Back to the Classroom and an End-of-Summer Trip

After exactly two months out of my classroom, I spent two marathon days in my room at the beginning of the week. It was a little odd to be back after so long away, but I have quickly found my way back into “school mode.” The past two days have been full of sifting through all of the papers that I held onto during the year, organizing materials, and shifting furniture. I will post some pictures of my new classroom layout at some point next week. I am already being much more intentional about making sure that my classroom arrangement and design lines up more smoothly with my personal theory of learning — I’ve put almost nothing on the walls to ensure that the students have plenty of room to display their creations and I’m situating their seating arrangements far differently than I did last year. I am hoping that it will be a learning environment that will grow with us during the year, rather than confining us and our thinking.

We had a school staff meeting on Monday, so I was also able to get all of the scheduling information that I needed to plan my schedule for the year. I’m going to be trying out a few new things in terms of shaping the learning time, including an “Independent Learning Time” in the afternoons, where students will be able to work on any project of their choosing or continue to work on other things that they may have started earlier. I’m also going to be making sure that I do one Spanish lesson a week with my students — my school doesn’t offer foreign language, so I’ve been studying up so that I can teach them myself!

My weekly schedule breakdown looks like this (at the moment, anyway). We actually have a pretty long school day, but I’m already feeling really worried that I won’t have nearly enough time to fit everything in — my units tend to be long, interdisciplinary, and quite involved… We’ll see how it goes!

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 9.46.42 AM

I start my official staff requirements at school next week. As a final summer hurrah, I am heading on a trip to Canada this weekend. I haven’t been since I was really young (and have no recollections whatsoever about the trip), so it will be exploring somewhere new for the first time, which I love. I’m going to be visiting Quebec City and Montreal. It should be a great way to wrap up the summer!

Advertisements

Welcome to My Blog!

Meet “Q,” my classroom mascot.

Welcome to cultivatingquestioners.com! I am a first-year educator about to begin teaching second grade in rural Maine.

I’ve decided to keep this blog as a way to keep my critical lenses active as I move away from the realm of being a student to being the individual facilitating instruction in the classroom. In this blog, I hope to post weekly reflections on my own practice, my experiences implementing curriculum with my students, my thoughts about developments in education, and tips and tricks for educators also trying to break through the status quo in classroom practice. Through an assortment of different types of posts, I hope to engage in a dialogue about all aspects of the field of education.

The image accompanying this post is of “Q,” my classroom mascot. I plan to call my students “The Curious Questioners” this year, in hopes of encouraging them to keep asking questions, as I believe it is learning to interrogate that will aid my students in becoming critical thinkers and lifelong learners. Similarly, “Q” is also designed to embody this value in a tangible way. He will be posted on my classroom door and students, parents, and other visitors will see him every time they walk in the door. I hope that these simple, yet intentional practices will help remind my second graders to channel their natural curiosity into questions for their peers to explore.

With my very first “first day of school” less than three weeks away, I am working hard on developing curriculum and on setting up my classroom. Stay tuned for future posts that will feature a tour my classroom and an introduction to my September unit of study: Biographies and You!