Monday, August 23, 2010

Mr. Capone's Day Off

We've been working at my school site now for almost two weeks and I've gotten a lot of planning done. The building has undergone over $500,000 worth of renovations, and so it's no surprise that even though school begins in two weeks, we haven't been able to get into our classrooms to set up and start decorating yet (as if that will help me seeing I have next to no supplies or materials). But today we got to look at the building map and find out what classrooms everyone is located in. Of course mine turned out to be on the top (third) floor - a hefty hike up the stairs but the view is nice, and the classroom itself is one of the bigger ones.

This is the back of the classroom.

This is the front of the classroom.

The view from the classroom.

I have a lot of ideas I want to bring about in my classroom. Here is a list of some of the ideas I came up with, and hopefully in the future when I get the materials and bring about these things I will post pictures of them. But for now, here are some descriptions:

- a current events wall
- a history-spanning timeline with photos and little descriptions
- a college corner with lots of information/posters/mementos from UMass - we're supposed to really stress the path to college success for our students and by doing so deck out a portion of our rooms to our undergrad schools
- a "historical figure" of the week poster that will highlight a historical person each week, but I want to set it up like a Facebook page, listing their name, years of birth/death, interests they would have had, and a bio written as if by the person
- an artifacts tables where kids can go during free time to explore some cultural mementos I have from my travels, as well as play cultural games that I hope to buy and work on some map skills

Instruction doesn't actually begin until Monday, September 13th, but the kids come to school starting the first of September. They have a four day orientation to familiarize them with the systems, culture, and rules of the school. It seems very intense but I'm sure it will really get them energized and excited to be there, and it will also set high expectations and our team culture from the start.

Something else I'm so happy about: lesson planning is nowhere NEAR as detailed and scripted as Teach for America asked of it at Institute this summer. At the time I voiced my opinions often, saying that scripting out EVERYTHING you would do and say was too formulated and ridiculous for teachers. And even though Mastery has such high expectations, they are all set allowing teachers to outline their plans and not go through and script out every word you will say - which I think is the better way to do it. With Teach for America I felt tied to my lesson plan and it made me feel more nervous and confused. And with EVERY word scripted out, I felt that the real content and expectations of my lesson were muddled and hidden under all the text, and so when I was actually giving my lessons, I never looked at my lesson plans, because they were too convoluted to use when you were up in front of a class. Thanks TFA, but no thanks!


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  2. I would have hated to write down EVERY word of a lesson plan, that is ROUGH.