Sunday, August 19, 2012

2008-2009 to 2012-2013 Classroom Evolution

Phew!  We are one week into our school year, Orientation is over and went off without a hitch (worth mentioning, anyway), and the students have paid 4 of their 180 days' debt to society as fifth graders in my classroom *giggle*.  I've made quite a few changes this year and they really were more a product of the past four years' experiences.

I initially planned on doing my reveal today, but I have a few things that I finished up this weekend that I was going to take to school and hang first, so that will have to be my next post.

Obviously (based solely on the title of my blog), I have had a beach theme in the past.  That hasn't so much changed as it has evolved into more than just a beach theme.  It's also opening the door for me to transition into potentially changing the theme one day.  You know, if I win the lotto, get a wild hair, AND decide that I have nothing but time to dedicate to the cause.  I don't anticipate that happening ANY. TIME. SOON.

So, the evolution was caused by the team-teaching-turned-six-partner-switch that has occurred over the five years we've been working at OVE.  There have been a lot of changes, some good and others not-so-much, as far as the fifth grade team goes.  From the first year that we opened, out of a team of 8 (9 if you count our ESE Teachers, and I always do), only three of us remain.  *FROWN*  However, we've gotten the opportunity to make a lot more friends that way.

Short story EVEN LONGER, our grade level has been color coded since the first year we opened.  I was chose pink because red was already taken by the teacher who brought the idea from her former school--not being too big a fan of pink at the time, I have adapted MARVELOUSLY *patting myself on the back in an over-the-top-kinda-way*!  The first two years, I worked with Mrs. Teal (one of the originals ;)) and her color was...wait for it...TEAL!  For obvious reasons--though her favorite color was purple and happens to be my LEAST liked color (I detest purple and have no idea why)--and I am glad she went with her last name for the coding.  After that, my principal split us up to put two (what she called) seasoned teachers with two teachers who needed seasoning.  Hehehe, that part I rephrased.  My new partner, Mrs. Devine, was fairly new to teaching and I was excited because I conned convinced asked her to come to OVE when she was surplussed from GPE our first year of opening (she is the only other teacher that remains with us from the first year on our grade level).  Maureen (Devine)'s color choice was LIME GREEN.

NOW, we are split up in the grade level.  One partnership has the inclusion class and one mixed ability class (heterogeneous, if you will).  We remaining six have our homerooms, to whom we teach social studies, and then two homogeneous groups in our departmentalized subject areas.  For those who are new (and honestly, I'm not sure if I've even mentioned it yet), I teach language arts and reading to two blocks a day.

Last year was the first year that we did this and I really think that it went well.  I got the opportunity to work with five other teachers rather than just one, and also got the chance to know even more students rather than just the 44 I would have taught.

The color coding within my group began at that time with the three colors, as I was only using two in the previous years.  I had all of these left over teal and lime green storage  bins and areas, so it was just a natural color selection.  It wasn't all that obvious last year, but this year (and largely due to Pinterest and my constantly expanding blog reading/following) it took on a whole new dimension.  When former students returned to my room during Orientation to say hi--which I get VERY excited about because my babies leave the school after fifth so I don't get to see them in the hallways like other grade levels get to--they were oohing and aahing over the changes.  One student in particular, who I ADORE and taught the first year, said to her mom, "Mrs. Van Kampen has upgraded since I was in her class."   :D We had quite the giggle over that.

Well there you have it--I started using a beach theme, and it grew and grew for a few years and then this year I abruptly added a LOT of lime green and teal to my already pink accents and storage areas.  I am including a link to last year's sneak peek so that you can see the "before" from just a year ago.  My next post will have this year's updated (or upgraded, hehehe) look.

2011 Sneak Peek

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