This summer I’ve been a bundle of nerves and emotions. While I’m excited to begin teaching a new grade level at a new school, I’m also incredibly nervous. I know that I’ll miss my former teacher friends, students, and all that was comfortable. There has been more than one time this summer when I felt a bit like Alice in Alice in Wonderland, when I wasn’t quite sure what was up and what was down!
My building has been locked all summer, so I hadn’t been into my classroom to prep for back to school until this week. Originally, that seemed like a REALLY big deal to me, because I was worried I wouldn’t have time to prepare my classroom for open house and the first day of school. However, the positive is that it forced me to focus on standards and content, rather than my classroom design. I worked all summer long on pacing guides and new math units and resources. You can read about some of those big projects here. I also decided that there was no way I would have time to make science units, so I spent a little time shopping on TpT for resources. You can see my teaching assistant, as well as resources from The Science Penguin, Bowtie Guy and Wife, and Science Doodles.
I also used the summer to catch up on my children’s literature. WOW! There are some awesome new books out there! I have absolutely NOT had time to read all of these, but I’ve gotten a good start. I’m pretty sure Wonder made me ugly cry!
As it got closer and closer to time to go back to school, I started printing things that would need to be laminated. I didn’t want to waste valuable classroom time laminating, so I did as much as I could at home. I’m using the Happy Rainbow collection from Schoolgirl Style. Every time I thought of something I’d need, I’d hurry and add it to my list of things to print.
I also tried to do all of my running around BEFORE the building opened, since I wanted to be able to get into my classroom and stay there, rather than running around town. I am FAR from a crafty person, but I tried a couple super small projects, hoping to save me a little time at school.
Once I was able to get into the building, I spent a good six hours arranging the physical space. Fortunately, I already had my cabinets organized, so I was able to skip that part of the process. While I had a good idea of where I wanted everything, naturally I still had to make some adjustments. I had the hardest time finding the layout that worked for me: I arranged, rearranged, and rearranged some more! My preference is to always start with my students’ desks and work from there. I like to cluster my students in groups and place them so that everyone can see the dry erase board and SMART board.
Needless to say, I am still aching from all that moving of furniture! My second day back I arranged my classroom library. At the end of the last school year, when I packed my things, I kept all of my books sorted by wrapping rubber bands around each group of books. That was the BEST thing I did to help me move. It was a fairly painless process! I then began to work on my bulletin boards, which is not something I’m good at! I have learned that as I make a bulletin board it’s so much easier to use push pins rather than staples. That allows me to move things around easily. Once I have everything the way I like it, then I replace the pins with staples. (I’ll share the finished product soon!)
My third day (today) back in the classroom, I added the little extra touches and details that make my classroom fun. I always joke that I spend more time in my classroom than I do at home, so I might as well create an environment that I can enjoy. I like bright, fun colors, and I avoid clutter at all cost!
I’m this close to being completely finished with my back to school prep. I’m waiting on my rug to ship, as well as a few extra hooks and book baskets, but I finally feel like I can settle down and focus. Having my room set up makes me feel somewhat normal again. It also allows me to concentrate on what I’ll be doing those first few days of school. I have SO MANY ideas that I can’t wait to share, but this girl is worn out for now!