Reflect & Refresh, part 1

Now that it is officially summer, I have the time to notice linky parties as they are actually happening AND link up to write with them! I am super excited about that, and I was thrilled when I stumbled across Mrs. D's Corner (click her name to link up!), and she was hosting a link about reflecting on your past school year, and then getting to refresh over the summer. This seems super appropriate because I am gearing up to change grades, and I am doing all kinds of self-reflection anyways!

So here we go!

I learned last year that sending parent emails at random points in the year just to say "Your child is awesome", builds an amazing rapport with parents. This isn't rocket science, of course, but I never would have predicted how strong the reaction would be! I mean, as a first year teacher I was nominated for teacher of the week by one parent just because she was so impressed that I had sent an email saying her daughter was doing well. That email was maybe 3 sentences long! Never underestimate the power of positive talk in any capacity. 

Organization & Classroom Management
The best decision I could have ever made was color-coding my classroom library. If you don't know what this looks like, please read Molly Maloy's post about it on Lessons with Laughter. It may change your life; it did for me. I followed Molly's technique exactly, and I ended up with a beautiful library that my students totally took ownership of. I wasn't using any of my planning or after-school time to tidy up the library, which was great. Even better, however, was the fact that the books didn't just look neat and organized...they actually were! They were grouped by the author's last name! My little OCD babies would immediately move a purple book out of the green section if it were to happen. I literally set up the library in August, and the books were loved and read by the students all year without any interference from me. In May, I had to pack up my classroom, and the books were still in the perfect order. Oh my goodness...I could go on all day. What an amazing system! Thank you, Molly!

So, I finally felt like I had those 4th grade standards down this year!...and then I requested a grade level change. :) I truly feel that I will grow most as an educator if I push myself out of my comfort zone consistently. Half way through this past school year, I felt like 4th grade was just getting easy. I wasn't on Pinterest for hours looking for ideas, I wasn't laboring over lesson plans, I wasn't working and reworking materials in my classroom. That's great, of course! I had a great second half of the year. But I am definitely ready for something 2nd grade, here I come!

My Big Summer Project
Speaking of moving to 2nd grade...I have to switch classrooms. I feel like that should speak for itself, but let me reinforce why this is my project with a few pictures...

So, I have my work cut out for me. But I am so excited to take some time to REFRESH, and then get in there and set up for 2nd grade! Wish me luck!

Stephanie Sutherland