Here we are, August 1st, just 12 days before school begins. Actually, the students have 12 days. We teachers only have seven. Seven more official days of summer vacation are left, although most of the teachers in my building have already been working in their rooms. I will be teaching second grade and have a new classroom this year. The best thing about my new room is that it was formerly occupied by a 30-year veteran, who left lots of books and materials behind when she retired. The worst thing about my new room is that it was formerly occupied by a 30-year veteran, who left lots of books and materials behind when she retired. The cabinets and shelves and file drawers are just filled with stuff. It’s great to have so much material available to me, but the thought of sorting through it all has me a little nonplussed. (You’ve used that word. It does not mean what you think it means. Most people think it means unfazed, or not bothered. It actually means the opposite: bewildered or perplexed.)
I have eight days until Open House, so instead of focusing on all of the stuff in my room, I’m going to work on making my room appear ready. (Darling, it is better to look good than to feel good.) This is not to say that I am going to neglect my lesson plans or other important things, but I think most parents would rather see a put-together room on Open House night. I have the wall outside my room decorated:
I also have one bulletin board finished inside my room. The idea of using the paint chips for synonyms and interesting words came from Pinterest. Eventually it evolved into this:
One of our focus areas this year will be vocabulary, and this board encourages students to vary their word choice when they write. The “boring” or overused word is on the lightest color of the paint chip, and alternatives are on the more “colorful” samples. One of our new standards for second grade is to distinguish “shades of meaning” among similar words. For example, thin, slender, skinny, and scrawny have similar, but not exactly the same meanings. I have added some examples to get the ball rolling, and we will continue to add to it throughout the year.
The background of this board is made from pages copied from some of my favorite books.
Here you can see the first page of the first Harry Potter book, along with Charlotte’s Web and The Tale of Despereaux. Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo, is chock-full of colorful words. One of my favorites is perfidy. It means a deliberate and treacherous betrayal. It’s a horrible thing in real life, but it’s a perfectly lovely fairy tale word.
I also have some fabric to make some curtains for my door and windows, and a stack of books around which to plan lessons. One big advantage I have is that after three weeks, we will get the week of Labor Day off school. Our county fair is that week and in our rural area many students are involved in fair activities through 4-H or FFA. Right now my focus is those first three weeks, and then I will have time to breathe, regroup, and treasure hunt in my cabinets and files.
**Bonus points to anyone who can identify the two sections of this post that must be read with an accent!