Monday, August 20, 2012

Change is the Spice of Life

This will be a year of changes for me.  Last year, and for the past 30+ years of my life, I have been the Special Education teacher.  I serviced children in several classrooms, mostly kindergarten and first grade.  Last year my daughter-in-law co-taught a first grade class with Tracy Ruark.  Tracy and Randi were a wonderful team and I had the pleasure of occasionally working in their room.  I fell in love with the children in their class.  Randi and Tracy planned to loop their class from kindergarten to first grade this year.  After the looping letters went home, Randi found out that she would be leaving and moving to Greensboro, NC.  So... what to do about the class?  After much discussion, I decided to move into the General Education slot (I have always been dually certified).  I loved the children in that classroom and Tracy and I had worked together before and really enjoyed working together.  It just seemed like a logical fit.

While Tracy and I "sort of" tried this out a couple of years ago, this will be my first year back into the self-contained general education setting in many years.  As I tried to envision our new classroom, one of the things that I knew I wanted was organization - not only of the learning spaces that we would share with the children, but organization of our materials and supplies, organization of the learning and planning.  With that in mind, Tracy and I have embarked on this new adventure.  Here are a few pictures of our learning space.
This is a picture of the inside of our cabinets.  Supplies are arranged in 
see-through plastic shoe boxes. Even I'm impressed with this!

I am especially excited about having my own little small group area.  When you work in someone else's classroom as a Special Education teacher, you are just a visitor and you rarely have a space of your own.  You borrow a space wherever there might be one and that often means working with a group on the floor.  You keep your supplies in as small a space as possible, but this year I will have my very own little space with my very own supplies.  It's the little things!

We have a well stocked leveled library.  You can't see the bins of I-M books to the left.  The green bins on the right are chapter books, newly added for our excited first grade readers.  Luke already told me that he read 10 chapter books this summer so we want to have a really good selection for him and several of our other readers!  Many of the chapter books are from Tracy's personal collection.  When she left corporate to become a teacher she spent much of her corporate money on equipping her classroom library.  Lucky me!  Lucky kids!

We also have a very healthy genre library (Thank you, Tracy!)  We changed out the books from kindergarten adding many new non-fiction topics.  We also added bins for each of the Science topics we will study this year.

No matter how organized our spaces are, there will always be part of me that loves decorating to the theme.  For this year's theme of "Recipe for Success" we decided to be The Sweet Shop (How sweet it is!) partially because of Tracy's addiction to chocolate but also because there's just something magical about a a little kid in a candy store.  That's the mood that we want to create in our class - magic! with so many selections that you just can't wait to get started.  Each of our tables has a sweet name - cupcakes, ice creams, chocolate chips, lollipops, dough-nuts, and jelly beans!  It's just the beginning of our sweet success.  Can't wait to share the journey along the way!


Maria Mallon & Cheryl Dillard said...

Your room looks fantastic. Love the organized cabinets :) MM

Toni Chant said...

Your office looks great, too!