Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back to School - Classroom Decoration

I kept a lot of things in my classroom set up the same way this year because they have held up well and I really like the colors. HOWEVER, I did update a bulletin board, change old decor, and decorate a few empty spaces. Here's some of the "new and improved" decor for this school year :)

Updated "BE" board.

Before you ___, THINK!

Interactive math challenge questions (with answers) that are changed throughout the year.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Back To School - My Top 5

It is August 10th, and I am in FULL. SCHOOL. MODE. When August 1st hits, I am usually in full swing, but this year things started at the end of July much to my chagrin. Anywho, this starts a series of back to school posts :)

Things that I do to prepare for the start of school!

1. Start looking for deals.
Teachers understand what it means to spread out your money to get the most bang for your buck. I spend a LOT of money on my classroom, my own organization, and other supplies each year. Despite my desire to enjoy summer, I do have to say that I look for deals starting in June. I look through weekly ads and also watch for emails about upcoming deals. I keep a reusable bag in my house that I continually fill with goodies as I buy them. Some places that I buy from include: Target, Staples, Office Max, Lakeshore Learning, United Art & Education, IKEA, Meijer, and Costco.

2. Back-up files.
I do this throughout the year, but each summer I sit down and back up my computer to my external hard drive. My district provides high school teachers with laptops; however, they often need to be turned in over the summer for re-imaging or updates. Between the summer turn in and my utter paranoia that I am going to lose my files, I like to save things to multiple external hard drives. I recommend backing up files once a month or at least once a quarter. It can be cumbersome, but it is completely worth it if a technology catastrophe comes your way. I think backing up can sometimes jinx a mishap from happening ;)

3. Throw things away.
If you are like me, you tend to save everything. I typically follow the rule that I was told from my mentor teacher, save major assessments until the students graduate. Every summer that means I get to clean out a bunch of stuff. Over time, I have developed an organizing method of this "stuff" that makes it much easier to sort through. Basically, throughout the year, I keep student tests/exams/etc. in manila folders by course. I don't get too bogged down by the nitty gritty organization of these (i.e. I don't alphabetize or do additional sorting). These stay in a drawer at school and accumulate as the year goes on. Then, in May I devote a small tub or bin to each year where I will place all of these folders where they are only organized based on subject and nothing more. Depending on space, I like to keep these bins at school. Thus, I have four rotating bins each year.

4. Classroom Decorating
I like to change my classroom decor a little bit each year. Many of my ideas are adapted from Pinterest or created in my imagination ... haha! Most of what I find online are geared toward younger grades, so I put a lot of effort into tailoring something that will dress up my white walls while at the same time not look to "young" for my high school students. There will be an upcoming post on what I did to my classroom this year... stay tuned! :)

5. Get Rest.
Self explanatory, but SO SO SO important! A new year brings exciting things to look forward to, but it is very important to take care of yourself (I know that this can sometimes be easier said than done). Try to rest up and be energized for a great year ahead!