Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Resource: It's not just the classroom

If you are reading elsewhere, you'll note that I've just finished the first week of the new school year. Today's resource is about getting ready for the new year, but it's not just the classroom. It's us. You have varying degrees of teaching experience as well as varying locations. You may be in a standard classroom, a portable, teaching on-line, or in your kitchen. If you've done this before, the amount of help you need in this area may be limited to none. For my first part, though, I want to talk about a different sort of getting ready. One of my more recent bookmarks is A New Mantra for a New School Year. I love reading this article, and am working on my own mantra for this year. I like the author's past and present mantras: Be Present and Be Professional. I think mine for this year should be Be Organized. I start off mostly organized as I unpack in a new room (second year in a row), but I hit a wall. At that point, whatever's left gets shoved into any nook or cranny. I'm also very much trying to Be Neat (which, um, leaves me grateful for the nooks and crannies). One way I'm being organized is my notebook. It is a composition notebook with colorful peace signs on it. I originally got it for meeting notes, but it has already turned into much more than that in a short time. For example, we did a quick write last week. Students wrote on sticky notes how they were doing, what they were having trouble with, etc. I taped those straight into the notebook for easy reference. I have notes on everything in there: a conversation with the nurse about a student with seizures, finding out a new student has an IEP and needs to go to resource, etc. A mother came to my room this morning with a concern; it went straight into the notebook. A parent wrote a note last week, that's now taped into the notebook. I won't have to hunt for information or this little bits that tend to get lost in the shuffle. Another resource I must mention is Christine Kane and her Word of the Year. While Russ Goerend tells you about his journey and his mantra, Christine Kane helps you take the next step by finding or creating your own word of the year. Actually, her web site does much more than that, and I strongly recommend you find the time to read at least some of it. (I found her in my quest for information on Vision Boards.) These two resources will help you get your mind or spirit ready for a new year of growth and success. I am also a very practical person, though. Although I'm beginning my 13th year of teaching, I am always looking for helpful ideas and practices. I adore FlyLady, and she has a Teacher Control Journal that she explains a bit about here and can be printed off here. (Her web site is here if you're interested in non-teacher aspects of what she does.) I especially like that it's meant to be modified to meet one's own needs. To honor the newest among our ranks, here is also a link for getting ready for back to school. There are many helpful sites, but that one has other useful information as well. I wish you all a great school year!

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