|Page: Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Do you start every new school year with a goal? This year, my goal is to throw, or give, away anything that I am not going to use!! No more "keep it, I might need it"! I have been working in my room for the last week (teachers don't report until the 13th), and I have thrown away massive amounts of junk that has been in there for years! Even some of those horrible purple ditto masters...our school doesn't even HAVE a mimeograph machine any more.
How about you?
I was smart at the end of last year. We had to take a secial inventory because I had been moved in and out of my room twice due to repairs. So I had everything taken out of the cupboards and went through everything and tossed or posted anything I did not want or could no longer use. Fortunately, I have 2 aides, one of them a big strong man, so it wasnt as hard as it could have been.
As for my goal this year.....I have brought up my student's reading levels but they cant write a damn 5 paragraph essay to save their lives. My goal is to accomplish that.
Amen on the writing goal! My kids have fought hard to bring up their reading levels, but writing continues to elude them. Since I've had such marked improvement using the Reading A-Z site for my kids, this year I've signed on with another one of their sites, Writing A-Z. I love the way the lesson plans are written and how they're broken down by levels. This year, my kids will be writing fools...and hopefully it won't kill any of us.
I'm going to attempt to be more organized this year, again. *g* I have a bad habit of stacking instead of putting things back where they belong, so by April I can often be heard asking "where did I put...?"
My greatest goal is to worry less, and enjoy the kids more. I can get very anxious about IEP's and a wide variety of other forms in triplicate we're required to have filled out and by deadline. I don't know what happens if you're late, but really, it's just paper!! It's interesting as I think about it how hyper admin. is about paperwork, and unconcerned about the actual children.
I also plan to focus on language and social skills, and while doing so, remember the Serenity prayer. My kids may never remember that a a penny is one cent, and is the only one that's brown. Most important is to develop the skills that will allow them to participate fully in family life inside and outside the home, and do the same some day in a group home.
Susan, I hear you about the IEP's. Fortunately my district has put them all on computer and given us laptops, so it is much easier. Im still late sending off a hard copy but they can be acessed immediately. Why they want a hard copy is beyond me, considering all they have to do is print one out, but apparently they become very nuts when they wait for them. (which is probably why I do it, tee hee)
Sandy/Susan, the school site I am at started a new program 2 years ago. I believe its called write from the start. Their test scores jumped in writing. I started using it at the end of last year. Its one of those programs you have to be trained to death to use. Now however the best part is online, for anyone to use. They start with Thinking Maps. I had a kiddo who after using a thinking map, wanting to know why no one had ever shown him how to do this before as it made writing so much easier. It is really good IMHO. When a kid says that there must be something to it.
Check it out Thinking Maps Inc. | Home Page
Sandy, a site I have been using for the last 3 years is Edhelper. It is really great across the curriculum. I use it for everything. It isnt too expensive (maybe 20 bucks) but well worth it. I liked it better than Reading A-Z. But then I have so many grades usually that its nice to have every subject and every grade from preschool to 8th available.
Sorry, y'all about the link. It is the thinking maps home but if you just put thinking maps into your browser, you will come across sites where you can get the thinking maps for free now.
Lorene, I wasn't crazy about EdHelper overall and my kids didn't really get into anything I used from there. RAZ has been a godsend and my kids are absolutely crazy about the books we read. I use it as my reading program instead of the district grade level program that is completely inappropriate for my students. Plus, the district has approved RAZ, after I shoveled it down my dept. head's throat one year and now they've approved Writing A-Z; we're not supposed to use programs without district approval.
I've used similar forms to the thinking maps, but my kids HATE them and pretty much all graphic organizers. Drives me crazy. They don't want to write anything. I feel success when I can get them to write a three sentences to answer an extended response question. I'm hoping that they'll be more cooperative this year, especially since I can tie stories they like from RAZ to the genre lessons in WAZ. Continuity is key for this bunch.
Years ago I had kids who loved to write, couldn't stop them from writing stories and making books, but they hated reading. Now I have kids who love to work on their reading, but think pencil and paper are implements of torture. I swear, a few of them last year made me feel much like Delores Umbrage.
Here is a site that has some free info on thinking maps http://www.opencourtresources.com/thinking_maps/index.html
Barry Lane http://www.discover-writing.com/ has a great site for writing with students and if you google six trait writing, you can find loads of information.
I'll have to explore RAZ and WAZ.
My goal for this year is to say no to more than one extra on my plate. I seem to have a problem with the words "no, I cant, I have a plate that is already full!"
My husband just laughs and says "I'll believe that when I see it"
Sandy, I have the same problem with my kiddos on the writing. That is what my district is stressing now, I say if they can read well, eventually they will write well, but they're the boss. I pretty much do what I want. I follow curriculum about once a month in reading. My kiddos need stuff they like.
Although I really like Edhelper, I will take a look at WAZ. I didnt like RAZ, but thats because my kiddos like some of the stuff, the rest I torture them with, lol.
Molly, will check it out. Thanks! : )
Sara....Good luck with that. I still cant say that.
I worked a lot on sight words and writing last year. I really think it made a difference. My big academic goal is math this year. The program we have suuuuucks so I am going to try to figure out some way to make math instruction better.
My other goal is to find something that I can use to hang stuff from those darn cement block walls and it will stay there!!!! (I just love coming into the room and all of my posters are all over the floor LOL)
Have you tried Mavalus tape - I have cement block walls and it holds stuff up really well. It also holds on the metal sides of the file cabinets and also on wood. I get it at my local teacher supply store but they also have a website www.mavalus.com . The teachers at my school swear by the stuff!
Mavalus tape is awesome!!! I just bought two new rolls at the teacher store yesterday. I love that stuff!
One of my goals this year is to stay on top of paperwork. I tend to let it pile up and then panic at all the work I've got to get through. I'm going to stay on top of it this year!!!
Tracey, with all the humidity in FL, I have a feeling anything short of super glue is going to let go of your posters. Rubber cement is probably your best bet and it cleans up easily, so no worries about residue at the end of the year.
I'm making a career transfer from Middle School to High School. I have lots of ambivalent feelings but i am intending to try to make a few changes.
I have enjoyed reading all the postings -- they help me get my brain in gear for the school year to come! We don't report until the 17th, and begin school on the 27th, but I moved my room for the THIRD year in a row, so I have been unpacking boxes and setting up the room this week. I am getting excited about the new group of first graders coming to me!
My goal for this year is to let every one of my students know how excited I am to see them every morning! I am not a morning person by nature, so this doesn't always flow from me first thing in the morning. Last year I realized how many students come to school from chaotic mornings and they need that positive word before they can settle in to do good work. We are truly like an extended family -- sometimes the only stable force in a student's life; sometimes an enrichment to an already great family life. Either way, my words and actions speak volumes and set the stage for each day. I am going to greet even the most challenging students as warmly as possible so we get off on the right foot.
My other goal is to continue the healthy eating habits I have cultivated this summer, even when the stresses of the aforementioned paperwork, etc. begin to take their toll!
I hope everyone has a great year!
OMG, me too with goals 2 and 3. My aides joke about how they never see my desktop except on the first and last day of school. The only thing that keeps me from having to get another file cabinet is my aide who "picks up" after me by deciding if we need extras or not. She runs them off and she is almost always right. I defer to her. I have without a doubt the best aides for me. We complement each others strengths and weaknesses, They are good at what I slack off on.
Reporting from my computer at school! We started today. I neeeeeeeeed to keep my desk cleaner, also. But, on the upside, I once used it to teach about geographic layers..."where is Mrs. E's book she was reading in December? Yes, it's in the middle of the pile. Where is the report Mrs. E was supposed to file in September? Good, it's on the bottom!!" I am embarrassed to say that I once found a missing Christmas gift card when I cleaned off my desk in May.
Joyce - I'm going to try for your goals!