Rebuilding and Redecorating–Updates!

The other day I shared about how we’re rethinking, rebuilding and redecorating in Rm. 201.  I worked feverishly on Thursday and Friday last week, hoping to have most of our big moves done before the new week started today.  It didn’t happen, because eventually I had to go home :), so I continued working today, using the class’ ideas from the maps/plans they had made.

I’m still working on the last few details–labels on boxes, signs/charts/posters, reorganizing game/math shelf–but I had to share the new version of our room with you.  I know I said it before, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE how all of these ideas came from my kids!  In all of the years I have been teaching, organizing and planning classrooms, I would never had put the furniture this way, but it is hands down my favorite plan ever.  The learners in my class really do know themselves well, and know what their space should look like for them to feel comfortable and relaxed and ready to dig in.

I apologize for some of these, it was late afternoon and there may be some shadows.  But I just couldn’t wait.  Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow in better light.  You’ll get the idea, though: our room looks and feels great!

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I wish I had taken pictures of the “before” the other day before I started moving stuff, but you can get a pretty good idea of what it used to look like if you go back to the early days of the blog–at least what it looked like when I started.  Maybe you can come see it in person someday.  It’s way better being there anyway, because then you can also see how great it feels!



New Technology!

Wait–it’s not new to the world, or new to the school, but new to us!

Today we used ActivExpressions for the first time.  Don’t know what I mean?  Check out this picture:

Ok, sorry for the quality of that pic, but hopefully you get the idea.  It looks alot like a cell phone, but is connected to our ActivBoard, and can be used to answer questions (using multiple choice format), or you can even text in your answer to a constructed response question!

We are getting ready to take a test at the end of our Force and Motion unit in science, and so were ready to review today.  Instead of playing a game, or just answering questions out of the book, we used a flipchart on the ActivBoard that had questions we could answer using the ActivExpressions.  Here’s a random page from the flipchart we were using, to give you a better idea of what we were doing:

There were a couple of questions where the kiddos had to text in their answer, and they TOTALLY LOVED that part of our science review:


I loved how I kept hearing them say that, “This is so fun!”  My class loves science and socials studies (well they love everything we do, really), but you gotta love how a little change in the format, and an addition of a gadget and you’ve got their attention.   We will definitely we using these again soon.  Well, tomorrow, actually, because we didn’t finish today. 🙂

One of Those Days

Ok, so really the title should have said, “One of Those Days.”  You know, with the emphasis on those. But what’s really cool, is that I get to use it in a completely different way that you’re expecting, I’m sure.  Not one of those days where it’s Monday and everything goes completely wrong (or at least not according to your plans), and you leave at the end of the day tired and frustrated and ready to crawl into your bed (oh, come, you know you have those, too!).

Today was one of those days where you wake up to fog, expecting the drive to take FOREVER to get to work (I live about 25 miles from school), but instead, the commute was pretty light, and you make record time.  And then, even though you left the classroom a complete mess on Friday (because you had an inspiration for more furniture moving but then it was time to go home), your kids totally went with the flow, while you gave the directions “Do not sit at tables yet,” and continued to figure out where they’d go in the layout of the room.  Then, even though it was the morning after the Super Bowl and you suspected many of your students may have been up too late and eaten too many goodies, they were in amazingly great moods–not a cranky, sleepy one in the bunch. 

It was one of those days that just gives you energy to keep doing what you’re doing; energy that you save up for when the “those” means all the wrong things.  It was one of those days that we just enjoyed being together and learning together and everyone left with a smile on their face–partly because it was a great day and partly because you finally made the Cinnamon Nut Coffee Cake muffins that you’ve been promising for a week (thanks to the Mitchell family for their amazing recipe!). Can’t wait to have one of those days again. 🙂

How was your Monday?  What kind of day did you end up with today?