Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Calling ALL Teachers!!!


Ok, so my first two days of orientation are OVER!!! So, as a new teacher, I now have the "what nows?" I'm teaching 7th and 8th English. How do you decorate your room? What kind of discipline plan do you use? What are your classroom rules??? How do you set up your classroom?? Arghhhhhhhhhhhhh! Give me what you got! I haven't met my mentor yet, but this is kinda how I feel right now. Ha:)

16 comments:

CMae said...

Awe it will all come! You have middle schoolers so you don't need to get all cutesy with decorations. You'll need the basics like a calendar, rules, the pledge posted is kinda mandatory for all classrooms/all states. What subjects are you teaching? I've been teaching for 5 years this is going on my 6th. Your first year flies by mark my words!

Preppy in Pink said...

Your awsome! Just do what feels right :)

Scarlett said...

Congratulations! This is my first year back teaching first grade after staying home with my daughter for 6 years, so I can relate to your nervousness!

I suggest checking out some teacher message boards (AtoZ Teacher Stuff Forums and ProTeacher Community are good ones!) and also some teacher's websites on your level/subject. Also, "Whole Brain Teaching" is great for middle schoolers.

You will do awesome and they will love you!

Practically Perfect... said...

Awww - you're going to be fine! You have such a great sense of style that I'm sure it'll translate into your room :-)

Keri said...

You will be fine! There are a lot of resources online and hopefully your mentor will be helpful. You may also want to get the book The First Days of School by Harry Wong...it is very thorough and goes into establishing rules, etc. My district gave me a copy when I first started.

Jenn C. said...

As far as decorating my room, I have lots of Literature related posters that I've accumulated over the years, as well as posters of artwork I like. Personally, at the middle school level, I think it's more about making your room homey and not sterile than it is about what you actually put up. Once school gets started, hang up student work--the kids will like to see their stuff on display.

Because of the computer hook ups in my room, I have to have my desk up front, but I've always preferred it in the back of the room for stealth monitoring. I have a large conference table and some chairs in the back of the room on one side, and in the other corner I have a bookshelf and book rack with a chair and a throw rug to create a reading corner. I also "invested" in some stools from Ikea. They're great for group work or for me to use to pull up to a kid's desk and help them with their writing.

Classroom rules and procedures I keep simple. I have 4 or 5 rules, phrased positively (students will arrive to class on time and prepared, will respect other students and all adults in the classroom, etc.) and with specific consequences. In theory, I use a system which results with initials on the board and checkmarks (initials=warning, check 1=phone call home and teacher detention, check 2=phone call home and school detention, check 3=phone call home, referral, sent to discipline office), but I rarely actually use the system. I find most kids respond to the warning. Your biggest challenge the first year will probably be discipline, but it does get easier with each passing year, once you've established a reputation with the school and community. Try your best to use your sense of humor (middle school kids really respond to that), be fair, and don't be a pushover. Too many new teachers try to be friends with the kids, which may make them popular, but doesn't help with keeping the structure that the kids need to learn at this age.

Hope this helps! Sorry for the rambling!

Jenn C. said...

At the middle school level, I think it's more about making your room homey and not sterile than it is about what you actually put up. Once school gets started, hang up student work--the kids will like to see their stuff on display.

Because of the computer hook ups in my room, I have to have my desk up front, but I've always preferred it in the back of the room for stealth monitoring. I have a conference table and some chairs in the back of the room on one side, and in the other corner I have a bookshelf and rack with a chair and a throw rug to create a reading corner. I also "invested" in some stools from Ikea. They're great for group work or for me to use to pull up to a kid's desk and help them with their writing.

Classroom rules and procedures I keep simple. I have 4 or 5 rules, phrased positively (students will arrive to class on time and prepared, will respect other students and all adults in the classroom, etc.). In theory, I use a system which results with initials on the board and checkmarks (initials=warning, check 1=phone call home and teacher detention, check 2=phone call home and school detention, check 3=phone call home, referral, sent to discipline office), but I rarely actually use the system. I find most kids respond to the warning. Your biggest challenge the first year will probably be discipline, but it does get easier with each passing year, once you've established a reputation with the school and community. Try your best to use your sense of humor (middle school kids really respond to that), be fair, and don't be a pushover. Too many new teachers try to be friends with the kids, which may make them popular, but doesn't help with keeping the structure that the kids need to learn at this age.

Hope this helps! Sorry for the rambling!

Domestic Goddess said...

I just did a teacher post today!! I've taught 6-8th grade english for the last 5 years so please ask me anything anytime!!!

for setting up your classroom...go with fun, but organized. i love animal print border. go to walmart and get twilight movie posters. lamps, vanilla plug-ins, and chinese lanterns are my "signature" teacher decor....comfy and cozy and the kids like it!!

on my board tray i always have a row of the newest young adult books with crazy covers to get their attention!

hope this helps....for your discipline, oh girl. my first year i went through about 5 different plans. it's a process of trial and error. just don't yell. if they see you sweat it's all over.

you're going to be great!!!

Leelee said...

I'm so excited for you...here's an idea...At the top of your bulletin board put the cut out letters: A Pick Of Good Books. Then cut out a tree trunk with a few branches out of plain brown construction paper. Using red construction 8x11 paper make an apple shape. Make a white piece approximately an inch and a half smaller...

On your board have a list of what you want the kids to write on the white paper ( you have all the other stuff already on your bb, it looks like an apple tree)
The Title of their favorite book
Their name
A list of Characters
The plot of the book
Why they like the book
What their favorite types of literature are

You have a "personalized" bb and a first day activity...it worked for me for years, the kids made me keep it up for a long time...they enjoyed reading it as did the parents at Open House...

Good Luck!!

South Carolina Belle said...

When it comes to decorating I prefer using color over choosing an overall theme esp. with older grades. I highly recommend investing in cute curtian toppers for your classroom! Curtains can tie in your whole room and give it more of a homey, relaxed feel. As far as discipline goes your school should have a general plan that they can provide you with. Organization is the key to classroom management in my opinion. Don't worry.. you will be great!! Good luck with everything! And if you have not checked out stevespanglerscience.com you should! He has very fun and creative resources and experiments that kids love!

Rural Sophisticate said...

I've been reading your blog for a few weeks on Google Reader because it suggested it to me, but with this post, I felt like I had to stop lurking. I'm a second year English I teacher, and I completely remember feeling the way that you do. When I was decorating my room, I knew that I didn't want to be changing the bulletin board every month, so I made it to last. I got some cheap fabric in school colors and stapled it with a staple gun on my board. Then I got plastic baskets from the dollar store (one from each class) and stapled them on the board for the kids to turn their work in. I also used the fabric to cover up tables around the room that had curse words carved in them :). I didn't have much on the walls at the beginning of school, so any time my students made posters or drawings for an assignment, I would hang them up on the wall.

Best of luck!

The Pink Chick said...

Do you have the book "The First Days of School" by Harry Wong? It is a wonderful book and will help you with a lot of the questions you have. Also, see if some of your fellow teachers are willing to share their discipline plans and other ideas with you. My mentor teacher was a huge help my first year!

You are going to be such a great teacher! Your students are going to love you!!

Elle said...

i am so excited for you! have you ever been to blue eyed runner's blog? I know she's a teacher and she's super friendly and easy to get along with, and I'm pretty sure she teaches middle school or jr high. she might be able to answer some of your questions.

Tickled Pink said...

Oh.. fun! I didnt realize you were a teacher! Congrats and best of luck with your first year. I teach first grade so Im not sure if I would be much help!! But feel free to ask!

mFw said...

Its fun decorating rooms! I say some decorations but with your age group you don't have to go overboard!

Ensley said...

I read the book "See Me After Class" by Roxanna Elden before I started teaching and it really helped me with discipline. It goes over how discipline should fit each child (i.e., for some kids a phone call home is the end of the world, while others could really care less). I think you'll be great. I find that middle and high schoolers just want to be acknowledged and heard for the most part. I just moved to middle school after teaching kindergarten, and I love being able to have ACTUAL conversations with my students. My policy has always been to start off strict and ease up as the school year goes along. Good luck-you will be great!

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