Here it comes!

IMG_2958The new school year seems to be barreling upon us, and as much as I try to ignore it, I just can’t.  For days I’ve been pinning articles about Interactive Student Notebooks, tips and apps for using iPads in the classroom, classroom organization and decor.  Today I started a keynote about me that could be used by a sub just in case my daughter’s baby isn’t born before school starts.  It’s not like school is starting that soon, it’s just that I can’t stop thinking about it.  How I’ll finally figure everything out this year.

I’m reading three teacher books at once, in hopes I’ll find some important or at least useful tips that I’ve so far missed.  Given that this will be my twenty-second year in the classroom, you’d think I’d have all that down by now, that starting a new school year would be a routine thing, but it’s not.  And the fact that I still think I can do a better job every new year than I did the year before is my message that I’ve still got a few more years in me.  I’m not over it yet, thank goodness.

I’ve decided (I think) that I want to use Interactive Student Notebooks this year, and am a little worried that my tendency toward a lack of follow-through will impede the usefulness of these.  I am reading everything I can find about them, and have decided that I’m going to use the black and white speckly composition books rather than spiral bound notebooks.  These are a little smaller than regular notebooks, but the school will provide them and they don’t have that spiral thing to get caught on everything.  I definitely need to get my notebook started and looking ready, as an example for the students.  My question about this is if I use it as extensively as I’ve read on the blogs I’ve perused, will the kids still be handing in work each week, or will everything be in the notebook? And will that prove to be too difficult for grading? Or is the Notebook apart from that, and if so, what goes where?

The next thing I’m obsessing about a little (okay, a lot.) is the cart of iPads which were delivered to me the last week of school.  I am going to be putting Apps on them because I insisted on it and they let me.  But I don’t know how, and if I ask I’m afraid those who wield the reins will think it was a bad idea to let me be in charge of my own iPads.  Silly! I’m a Mac-er from way back.  I can learn this!  I hope.  But then there is the issue of which apps to use, so I’m poring over all those I’ve loaded on my own iPad this past year.  What four or five apps will really be useful to add to the way I teach? And will the wifi be in yet? What about Dropbox? It’s supposed to be opened up this year, but when? Will that really happen?

Then there’s the question of classroom organization. All I know is I have three different colored rolls of duct tape (for color coding my classes), a new pack of multicolored white board pens, some gold and silver Sharpies and two really long strings of Christmas lights.  We’ll see where I take it from there! I’m not so concerned about that – I mainly dread cleaning things out that remain from last year. All those half dead art supplies, and the collage magazines that reside under a table looking like junk. I just want it all open and fresh looking.  We’ll see about that and I’ll post photos.

I actually love this messy time of year.  It’s the time when anything is possible.  Ideas flow like a river, and I just have to pick a few of them out to get started.  The rest will take care of itself.  Middle schoolers have a way of reminding me that teaching is dynamic, and I need to be ready every day for the surprises they will surely bring.  I’m not quite ready but, I’m definitely working up to it!


7 thoughts on “Here it comes!

  1. lynnjake says:

    Justin, I just went over to your blog and read about what’s coming up for you this year. For some reason I”m not able to post my comment there, so here it is:
    Hi Justin,
    This should be an interesting year for you. You get to try something new without a huge threat hanging over your head. I’m not sure what your tech situation is in your classroom, but what about using Edmodo? That might be an interesting place to begin with the conferences. It would give the kids something to structure the conversations around. Just a thought!

  2. dkzody says:

    As for loading those apps, can you go to an Apple store and have one of the geniuses show you how to do it? I’m assuming Chico has an app store. I love those guys.

    • lynnjake says:

      A visit to the Apple store I always a treat for me! Unfortunately the closest one is about 100 miles away, in Sacramento. I have instructions for loading Apps, but haven’t actually tried it yet. Soon I will, and then I’ll report back!

  3. melanie says:

    Sounds like we have some things in common this year!! I have spent the last few weeks researching about Interactive Notebooks and iPads!! I have written about it some on my blog. I’d love to chat with you more as the year goes on! Good luck!

    • lynnjake says:

      Thanks! I checked your blog out Melanie, and I agree that we should team up this year. I liked the other blog you linked to, about Interactive Notebooks, too. I’ve been pinning stuff about ISNs all summer. Now to go put those pins to work! Keep me posted about how the notebook/iPad communion is working for you, and I’ll do the same.

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