Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Classroom Evolution

Tonight was my 12th Open House.  12 years have flown by..wowza!!!
I always love Open House.  The children come in with their new haircuts, tans, and always carry a little excitement with a tinge of nervousness.  Who am I going to get?  Who is in my class?  Who is sitting near me?  What is my teacher like?
Tonight I looked around my own classroom and was amazed at the blessings around me.  We worked really hard to get it together again.  I remember the days when all Mrs. E. and I had was a closet full of crap and our charming personalities.
Now we have so much stuff, I'm packing things on a cart to donate to new teachers!  Not to say we aren't always spending money on clothing, food, pencils, ink, paper, etc.   We still have to spend money we don't have, but as far as having a room equipped for children of all needs, I feel we are in an amazing place.  It has been a journey!

Here is an evolution of our special classroom:

Year One:  NEWBIES
I am a BRAND NEW EC Teacher.  I have no idea what I am doing.
Mrs. E. and I meet, and I think "no way is this going to work, she seems way too proper for me". (she is totally not proper)
We have nothing in our room except for "leftovers".  Puzzles missing pieces, books missing covers, and games missing parts.  We have a new principal and new Super. and have no idea the process for asking for things, and I have no clue how to navigate the paperwork.
Like a brand new married couple, Mrs. E. and I were poor but happy.  We made all our own things, and bought used books from bargain sales.  I pulled out the music, magic, and paint!  We learned through magical journeys and books-  astronauts suits made out of cereal boxes, Thanksgiving Buffet, and colors with homemade ribbon wands.  It was actually one of my happiest years!

What are we doing?

We at least had a US map.

Grants and a Nationwide Classroom Makeover, made our classroom The BOMB.  The only problem is that the Mrs. E. and I had to pull the "Big Reveal" out of our butts!  The Makeover team dropped the ball.  They shipped the stuff, but did nothing else.  We worked hard, and had an amazing Reveal (televised) for the kids the next year. (Still learning more about that paperwork.)

not just kids in my room, but kids in the community came out to rally

Our principal and director find funding to order more programs, books, math, and materials for our students!  whoooo. hooo.  I find additional grant money for communication devices.  We meet specialist who advise us on better ways to set up our room. We have a new third TA this year.  It scared us, but we fell in love with Mrs. M. (and everyone hates me because I have the best teacher aids ever)! This year I achieve my National Boards in Special Ed.!  This year we get an anonymous donation of a Smartboard!!!!  My principal said quit asking questions.  I keep asking.  She says..STOP IT!  I quit asking questions.  I heart my Smartboard.
(What!?!?  The paperwork has changed? I just learned how to do it.)

This trampoline kicked the can after three years, but we LOVED it for three years.

Year 4: BABY and KINDER
I remember this as a year of kids who "Leave and Enter".  I had more students appear and disappear than any year of my life.  I probably did twenty IEPs!  It was insane.  Also, I was pregnant with Carlee and had a struggling kinder.  I remember Mrs. E. really helping me with whole group.  Always the support system, she held me up. (I was doing paperwork the day before I gave birth.)

New classroom, new collaboration, and Mrs. E. find outs she has the Big C.  This time I try to be the support system.  Mrs. L. our sub. comes in and does a great job.  She learns experiences she will later apply to her new job as kinder TA!!  This was a wild year, but a learning year.  We are provided MACbooks and the kids favorite- iPads!  (Does this mean more paperwork?)
This swing kicked the can after 1 YEAR!

Year 6:  HOPE
New staff changes, new room design, and TEACCH.  I have a lot of anxiety and worry- more changes. more changes. more changes.  My principal has a way of dealing with me during these times- STOP IT!!
We have no idea what this year will be like, but I do know we have some really positive things going on already.  Mrs. E. is healthy.  Yip- eeeee!  We have a large population that will be brand new to us, we have new teachers, and we have a new room design set up to model some of the TEACCH training learned by our specialists.  I can't say how we will all work together, but we had a big time fixing our room.  Lots of laughing, working, and laughing.  I think you can do anything if you love your work.  (I have more paperwork to do, due tomorrow, I don't love paperwork!)

I think you can see from the pictures that in the words of Virginia Slim "You've [We've] Come a Long Way Baby!"

BEFORE:  (note my children helping)


We covered this pole into a pencil and then we got "fire marshaled"! and had to take it down.



We decided to paint it into a pencil!!! ha. Fire Marshall.

Thanking God for Rich Blessings!
It's been an awesome evolution.

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