Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Classroom set-up (a tad late!)

  * EDIT:  I am having technical difficulties, as this post from back in the fall keeps reverting to draft. I apologize for those who have already seen it! *

Original post:

I hope all of your first weeks went wonderfully! I had a blast setting up my classroom, and though I didn't get a chance to share pictures before school started, I thought I'd share some now. My classroom decor was done on a budget, so it may not be as chic as some of the rooms I've seen out there, but I think it turned out nicely!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bonne Année!

Can you believe it's 2014 already? I, for one, know that I will end up writing 2013 at least a few dozen times (thanks to muscle memory) before I finally get it through my head that it's 2014(!)

2013 was a good year, full of many new things for me... I made the switch to teaching grade 2, which I couldn't be happier about. Seriously, these kids are just the BEST. Something about teaching kids who are capable and independent, yet haven't lost that sweetness and innocence of childhood is just wonderful. I truly look forward to going into work every day, and I know that not many people are fortunate enough to say that and mean it. Admittedly, I think I've said that "(blank) is my favourite grade EVER!" with every grade that I've taught so far... but I guess there are different things to love about kids of all ages. Grade one is a lot of fun because the kids are just learning to read and write, and again, are so open to eachother. They are incredibly tolerant of other kids, of differences, and have NO attitude or prejudice. They are just amazing. Kindergarten was a whole other kettle of fish... learning how to work with those little'uns was a huge adjustment, but man, kindies are HILARIOUS. I've never laughed so much on a daily basis... it was utterly exhausting keeping up with a class of four and five-year-olds, but oh-so-much fun. Thankfully, I am loving teaching grade 2 just as much (if not more!) than the other grades I have taught, and am so glad I was given the opportunity to take on this role in 2013.

2013 was also the year I discovered TPT. I had never heard of this marvellous site before, and I am so glad I stumbled upon it. It really is a fantastic idea; allowing educators to collaborate and share their creativity online, all while allowing you to be compensated for the immense effort and time spent creating teaching resources. For many years, I had scratched my head in wonder that it was really so necessary to 'reinvent the wheel' in teaching. Yes, I know there are (costly) programs available out there-- but without your school's willingness to invest in a program, you're really on your own. Not to mention that the resources I had seen up until that point were all very old, lackluster photocopies that didn't hold much excitement for me. Finding TPT was like hitting the jackpot-- there are so many cute, creative, and meaningful activities on that website! It's a goldmine! Admittedly, I do spend a lot of time trolling through the English resources and wishing they were available in French (sigh, the perpetual problem of a French teacher!) but there are some pretty great French activities available as well, and hopefully as time goes on the selection of resources will continue to grow.

I think the last major education-related thing that I began in 2013 was blogging. I've blog-stalked for years now, and have several blogs that I navigate to at least a few times a week. But, until this year, blogging was a new thing to me. I admit, at times it's still hard to sit down and write a post. Even when I'll think to myself "hey, it's been a while, I should make a blog post..." there's always that dilemma: do I have anything interesting to say? Anything that people will want to read? So to anyone reading this: thank you for sticking around as I get used to the whole blogging thing! :)

Is there anything new that you tried in 2013 and enjoyed? Anything you regretted?

Now that 2014 is here, I hope that you have all had a restful break and are looking forward to heading back to work. My class will be living through many changes, as we have a new student joining us and, I've just learned, another student leaving our class. Lots of transitions! But, I have a great group of kids and I'm confident it will go well. We go with the flow :)

My class and I will be starting our week with a discussion about resolutions: what are our strengths? Our weaknesses? What would we like to improve upon in 2014? As we write up our resolutions, I'll be using a mini-unit I put together called "Bonne année 2014".

{Bonne Année 2014!} A mini-unit for the New Year in Immers

Check it out if you're looking for a way to kick off the new year in your classroom!