Saturday, June 16, 2012

"Now you're just somebody that I used to know..."

I. made. it.


I survived this insane year and still plan to give it a go again next year.

I still fantasize about having a cubicle every now and then, but now that "school's out for summer" I can put those visions of rubber band balls, paper airplane wars, taking a vacation sometime other than the two most expensive times to travel, painting my nails in between emails, and water coolers aside.

All things considered, I feel like I was fighting an uphill battle all year with the same issues over and over again. Although the last two weeks of school it finally seemed to click with the majority of my kids. Since they weren't issues I've had in the past I'll have to spend some time this summer reflecting on what I need to do differently from the get-go.

However I WILL be singing Gotye's "Somebody I used to know" to at least one little gem (in my head of course). We've all had one. Mine was suspended from school on Thursday (the day before the last day of school) for biting a classmate. Yep. 8 years old. Biting. Awesome. So she missed out on our last day of school festivities and I can't say that I'm sorry about that. It did make for some pretty amusing/inappropriate 'bath salt-sniffing' jokes afterwards.

Friday was a half-day. We did our usual all-teacher bus-waving send off and then it was straight into the library for sorting classes for next year. In the past, we've done it earlier during a planning time but the admin decided it worked better for all grade levels to do it all at once in one spot. My best friend who abandoned me moved to a new school last year was telling me about their class-sorting and I just about passed out. She said it is standard for all the teachers to email the grade level with rising students and principal to call dibs on what/who they want. I can't imagine what kind of stress and mess that makes for everyone. She told me it took them weeks to sort everything out (she works at a very large, affluent school).

At my school on the other hand (Title I), the principal tells us how many classes we need to make and we go from there. We made 5 classes of rising third graders. We also don't sort with specific teachers in mind. We label the classes A, B, C, and so on. First we decide were to put the LD and gifted students. This year we had to split the LD into two classes because we had so many. The gifted (and potentially gifted) all go in the same class. Then we go from highest to lowest reading level and sort them into classes making sure we have groups of 5-6 students at each reading level so the teacher will have ready-made groups rather than a whole bunch of outliers. We also make sure that each class has a range of reading levels so no one teacher is stuck with all the low/high kids. Each class ended up with At least one above grade level group, at least one below grade level group, and a few in between. After that we make "even trades" to even out the boy-to-girl ratio and separate any behavior issues. The whole thing takes about 15-20 mins. Over the summer the principal and guidance counselor look over the lists and match each class to the best-fit teacher. I felt pretty good about our sorting this year, hopefully they will be successful in third grade!

Now I'm working on my summer to-do list. Here are a few items on my list:

  • Find new baskets for my classroom library. Mine are starting to fall apart and they are the wrong colors.
  • Figure out a better organization system for math manipulatives
  • Research and plan for Guided Math/Daily 5 Math next year (I've always wanted to do this!)
  • Create more Words Their Way board games like these
  • Complete our Long Range Plans for next year
  • Host another shoe giveaway :)
And now because this was a music-reference heavy post I'm leaving you with my new summer anthem. It's not totally off-topic because the singer, Kimbra, is featured with Gotye in "Somebody I used to know." Also I wouldn't kick Mark Foster (from Foster the People) out of bed for eating crackers. Just sayin'. Enjoy!


  1. It is looking like we have some similar goals for our summers. I am unhappy with my baskets as well, but have decided to attempt the following "cheap" plan for this year as I already have a million baskets. I am going to decide on a theme color and spray paint them, and then get some ribbon with a themey print that I enjoy and wind it through the holes on the upper end. I'm going for a moose and cupcakes thing for next year. So I'm playing around with the idea of doing a light green and brown base, and then finding some cupcake printed ribbon.

    I am with you on the math manipulative thing- but I'm also trying to figure out how to organize EVERYTHING...

    I am also researching the small group math deal. I'm half way through the book Guided Math by Sammons. I'm enjoying it thus far, generated a lot of ideas. I liked her schedule plan for meeting with small groups. I'll try to remember to bring the book tomorrow so you can peek at it.

    And I'm also wanting to create working with words activities so I can bring that back into the mix without it having to take a back burner.

    Perhaps we can figure out how to have a group huddle at least twice this summer.

  2. Just found your cute blog! We are your newest follower. Check us out if you get a chance at:

    -Katie and Lisen

  3. So, when my grade level met to group a few weeks ago During our planning time there was a fire "drill". Our grade level chair pulled us in the room. A few minutes later we hear sirens! Haha! So we rushed out. Turns out there was a small kitchen fire. Oops!

    We group similarly, but we mix up everyone but SPED together.

    Happy Summer Break!