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Monday, July 1, 2013

Above and Beyond

Here is an awesome YouTube video I am planning to share with my kiddos the first week of school. I love the message it illustrates about thinking outside the box, appreciating everyone's gifts, working together, and being creative. All in less than five minutes!

Friday, June 28, 2013

What do you NEED in your classroom?

I was at a workshop this week and the facilitator asked us to draw a floorplan of our classroom. We all spent quite a few minutes drawing our classrooms full of our bookshelves, desks, tables, chairs, rugs, etc.
Here is what my drawing looked like:

This year I was lucky to be part of a Personalized Learning grant which purchased new furniture and laptops for some classrooms in our school. The idea was to transform your space so that kids had choices of where to sit and different types of seating in the classroom. I have a few high top tables, benches, couches, a round table, and a variety of chairs. My second graders LOVED it. The group I had really thought about which area worked best for them when they were working. Sometimes it was at the round table when working with a group. Sometimes it was reading to self on the couch during Daily 5. Other times it was reading with a partner sitting in a cozy corner with clipboards. They did not have assigned seats and they kept their supplies in cubbies we have built into our cabinets in the back of the room. I did most of my directions and instructions whole-group at the rug and let them work while I met with individuals and small groups.

Back to the workshop- after we had finished our drawings, she asked us to flip them over and draw a classroom with only the things we NEED to teach. This was tricky!
Here is my new picture:

I kept my student computer that is hooked up to my LCD projector. I also kept my whiteboard. We had a big debate about books but some of us were thinking we could use the computer to use e-books.  It was so interesting to think that once you take out things that aren't absolutely necessary, you could free up space to put other things in your classroom.

So what do you NEED to teach? What could you take out of your classroom? What would you add if those were removed..if your principal let you? ;)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Plans For Next Year...

I received official word that I will be one of two 2nd/3rd multiage classes for next year. I am SO excited! This year I spent a lot of time with my 2nd graders working on personalized learning in conjunction with a grant that a group of fellow teachers and I received. I also had the opportunity to go visit a few school districts in Wisconsin who have embraced multiage classrooms and personalized learning.
I am so excited to be on this new journey and my teaching partner is We were on a 1st/2nd grade looping team a for several years before I switched teams and I am so excited to be working with her. We actually conspired to become the multiage teachers and it worked! We really compliment each other which I think is so important in making this new program successful.
We are also collaborating with the two 4th/5th multiage teachers and already have plans to work together throughout the year on some service learning and projects.
We have decided to call our group CONNECT since we are connecting with different grade levels. We had about 25 other names brainstormed but really liked the sound of "The CONNECT Program." We might figure out some words to make it an acronym but we're okay leaving it for now.
I can't wait to share ideas for both 2nd and 3rd, personalized learning, and more.