? Get those things ready.
     
  5. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Aug 11, 2013

    I had an urgent list and a not urgent list. My bins are not labeled and I did not have displays on my boards, but my kids didn't notice. We had all our supplies for our lessons and that was the important thing. :)
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Aug 11, 2013

    I think your only "must dos" are arranging the desks and putting the books somewhere, which honestly shouldn't take more than a half hour.

    I wouldn't worry about where your desk is. Maybe it's different for secondary, but in elementary we're pretty much not supposed to be sitting at our desks at all when we have students in there, so it doesn't really matter where it is in relation to the students.

    If you have bulletin boards it would look nice to cover them in paper and border- you don't have to hang anything up yet though. That usually takes me about an hour depending on how many I have- but I'm terrible at putting the paper up and it takes me way longer than it should.

    If you're just doing inservice on Monday you should still have some time to get these things accomplished even if means staying 30 minutes or an hour after.

    The rules poster you can make at home and just bring to work and take a minute or two to hang it up.

    Looking at my orientation schedule, new teachers only have ONE workday to actually work in our rooms, so I've already been thinking about what I absolutely have to get done in that time. I'm not sure if the teachers get keys to the school or not so I don't know if I'll have any other time than that. I'm meeting my team next week for lunch so I'm going to ask them if they have keys/can let me into the building early.
     
  7. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Aug 11, 2013

    If you already have posters, just plan out where you want to hang them right now.

    Rearrange the furniture Monday after inservice.

    Find a home for books.

    I did a lot of work in my room last week and I'm still not done. I can't do anything else until I get to the laminator. Setup takes awhile, and you'll probably have some late afternoons this week.
     
  8. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Aug 11, 2013

    My teacher area is still packed up. I'm working on my library. Once that is done, I will organize myself.

    We were finally allowed to move things into our rooms on the Friday morning before school started on Monday. Needless to say, I am no where near done and I've taught for a full week.

    Get your must be done stuff done, and worry about the rest as time comes.
     
  9. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Aug 11, 2013

    I was going to say... I actually enjoy my desk at the BACK of the class...because it makes it harder for kids to act up when they're not sure I'm gazing in their general direction. :)

    Regarding the other stuff, just prioritize what you need to have done and then get to doing it.

    And breathe. I hear that's important, too. :)
     
  10. iheartscience

    iheartscience Rookie

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    Aug 14, 2013

    Start posting stuff that your students are doing right away. As you make or get posters, you can start to put them up. Concentrate on cleaning things up. Students would rather have a bare classroom than a messy classroom.

    For what it's worth, my desk is at the back of the room and turned towards the wall, so if I were to ever sit in it my back would be to the class. I don't ever sit at my desk, so it's not an issue. I like having it in the back because students enter at the front of the room, so there is never a reason for them to be by my desk.
     
  11. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Aug 14, 2013

    I wish my desk was in the back! Focus less on the walls and more on making sure the desks are set up, books away, copies made, and lesson plans done. Also try to meet with your mentor to find out how the first week usually goes.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 16, 2013

    Just another quick drive by...

    As a secondary math teacher, I'm never at my desk. I'm at the board or the projector or at my kids' desks. So the placement in the room is a total non issue. It serves mostly as a place to put my book bag and my purse.

    Likewise, on the secondary level, room decor is less an issue than with elementary. Hit Walmart, buy a single bed sheet for under $10 and use it as background. Pick up some posters, or print some up, hit the store for some border, and you're done in less than an hour. As a math teacher, it's easy enough to print up some "puzzle of the week" type of things that will keep some of your kids challenged.

    I would spend this time looking at the syllabus, working on a homework policy, determining how I was going to approach my classes, what I would cover the first day... that sort of stuff. Do you have your year, or your first making period, pretty much mapped out? Finishing the syllabus is vital, and it takes pre-planning to make that happen. Do you have student names? If so, are you planning a seating chart? What supplies will your kids use? What's the school policy on calculator usage? How often will you quiz?

    Content is key, as is the impression you make with the kids the first day. Lots of people here do getting-to-know-you stuff that first day, not me. I spend 10 minutes on the rules, then I teach and assign homework. By day 3 I'm giving a quiz.

    Get your room together quickly, then spend some time working on these types of issues. What course(s) are you teaching?
     
  13. Accountable

    Accountable Companion

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    Aug 16, 2013

    I just got my room assignment yesterday but we aren't allowed into the building until this afternoon. We have a brand new main building. The old 1960s buildings were razed and only 2 newer wings were left. I get an old room, but it's not really clear to me how much renovation has been done in the older classrooms, if any. I feel a bit like I'm opening Jimmy Hoffa's tomb.
    The good news is that we still have another full week before the kiddos start.
     
  14. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Aug 17, 2013


    I'm teaching pre-algebra 7, pre-algebra 8, and algebra I. The first and third courses are accelerated while pre-alg 8 is regular. I'm planning on teaching procedures the 1st day and practicing them because I don't want a chaotic classroom! I basically want them trained to the point of automatic. Afterwards, I'm at a loss. Haven't planned any content lessons and I have 3 preps! :(. I've been focusing on seating charts and greeting them the first day.
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 18, 2013

    Jem mentioned an "urgent and not urgent" list. Once the room is presentable, decor rapidly becomes "not urgent", particularly if you are "at a loss" haven't begun to prep. Prep, on the other hand is "omigod urgent."

    School starts sometime in the next 2 weeks. In your shoes, I would be far less worried about decor and other incidentals and get going on planning. It's SO much easier to prep day to day once you have a master plan.

    I've PM'd you my Algebra I outline. (Sorry, it took 3 PMs because of the limit on character numbers.) I haven't taught it in about 4 years, so I'm in the process of updating it and adding computer links. I suggest you do something similar with your Pre-Algebra preps-- break the syllabus into small lesson-sized bites. You'll want to add in a column for State Standards; I'm in a private school and we have our own syllabus.

    You'll notice that I have far fewer than 180 lessons tentatvely planned. I know that I'll need to insert tests; I test every 2 weeks, regardless of where I am in the syllabus. And I know that some topics will take far more time than I've allotted. (You'll notice that I do have double classes planned for a few topics that I KNOW will take at least that long.) But planning as I've done allows for flexibility. Should we lose a day or two because of snow (or a week and half for a hurricane, as we did last year) I can adapt my plan and still cover the syllabus. (FYI, we use Amsco's Algebra I text). Having fewer than 180 lessons planned means I can adapt my plans to the specific strengths and difficulties of this year's kids, abut still finish the syllabus with room to review for the kids' final exam. Finishing the syllabus is vital, and not in the "last day we'll cover the last 2 chapters" kind of way.

    As for procedures, I teach them as I go. I find that secondary kids (and, yes, I've taught 7th grade) are already pretty familiar with the basic routines, so I don't need to spend class time on them. (And, as a new teacher, you may not want to carve too many routines in stone right away. Somtimes you need to determine what will work best for you.) What works best for me is getting right to the material that first day. I want them leaving my room with the following impressions:
    1. I know my stuff.
    2. I mean business; they'll be working bell to bell in my room.
    3. I have a heart and they'll enjoy my class.

    I think that, paricularly for a new teacher without any reputation among the kids, number 2 is incredibly important. So I'm very OK overhearing a freshman saying "I can't believe we have math homework on the first day!" as he leaves my room. He'll learn to love me once he realizes that he's learning lots of math without struggling and that we laugh a lot in my classroom. It's a non-issue with the older kids; they tend to know my reputation whether or not they've already had me.

    Again, that's what works best for me. I realize that other teachers here have different advice.

    In your shoes, I would start working today on prep. Adapt my Algebra I outline to your own syllabus and your own textbook, then make up a similar outline for Pre-Algebra. Hit Staples or Target and get one binder (different color to make it easy to grab the right one) for each prep... I would combine the 2 pre-Algebras into one. Once you've completed your rough draft, start your binder. Outline the material. Include the examples you'll be doing in class. Be careful not to simply use the model problems; I avoid them and leave them to the kids to use. Make sure your problems go from easy to more difficult in a logical progression. Label the more difficult ones, so you'll know which ones you want for your advanced kid. In the beginning, you'll want to work out the problems so you don't get flustered in front of the kids. In your thread on online resources I've included a LOT of links. The Oswego Regents prep one may be particularly useful to you in terms of practice examples to use in class. Check your textbook to see whether the answers to the odd problems are in the back... if so, you may want to consider assigning the even as homework.

    Once you have a long range plan and solid day to day notes, weekly planning is much, much easier.

    But in your shoes, I would be spending today and the forseeable future on prep as opposed to decor. Your success, or lack thereof, as a teacher will be defined by how well you teach... and that's strongly tied in to how well you prepare.

    Let me know how else I can help.
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 18, 2013

    Alice, what a gift you have given Pi with your excellent advice and plans.:thumb:

    So glad to have you back around!:love:
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 18, 2013

    Thanks Czacza,

    But wait, now that I'm home from Mass, there's more:

    If you can get through all that before school starts, your next job is to come up with a series of "do now" (or "bellringer") problems you'll use to begin class. Your kids need something to do while you're taking attendance and checking homework.

    For math 7, I spent the first trimester assigining, believe it or not, times tables. Every single day. (2nd trimester was perfect squares and perfect cubes.) And no cheating; I wanted them to write, from left to right: 12 x 1 = 12, 12 x 2 = 24... The payoff came when I had a lot of those same kids for Algebra I and they were able to factor trinomials; coming up with 2 numbers whose product was 63 and sum was -2 was NOT an issue for them.

    For Algebra, you might consider using SAT prep, But be warned: they can be tricky. Don't assume that you can do them off the cuff. Unless and until you get lots of SAT prep experience, you need to work them out ahead of time.
     
  18. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Aug 18, 2013

    Thanks Alice for all your guidance! And everyone else, too! I find it ironic that, when I taught one semester in college, all I cared about was planning out my syllabus, which sections I will be covering that particular day. Now I have a middle school position, and going through Harry Wong's "First Days of School," I made the decision that I had to teach procedures from day 1. Passing papers, sharpening pencils, bathroom, getting out of seats, quieting the class, etc.... Now I realize that I have to getting my teaching sections organized or else I am royally screwed! I know I will be going to my classroom today to look through my textbooks just to get a better understanding of what I will be covering . There is a pacing guide so that should help!
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Please let me know if there's any way I can help!
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 18, 2013

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