Monday, July 6, 2015

Confirmation...steps in the right direction

Summer break is the time for reflection and renewal. I have been reflecting on what things were challenging this past year and classroom management and my organization were two major issues. 

In my last post, I detailed where I lacked in my morning arrival routines and how I could fix that next year. Having the paper/pencil tasks will help keep the students focused and accountable for their time while I have hall duty. 

I have been scouring the interwebs--blogs, Pinterest-- for ideas on how to tighten up my management and get better organized.  I ran across an article on Facebook about classroom management and I will say that it hit the spot for me.  The article Effective Classroom Managers Do These 5 Things on Minds in Bloom blog was written by Leah Cleary at What's New With Leah. Over the next few blog posts, I will explore this article and what I take from it to improve my classroom. 

Number 1- Mindset

Leah says that effective classroom managers expect to be in charge and listened to. I totally agree with that. I think that I have always been good at that. When I am reading or teaching, my students know that I am the one to be paying attention to. Ms. Sassy's got it like that! 

Number 2- Planning

Now, THIS is where I see much room for improvement. I can be flexible when things go wrong or time becomes a factor.Not a problem, but, I struggle with keeping the pace moving in these long blocks--specifically my literacy block. Our literacy block is 90 minutes and I have several mini-lessons planned for the week, Daily 5 stations planned and assessments and district things to give. My issue comes when I cannot find whatever handout or assessment paper I need. I frantically look for it as my angels get out of hand. I need a place to put things so I can find them. I am a "piler". I have systems for the students to be organized--a place to file finished/graded work, a place to put completed assignments, a place to turn in homework. 

To begin my quest for organization, I went to the guru herself, my Momma. She's the most organized person I know. I was organized as a kid, a parent and wife because of her. I don't know why I cannot translate this over to school!!  I sat down with Momma and she helped me get to the crux of my issue. I need a place to put papers so that they can be easily accessible. This system will be just for me. A place where I can put administrative papers as well as papers for each subject. So I bought one of these pocket organizers. I got a 5 pocket one with folders that match my tropical brights theme at Target for $2.99. 

Hopefully this will help me begin to organize papers and feel more in control during class. 

Thank you for joining me on this journey to becoming a better me!

~Ms. Sassy

One thing I know for sure...

This past year was really challenging for me as a teacher. Yeah, the economy is getting tougher, curriculum is becoming more challenging, administration is more and more demanding and the legislature seems to want us pushed out to pasture... but, my struggles came mainly from what I thought..well, KNEW as my strength...classroom management.

My kids were a rambunctious bunch of kiddos. They were loud, talkative and ignored any kind of direction. This paired with all the other professional frustrations (READ: admin), I was worn slap out all of the time. The class that I had the year before were not angels, but they really understood that school was for learning. There wasn't much need for reteaching routines.

I won't lie... there were many jumped 5 reading levels, the "problem child" became my absolute favorite and we all made strides toward becoming 21 Century Learners. I am tremendously proud of that.


Truthfully, I slacked in the classroom management last year...but this year it will be different... 
I'm going to do what I know for sure....

Arrival Time 
When the kids come in the classroom, they unpack their bags and read the morning message PPT slide projected on the board. Here, there the morning announcements, directions for the day and sometimes a writing or conversational prompt related to something we did the day before. I didn't give them many pencil and paper tasks at all. 

Teachers are expected to stand in the hall to monitor students and we also have a stairwell duty once per week...but I had it twice! We also had our PLT meetings in the morning during arrival, so that was 3 mornings per week I was out of the room. It was really hard to make any routines really stick. 

This year I am going to give pencil and paper tasks everyday. I will still have the kids do some of the other tasks, such as book shop in the classroom library and check out from the school library, but they also are held accountable for their time by completing a pencil paper activity. 

Arrival time is the time to set the tone for the day and this fall I will do my best to make our days start as smooth as butter! 

Continue on this journey with I delve into the issues that plagued me last year and make plans to rectify them. Because, one thing I now for sure... I was born to be a teacher. 

~ The Sassy Teacher

Sunday, April 19, 2015

I'm Baaaaaaaackk.... (Again) has thrown me lots of loops these past two years...but I'm still standing. I've decided that teaching is the career for me because it is my passion, but that I've got to do more to supplement my income. So I'm using this blog to put my philosophies out there and help other teachers with what I know and help myself in the process.
I am on Twitter @teachingmssassy. Check out my 3rd graders as we become 21st Century Learners! You'll be glad you did...
Now I am going to get my beauty rest and get ready to help my kiddos change the world!!!
~Keep it SASSY