Sunday, August 21, 2011

Slow Start

As you know, I'm starting at a new school this year.  When I was hired I was told that all students from 7th grade and up would have an iPad to use this school year and that my 5th and 6th graders would have a cart of 20 iPads to share.  Cool!  I was excited, and it was one reason why I decided to sign on to the school.

The iPad2s are here.  A very nice and fun tool.  However, I'm missing a few things.  Basically, the infrastructure is not quite there yet for us to start the school year using the shiny new toys.  Instead, I must rely on the new computer lab right across the hall from me for the first couple of months.  As my wife reminded me, it's not such a bad thing.  Right now I'm overwhelmed with everything else being new.  It's nice to not have to worry about the iPads as well.

Since I'm also going to be a couple months behind the first wave of teachers starting with iPads this year, I'll have a glimpse of what works and what doesn't... at least I hope so.

For the time being, here are the apps I have downloaded that I think may help me be a better teacher or make my students better learners. 
IEP Checklist

What about you? What do you have on your iPad?  What's working in your classroom?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My New Classroom

Early this summer, I was at school for a few different things, and I happened to get a tour of my new classroom.  I wish I had taken a picture of it.  It literally was the junk room. All unused furniture and other assorted stuff wound up in this classroom.  When I went in it was a mess.  I was told that they had already started clearing it out.  There was a lot of junk.
Over the summer it got cleared out.  They put a fresh coat of paint on the walls, ripped up the old carpet, and waxed the hardwood floor.  On August 1, we went to meet with my principal briefly and started to plan the move in.  Here is the room we saw that day.
In the past two weeks, I’ve done what I could to squeeze classroom work in between my wife's job, the my summer job, family time, meetings, car shopping, sleep, and meals.  Yesterday, when my wife came home from work a little after 2:30, I loaded up the car and headed up to school.  I told her I was going to work till I was finished or I dropped.  I’m glad to say that I left at 8:45 and am just about done setting up the physical room.  There are still a few little things, but here is what it looked like when I left the evening of August 16.

Inservice starts bright and early Friday morning.  Orientation is Monday afternoon, and Tuesday is the first full day of school.  I have a lot of planning to do before I’m ready for the kids to come into the room, but I’m glad that the room looks ready for them, even if I’m not.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Setting Things Up

Inservice is on Friday.  My room is a mess.  Let me back up...

Since I'm new to the school, they had to create a classroom for me.  What they did was clear out the junk room, which was once a rather sizable room.  They painted.  They ripped up the carpet.  They waxed the hardwood floor.  It looks pretty good new... old-fashioned but good.  The room was devoid of any storage or furniture aside from the standard desks, chairs, and file cabinets.  Today, I walked in and found bookshelves in my room, so I could finally start unpacking.  It's a long process moving 17 years of my career into another classroom in another state, but it'll get done. I'm not sure when, but it'll get done.

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Since I'm going into a new school, there are all sorts of new things to learn: curriculum, programs, ways of doing things.  With that said, have you ever used Thinking Maps as a writing method?  I went to a short seminar on it earlier in the summer and forgot most of what I learned.  I just cracked open the teacher binder.  Give me your thoughts and ideas.  Thanks for the tips!