School Daze

This week I began my orientation back in Tulsa with Teach For America.  On the first day, we were released to go check out our school assignments and meet the staff and principal.  My mom and I had driven out to the school the week before, but we had just driven past it without going inside.  It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere, and is located at the dead end of a residential street.  I went out there on Wednesday with another corps member, Morgan, who’s assigned there.  We weren’t really sure what to expect, but it was definitely surprising.

The elementary school is an open school, meaning there are no class rooms.  There are these big open spaces with dividers that make up each class instead.  It’s so different than anything I saw growing up.  A few Tulsa schools recently closed, so a lot of schools are taking in new kids.  Our school is absorbing a whole other elementary school, so a lot of rearranging is currently going on, including the addition of some classroom trailers.  Because of the limited space right now, me and Morgan will have to share the gymnasium as our classroom for the first month until we get our own trailers.  I’m excited to eventually have a trailer because it would be hard to adjust to the open school areas.  However, teaching in the gym as a shared space will be challenging.  I’m going to just stay really positive about it and collaborate as mush as possible with Morgan to make sure we are quiet for each other when we need to be.

The staff we met were really nice and very welcoming.  They all offered to help us as we transition to the school.  The principal sat down with us and also explained a lot of things and answered our questions.  My class will have between 20-30 kids, the school day runs from 7:45-2:50ish, there are a lot of resources on property we can use, and all our students get donated supplies from a local news station at the beginning of the year.  I’m excited to find out more as we get our curriculum and meet the other 2nd grade teacher who will lead us (me and Morgan are both assigned 2nd grade).  I need to start making unit plans ASAP, but I do need the curriculum guide first.  In the meantime, I’m planning out procedure/classroom culture lessons for the first couple weeks and gathering resources.

I spent about $60 at Target today on their Back to School discounted items.  I now have some crayons, colored pencils, glue sticks, scissors, pencils, and pencil boxes for back up classroom supplies.  I also got a bunch of Play-Doh since it was on sale, too, with some number cut outs for the kids to practice math using Play-Doh.  I figured it could be a good center activity at some point.  We’ll see.  I tried to get a class set of composition notebooks (they were 40 cents!), but they only had 12 left that were wide ruled.  I’ll have to check again tomorrow to get the remaining 12 or so for my students.  I had a journal I had to write in often for school when I was in 1st grade, so I figured I could use this for 2nd grade, too.  One of the things I learned over the summer is that kids need to practice writing a LOT.

I also have been hunting down books for a classroom library.  I was able to get some at a great used bookstore here in Tulsa, but I also made a wishlist on Donor’s Choose.  If you haven’t heard of the website, it’s designed so teachers can post projects they need funding for and have anybody search through the projects and make a donation.  If you’d like to donate a few dollars to my class library project I have posted (or at least can spread the word a bit to others who might), you can go to my project page here.

I’ll keep you updated on my school and classroom adventures as the year goes on.  Stay tuned : )

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4 Comments to “School Daze”

  1. What is your address in Tulsa? Or did you already put it up and I am completely blind?

    • I never put it up, but I’m glad you have it now. Seriously don’t know what to tell you about the tools. I’m afraid I might hurt myself with power tools, but I do have frames I might hang. Why did I not inherit any handyman skills???

  2. yay donors choose! I donated in 2009 to a project that I had heard about – a school that had no plays in their library and wanted to expose the students to drama. I will pass your link on.

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