Sunday, August 19, 2012

My New to Me Room

Not much to blog about this week other than the overwhelming feeling I have (like many others) about what I am doing and how I am getting it done.  Our state has switched over to Common Core this year, which is great, but I was a trainer for our new Social Studies Essential Standards that roll out this year as well so I missed all of our language arts training sessions.  And to top it off, I am now teaching Science instead of Social Studies - can we say STRESSED?  And another addition...I am also a new (as in recently certified, never done this before) AIG Specialist in 7th grade and am struggling to understand and complete the paperwork for new students placing into the program and meeting with those parents, plus dealing with my own students.  ENOUGH of my whining though!

I was lucky enough to move into one of the newer, more spacious rooms on our campus this year (yeah, add that to all the stress of learning Common Core and Science over the summer).  I teach at a middle school that was an old high does have character with many room having creaky wooden floors, steam radiators for heat, windows that do not open (or close entirely), and very small rooms.  Last year I had 28 - 6th graders in my room.  We had no room for a small group table, well we didn't even have room to sit on the floor.  Any time we needed to do a spread  out, work on the floor, movement type activity - we headed to the hallway!

So, to say the least, I am very lucky to have this new to me room even with its bowling alley shape.  It has a sink, storage, and plenty of room for all 30 of my student desks.  The biggest bonus - no real bulletin boards!  Yay me!  It is a work in progress, since students arrived this past Monday...adjustments will be made to make it more conducive to active learning.  I will be getting a SMARTboard at some point when it arrives - I just hope it doesn't hang out in the room for a couple of months before they get around to hooking it up for our class. 

Without further ado - here are some pictures of  my room!  I tried to make it not quite so prissy, but neat and organized and somewhat color coordinated.  So far, it makes me happy!

Back of room, the only bulletin board type area.  Objectives, assignments, etc on that board.  Also room to work with small groups.
Our dystopian literature circles study - all of our interdisciplinary units are planned around these novels. 
Scientific Method for science (yes, I teach 2 AIG language arts classes and 2 standard science classes).
Nonfiction Text Features reminders - perfect for both language arts and science!  These were found through a pinterest score.  They were created by Beth Newingham and can be found at her Scholastic Blog. Click on her name to go to her site where you can download them for  FREE!
The front of the room.  The board is off center and it drives me crazy (I did not set up this room, I inherited this way).  BUT - there will be a new SMARTboard hanging out on the wall in the near future.  It will be centered on that wall, starting under the flag, so it will work better for all students to be able to see.  Can you tell that I am a huge The Big Bang Theory fan?  One of my students last year gave me that poster for my birthday.
The side wall with the storage and door. most fabulous computer stand/teaching desk.  The classroom rules are posted here as well (using an Ikea bar) to create a little artwork on the wall.
Our class/team rules.  At first, this was a great idea I had, but then as I painted and attempted to attach all these frames together I thought this was one of the dumbest ideas I had ever tried.  It looks ok, I know it isn't all straight and such...but I am calling that creativity and character so that my OCD self can deal with it.  If you try this, trust me on this idea - take out the glass and use old school overheard transparencies!  I took out all of the glass before attempting to hang it to make it lighter - so glad I did as it crashed to the ground on the first hanging attempt. 
The wall opposite the door.  It will become my word wall.  Of all the things in my classroom, my word nerd wall poster creation is my absolute favorite!  I put the graphic I purchased with the words and uploaded that to Staples and they had it printed for me before I even arrived at the store. 
 I hope you have enjoyed this sneak peek into my classroom.  It will soon not look this neat and clean as these were taken the first day of school before students entered the room.  Thanks for stopping by and feel free to share any ideas you may have to make the room better.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

ISN - Links and More

This post is way overdue and I must admit should have probably been one of the first that I posted to help everyone understand my journey with interactive notebooks in language arts.  As I have said in the past, there were not many resources available at the beginning of my journey with using interactive notebooks in language arts classes.  So...I relied on one of my great friends, Google, to help me search and search and search (you get the picture).  What I did find were many sites and bits of information about using ISNs in social studies, science, and even math.  Being the creative thieving teacher that I am, I took what information I could find and "made it fit" my needs.

I had saved several of these informative sites to my favorites on my computer.  Some of the links still work while some can no longer be found.  Anyway, I did a quick Google search and found a few more sites that I felt had information that could be used to help understand ISNs and also help someone considering using ISNs in their classroom make an informed decision.  I also snapped a few pictures of the Dinah Zike foldables books that I have used in my ISNs over the past couple of years.

One thing that I recommend you do if using ISNs is that you create a teacher notebook as you go through the school year...completing pages/assignments as students do.  This helps to keep everyone on the same page and you have a great record of what students need to do when they are absent.  They can grab your notebook and use it to get caught up and have a guide for where to glue pages and what was missed.  I would also suggest that you create a separate notebook for each class that you teach.  Modeling for each class is so much easier if you just start over instead of showing them your notebook from the previous class. 

Click on the goldish words below to visit that web page.  You may have to do a little searching on that page to find the information related to interactive notebooks - I tried to point you to the main page of each site.  Each foldables book is linked to the book at the Dinah Zike store, just click the picture and it will take you to that specific store page.

History Alive (the birth of interactive notebooks)
Interactive Notebooks (a wiki-space with many logistics)
A Teacher's Treasure (Mor Zrihen's blog all about ineractive notebooks)
Mr. Roughton 2.0 (many assignments that can be adapted for ISN use)
Mrs. Campbell
Stirling English
Mrs. Edwards
Ms. Perez
Science Notebooking
Middle School Science
Teaching Social Studies (this is one of my favorites with very useful info by Mrs. Gannon)
Huff English
Joseph Hill (just found this one today...a new favorite with TONS of info)
EHOW (quick tutorial)
Setting up the Interactive Notebook (Slideshare powerpoint)
Click on the picture to go to the Dinah Zike store for more information about this book. 
Click on the picture to go to the Dinah Zike store for more information about this book.
Click on the picture to go to the  Dinah Zike store for more information on this book.
Click on the picture to go to the Dinah Zike store for more information on this book.
Click on the picture to go to the Dinah Zike store for more information about this book.
I hope all of this information is helpful.  Good luck with your interactive notebook journey.  I will try to answer any questions that I can, if possible.