have been away from teaching for about 10-12 days. You hopefully felt relaxed and were able to catch up on some well-deserved sleep and rest. I know that is probably a little idealistic, but it sounded positive! Well, in reality you are just NOW able to relax and catch up on sleep and tomorrow is New Year's Eve!

In a few more days, for most of you, it is back to schedules, lesson planning, testing, interventions, parent communication, listening, counseling and of course sugared up worn out kiddos!  You walk into the classroom and on Day 1, the students seem tired but okay.... You feel exhausted.  it is the first day that you and the children have not slept late and actually let's face they as well as you are in a sugar coma from all the cookies, candies, gingerbread houses, lollipops, staying up late and doing whatever they and you wanted to do for the past week and a half.

Day 2 comes and if the truth be told, you wonder what you even taught, what you planned for the week, why you are here and your desk is filled with empty coffee mugs that you did not have a chance to throw out or wash due to sleep deprivation for past 2 days and worst of all, your kiddos have seemed to forget everything and anything you taught!  Rules, how to spell, classroom procedures have seemed to gracefully float out the window on the clouds.

Never fear here are some things to remember when you get back into the classroom after the New Year!
  • Give your students a soft landing: time to chat with friends and share their Winter Break experiences.
  • Don't assume that your students remember the procedures and as you transition into each stage of your day, take a few minutes to review your expectations for everything and anything!
  • Work slowly the first week and give many Brain Breaks or choose some activities that are knesthetic. 
  • Choose some fun activities to start your week. Perhaps a New Years Booklet for children to reflect on memories of 2014 and goals for 2015 would be a great way to start the week.
  • It may even be necessary to add an extra recess and play some group games to develop cooperative play (playing on video games all day is not promoting sportsmanship!)
  • Give yourself a well deserved soft landing by simplifying your plans.  One week will not make or break the curriculum!
  • Remember to do your best and your best depends on the day, how you feel and what's happening in your class with YOUR students.
  • Don't compare your class to your colleagues' class!
  • And....check out all the products on Teachers pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook.  We have done all the work to save you time so you, hopefully, were able to enjoy your holiday or land softly into your first week back!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I decided to remove all my shoes out of the closet to reorganize and see exactly what I had going on in there.  After all, I am retired and isn't that something all retirees should do at some point during the fall when everyone is back teaching and you are sitting home? Of course the shoes were, and I emphasize were, in pairs, but it was a challenging job to get them all out so I thought...oh let me just remove them from the closet as quickly as I can and I can pair them up as I put them back in...well...when I turned around...this is what I found. Now...just to help you with this visual image (we tell our students to visualize as a a comprehension strategy. So...we probably should do the same) the pile was about 2 feet high and 5-6 feet wide with shoes in every which direction...I am thinking my infinite wisdom was a little off last night! Why did I decide to tackle this project at 9PM tonight?  I am still trying to answer that question! 

Now...I did get all the shoes minus a few pairs that made it into the trash back into the closet and there were 112 pairs of shoes...perhaps, as friends suggested...I am the Imelda Marcos of Springfield, but somehow I think there is someone out there who may have more shoes than I do...I know my friend Cleo did and she is up above tap dancing on the clouds with glee in her leopard stilettos I write this!!

If you are a teacher, you may already see where I am going with this and how this relates to teaching without the connection I am about to share.  How many times did you think about reorganizing or throwing something out only to find that you were afraid you might need it somewhere down the road? Some of you probably thought this very thought before you left school or work today! is my suggestion...scan it and save it on your thumb-drive, flash-drive or whatever you want to call it and toss the hard copy in the trash! This idea is more for the seasoned teacher than the youngin's because the "newbies" have been doing this before they became teachers and that is why their classrooms appear to be so much more organized.  Of course we ALL start the year extremely organized, but then it happens...the kiddos come in and it is nonstop till June! So here comes suggestion 2:  After each unit of study, before leaving school for the weekend, quickly go through what you REALLY need and toss the rest.  Let's face the facts, even if you toss it, need it later and forget to save it, chances are someone will have it on their flash-drive and you WILL have it!

Some researchers feel that an organized classroom leads to better learning because children are less distracted.  I have added some sites and books that you can browse to support organization in the classroom below!

The Organized Teacher

The Cornerstone

So...Let's get going!
Today has been an interesting day for me.  The teachers from my district (my former colleagues) had their first day back.  I have to felt a bit strange not going back to school today so my friend, who also retired last year, and I decided to go to breakfast to celebrate our new found freedom. We chose to go to the Llanerch Diner and we were seated at the booth in which Bradley Cooper sat in when filming "Silver Lining Playbook."  Well that in itself was a great way to start the morning. As we left, the owner said," Did you enjoy sitting in the same booth as Bradley Cooper?" which I replied, " Yes, but it would be a lot better if he were sitting with us!" Of course I was kidding...well sort of kidding. I mean it really would have been nice to sit with him, but that, I would say is pretty much a mute point. new journey begins and it begins with a quote from Joel Osteen, "Bloom where you are!"
Yes, my friend and I have to "bloom where we are" and do the best we can do in our new venture. But, all the teachers that are going back to school this week should also bloom where they are!  They have been given the rewarding responsibility of some new smiling faces and yes, you...the teachers... are the ones who have to be their teacher, mother, psychologist, nurse, friend, listener, comforter just to name a few of the "hats" you will wear this year as a teacher. With this new beginning, feel fortunate to have the opportunity to make a difference in your kiddos' lives. "Bloom where you are," make the best of each day, bring back the fun in learning and have fun while you are teaching.

My Upper Floor team had a blast last year making the best of everyday and doing our best in all the roles we played.  Some of us dressed as snowmen for Halloween, 100th Day old women for the 100th Day of School, dressed as an insect when teaching insects(and the children made insect headbands),
dressed as clouds when we taught clouds and even hugged a skunk! Yes, we did BLOOM and the children loved to come to school everyday to see what might happen next. Did they learn? YES. Did they have fun while learning? YES. Did we have fun teaching? YES WE DID!

So, I challenge every teacher and actually everyone to bloom where you are and enjoy the journey...there is only one! Kathy


Calendar with our Roar Into Learning Theme

Front of the Classroom

Writing Center with a Fancy Nancy Word Wall for using more colorful words.
Fancy Nancy Word Wall