Thoughts on my tenth (!!!) year of teaching

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My new high school classroom theme: Scrabble....... Love this idea! Can use it too with Social Studies vocab!
Bring on the Scrabble theme!

My friend Erica and her son Levi came over today for a cool weather walk and some lunch. We had a great chat about all sorts of things, but both of us kept commenting on how we can't believe school starts in just one short month (from tomorrow!). This summer has been incredible so far, and I'm glad we still have another month to enjoy before we give it up. 

And then I started thinking about how this will be my TENTH year of teaching! How has it been TEN YEARS since I started teaching? It's honestly a little unreal to me. 

I'm so excited for this school year for so many reasons. And I LOVE that I'm still excited about my job!

My newspaper staff is going to be outstanding! We accomplished so much last year in the digital and social media realms, and I know there are wonderful things coming down the pipeline for us this year too. It's going to take a lot of hard work to elevate our content, but I know these kids are ready for it! 

My juniors are going to have a challenging and awesome year ahead of them, and I'm going to have a challenging and awesome time planning some new lessons for them. We're getting new textbooks any day now, and I can't wait to really get into the content and see what sorts of things I'm going to open their eyes too! 

I've been spending a lot of time looking around the web trying to find new ideas for my classroom, and I think I've found a few I'm really set on. 

1. Scrabble theme! I really want to tie this in to my classroom this year! I think it would be fun to do Scrabble boards around our different units. Now, to find an awesome computer generated Scrabble board template so that I don't have to hand make all these letters! 

2. Promoting my classroom library. I have a lot of books in my classroom that just sit on the shelves! They're there so that students can check them out and read them for fun, but it's rarely taken advantage of. I think I need to do more with promoting and highlighting the books for my students -- maybe by doing some sort of "speed dating" with each of them so they know what sorts of things are there for them to use. 

3. Using more literature circles. My junior class is two trimesters, and in the second trimester, students read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Great Gatsby. During the first trimester, though, students are supposed to read two American literature novels on their own. It's been a struggle for years for me to find a great way to really check to see if students are reading. This year, I think I'll choose five books and have students do literature circles to discuss. I think this will also really set them up for success when it comes time to read and discuss our large group reads. 

4. eHow's Erica Green gives some great ideas for First Day of School Activities are awesome! She has a great idea about partnering students up using celebrity pairings, and I think that would be so fun! She also has a great idea about using Jeopardy to review classroom procedures and activities. I think it would be a fun way to get students involved on day one. 

So, while I'm glad there's still some summer left, I feel good that I have a solid plan to start back with! 

That's all for now! (P.S. I skipped making my wreath today, but may try to start on it tomorrow! I need to make one more trip to Michael's though, so we'll see!) 


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