Monday, August 3, 2015

A Peek Inside My "Not Ready" Classroom #notreadytour

Who Am I?
Before I show you my classroom, I should give a quick intro.  My name is Amy Fine (@afinegal), and I teach 6th grade math in Edmond, Oklahoma.

My Twitter/Blog Background
I began teaching at 21 in August 2011.  I discovered the #mtbos in 2012, became more involved in the MathTwitterBlogosphere when I attended Twitter Math Camp 2014, and with the beginning of a new year sort of let it fade into the background.  I checked twitter relatively regularly to read #msmathchat and #oklaed, and I occasionally attended a Global Math Department online conference.  Still, I haven't been very involved this past year.  This summer it has really set in how much being engaged with fellow educators and education leaders can help me development as an educator.  I have been on Twitter more often, and I attended my first Ed Camp at OKEngage.  It was everything I wanted it to be!

2015-2016: A New Year, New Goals
Last year was one of my most successful years yet.  As a fourth year teacher, I felt like I finally was beginning to get this classroom management business figured out.  Overall, I felt like it was an awesome year!  That has given me the confidence to try to "Level Up" my instruction this year.  The highlights: spiraling my assignments and bell work to purposefully re-engage topics throughout the entire year, leveraging technology to increase and improve the feedback students receive on their progress, introducing Growth Mindset concepts into my classroom, and incorporating a few alternative seating options (standing desks and floor seating).

My "Not Ready" Room
So, I follow Vanessa Perez (@vperezy) on Twitter, and she has been posting about the #notreadytour.  I loved checking out the classrooms even if they weren't finished and ready to go so I decided I would take pictures of my room today as well.  Here it is!
The Entrance--Mrs. Larsen taught in my room one hour per day last year but won't be doing so this year so I need to update that.

I like to have my Remind codes up outside my door early so that parents and students who come by on Schedule Pick Up day can go ahead and sign up right away if they want.  These are last year's codes though so I need to update them!
When you walk in, you will see my standing desks in progress.  I think this will be space for two students to work if they choose.  Right now I have the cabinet held up by boxes, but I am building a base for the cabinet to hold it at the proper height.  It's not perfect, but I still think students will like it.  You can see the wood to the right.  I was double checking my measurements were going to work before I build the stand.  The stand will be 12" tall.
At the back of the room, I have an area I can pull students that need extra help.  I particularly use this in my co-taught class.  One of us will help students who ask for extra help while the other teacher continues with whatever she is doing.  This especially happens when it is time to grade an assignment and some students do not have it completed because they felt lost.'

Also, you will see my purposefully "Not Ready" bulletin board.  I will add key words that often signal certain operations up here as we discuss them throughout the year.  This will match our Interactive Notebook entry on writing algebraic expressions from words where we use Julie Reulbach's graphic organizer.
No, he doesn't come with the room ;).  He was enjoying playing with Anglegs (a cool tool, especially when I taught older grades where students learned Pyth. Theorem or Trig.) until I started taking pictures.  This wall will be covered with our "Math About Me" organizers first.  Eventually, I take them down and they glue them in their interactive notebooks as their first page.  Several things go up here throughout the year.

Cabinets where I throw all my disorganized junk.  I should put something on that orange bulletin board, but last year, I never put anything on it.  You can see my clickers on the floor, too.  They should be in the cabinet, but I need to go through and replace batteries first.  Some brilliant person designed these clickers to require a screw driver to access the batteries which is a huge pain.
My big math clock, inspired by this one you can buy, but mine is bigger and written in chalk so I can change the math problems (not that I ever have, ha!).  I am waiting on lots of labels for the shelves to get laminated before I can work on the stuff on the black shelf.  I keep lots of interactive notebook supplies here.  I have hoards of scissors, glue sticks, markers, crayons, etc.  I also have a student computer, and I plan on using the purple bulletin board to make a sweet Growth Mindset bulletin board inspired by this one.  I haven't gotten there yet. 
I have two carpet squares to designate two floor seating options.  In the blue tub on the student desk, I have clip boards, and a space for floor seating students to put their junk they aren't using (since they can't stuff it under their desks).
This is my space, but I have significantly shrunken down its footprint in the room from past years.  I am limited on where my desk can be because of ethernet hook ups, but I have at least tried to push it against the wall to minimize the space it takes up in the room. 
"Every great accomplishment began with the decision to try."  I put things on my white boards that stay all day or several days.  I use the Smart Board for stuff that is changing quickly so it isn't a huge issue that my whiteboards aren't the easiest to access.


My Anchor Chart Wall- I hang different anchor charts here throughout the year.  Some will stay all year once introduced (group norms, order of operations, integer rules), and others will change.  The projector in the corner was in the room when I got it, and I have never used it.  I should probably get rid of it to save space, but haven't bothered so far. 

The Pano View

 So, that is my room for the #notreadytour !  I hope to post again with a few updates once I have prepared for the year.

Amy Fine @afinegal