Monday, March 14, 2016

Creative Spaces and Inspirational Places

Principal ponderings:

Spring forward...yes, we all had to move our clocks ahead this weekend, which means we lost an hour, but on a positive not...spring is just about here.  And with the weather being what it has been for the past week, I am thinking that we can look forward to more good days ahead.  Only a week away from the first official day of spring!  This is the time of year when everyone starts thinking about spring cleaning.  Spring cleaning might also mean rearranging.  At least in our house that is what it sometimes means.  My husband loves to rearrange our furniture in a room or reorganize the cupboards and closets when I'm not home.  It's always fun when I suddenly need to hunt for the measuring cups or locate a certain pair of shoes!  (There might have been some slight sarcasm in that last statement.)

But the thoughts of spring cleaning and/or reorganizing got me thinking about my old classroom and how many times I used to change the layout throughout the year.  I loved changing things up quite a bit.  I wish Pinterest had been around when I was teaching.  There are so many creative classroom set ups that teachers are trying out.  And then what's great is they are sharing their ideas online for everyone to see.  I have been participating in a book chat about Donalyn Miller's book, The Book Whisperer, and the chapter that we are discussing this week talks about the spaces in classrooms that are available for independent reading time.  Of course, I am well aware usually our classrooms do not have much space to begin with, but sometimes a little creative energy can make space that you never knew was there!

I might have spent some time getting lost in lots and lots of pins on Pinterest this weekend.  And I am definitely missing the days when I had my own classroom to arrange and rearrange.  Although it's not the same, I did find some pins that I might be able to use in my office.

Here are some pictures and links to get your wheels spinning, thinking about classroom design or redesign...

In this post, 2 teachers talk about how they emptied their classroom and completely redesigned it...definitely not your traditional classroom set up:

Here's a creative use of the chairs in the room for comfy reading...
Unfortunately this teacher's blog link is no longer available
I used to have a million crates...when I was going through my addiction to storage containers stage...check out how this teacher made these great DIY stools!
Have filing cabinets in your about creating a reading nook with them?

Several teachers have been looking into alternative seating, alternatives to having a classroom full of standard desks.  Here is one teacher who did some looking into alternative seating and then shared what she purchased in her classroom:

And here is a teacher who shared a whole bunch of pictures of favorite reading areas in classrooms:

And is a list of 'epic inspirational classroom decor.'  I know you might look at some of these pictures and think it's a little over the top, but I thought you might pick out something in the pictures that would get your creative juices flowing for your own classroom.

Or do your own search to find inspiration for spring cleaning or future planning.  In fact, you will be getting a survey that asks you to think about furniture and needs for your classrooms.  The district is developing a 10 year capital plan which means we need to be thinking about how we will improve the physical space of the school.

If you could create your ultimate classroom in the space you are in now, what would it look like?  And then there's the question of what to do with all of the old furniture...

Currently reading:
I checked out some cute picture books from my local library.  Considering the bug that has been going around school, I thought this one was an appropriate book to read...
I read another book by the same author.  This book reminded me of my husband when he gets frustrated that his students don't practice in between music lessons...

This book put a smile on my face, especially since I am always talking to the kids about how being a student is their job...
And finally, this was a sad one, but certainly a good book to help a child understand when a grandparent suffers from Alzheimer's...

I have also been selecting certain sections to read in the book, The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers.  This is a great resource!  I know that there are several copies in the curriculum office so if you are looking to earn some PDPs in a book club or on your own, this is a good one.  It has 300 strategies to work with readers on!  I have been reading over the strategies in the 'Teaching Reading Engagement' section.  It tells you the strategy, gives you some prompts to use with your students, and then includes a possible anchor chart or visual or template to use.  Everything is broken down to let you know what level reader the strategy would be for, genre, and specific skill.  Check it out!
Here is short video of the author explaining her book:

Events this week:
Monday - Happy Pi Day! Variety Show Practice @ 8:30, It's a marvelous Monday in March...check your mailbox! Zumba with MaryKaye @ 3:30 in the gym
Wednesday - 1st grade school concert @ 9:30 in the PAC, Staff meeting @ 3:30
Thursday - 2nd grade attending 'James and the Giant Peach' 9:30-12:30, Variety Show practice 3:30-6:00, 1st grade concert @ 7:00 in the PAC
Friday - Community Reading Day! Dr. Rodriguez visits FloRo in the am, Variety Show at the PAC @ 7:00!

Great things I noticed last week:

  • On Tuesday, I was hanging out in the OT room and watched Mrs. C working her magic with some of our students.
  • Also on Tuesday, I enjoyed sitting in the lunchroom while kindergarten was eating.  So great to see a student effectively using his assistive tech device to express his needs.
  • On Thursday, I was lucky enough to be the guest teacher during computer lab.  2nd graders were working on creating Google slide presentations about endangered animals.
  • On Friday, I listened in as Mr. Wiesner had the entire 1st grade in his room practicing for their concert this week.
  • Also on Friday, we hosted the admin team from around the district in our building.  Officer Mead and Karen Tuomi continued to work with training us on how to handle different safety issues and protocols to use.  The admin team also had a chance to pop into a kindergarten class, a 1st grade class and a 4th grade class.  They were all impressed with what FloRo students were doing!
  • Student Council members worked hard to get posters put up around the school.  We have Community Reading Day this Friday and we are reinforcing the themes of kindness and empathy from the books being read by having a food and supplies drive for Loaves and Fishes all week.

Check it out:
It's a long article, but an interesting read about distributed leadership ideas:
And since I was posting about this video of the "Evolution of the Desk" (You have to scroll down a little bit to get to the video.