Blog Archives

Day 71: Teaching Station

One of the most important areas for me in the classroom is my teaching station.  Although I am not there for any length of time, it is important to have everything in its place and “staged” so that I can “do my thang” during class without trying to find things last minute.


  • I use colored folders to organize for each class.  These folders have a clear front pocket in which I place the seating chart; then I can use a dry erase to quickly take attendance.  Inside the folders, I keep make-up quizzes with my students’ names on them, copies of notes and any other pertinent info for that particular class.
  • On the first shelf, I have my remote control and TI Nspire handy along with storing the attendance folders.
  • On the larger shelf, I  keep a bin of extra pencils and stacks of papers that I might use that day.  This is also where my classroom speakers and TI-Navigator access point reside.
  • There is also a mini shelf that holds paper when I use the doc camera and a second mini shelf that holds the docking station for my computer.
  • I also have a roller wire basket shelf where I keep essentials like tape, postits, etc., a bin of red and green pens for Frappys, scratch paper, and a bin of paint pens for students to mark their personal Nspires.  On top of the wire basket shelf I placed an extra wood panel so I can place the document camera and a bin of needed writing tools: colored pens, highlighters and pencils along with scissors  There are paper clips and styluses too.  Next to it I have a bin of plastic mini-white boards with dry erase markers when I need them on the spur of the moment.
  • Although it is hard to see, I have zip-tied an outlet strip to the side of the cart so I can readily plug in electronic devices that I might need.



Behind the cart I have a bookshelf I found at a garage sale (did I say how much I love to garage sale in the summer to outfit my classroom?!).  It holds extra copies of the textbooks, make-up test forms, my Barron’s AP Stats MC flash cards, VCR/DVD player, hand sanitizer and jar of “Brain Breaks.”  The purple shelf next to it holds electronic gadgets and cords, band-aids, etc. along with my DVDs for AP Stats.


As the year progresses, other things get added as needed.  This organizational method helps me stay sane and not waste time during the class period.  What do you do to keep yourself organized for class?


Day 182: Movin’ Movin’ Movin’

Because our school is adding on 10 new rooms (we are busting our seams!), and our department was given two of them, our department is doing the big shuffle of rooms.  I am getting a general purpose science room since the science department is getting 4 new rooms, including a robotics room.  Lucky me!  The room is bigger and actually has windows! Lots more room to store project equipment and to set up areas to collect data. And it may actually be a little closer to the office, but farther from the parking lot.  That just means I get to my 10000 steps much quicker on my phone’s daily step tracker.


Since my current room lost its windows because that wall is where two rooms were added, it is dark, stuffy and somewhat dreary since there are not windows (you can compare the difference in the two photos).  Same wall, same angle, same time of year, very different feel.  I’ve never thought of myself as being affected by having sunlight, but day after day of not knowing if its sunny, rainy or if a tornado is coming is more depressing than I thought.

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So I’m moving.  Lots of work packing – using my awesome students to help although things are just getting stuffed into moving boxes without rhyme or reason.  So much more fun to unpack the surprises later!!  We will be allowed back in the building in August (hopefully) because I fear it will take me forever to unpack, organize and make the science room feel warm and inviting.  I’ll be sharing more about my moving progress probably in August!  So stay tuned for my new room make-over.


What are some of your favorite room organization ideas you’ve found over the years?  I’m all ears and eyes!!!

Day 162: May Madness – Testing, Late Starts, and More Testing!

Although we are not as unfortunate as some eastern states, we are losing lots of time and days to the craziness of testing: SBAC, ELA, EOC, oh-my!  This week because of the late starts, our classes are 30 minutes and the block day classes is 55 minutes.  Due to our teacher walk-out day in support of fully funding public education, we had one block day (and subsequent testing day) moved to next week.  So our schedule looks like this:


Then next week, we finish the first phase of testing, but have the required HIV-AIDS training during our advisory class.  Oh why wasn’t this done in February when we were desperate for a good lesson?  The week after is our state’s End of Course exams for math, which means two more days with 30 minute classes after a late start.  The week after is graduation with the last week of finals.  Will I survive this craziness?!  Of course, I always do, but this year seems particularly frantic and rushed.

I was so planned out for the year so that the curriculum could be covered in a thoughtful and #slowmath way. I used a method I found at TM4T (Time Management for Teachers) written by Joe Durham which worked great for my brain!  I will have to revisit this rich resource over the summer – add it to my summer planning list – although I must warn you that you need to pick and choose what you take away from Joe’s advice. Unfortunately, the last few weeks of plans are out the window.  The light gray day is the one we lost due to the walk-out.  We have a 4-day Memorial Day week-end (yay!) and then continue with the madness that is May.

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How is your end of year going?

Day 102: Binding Together

I love my garage sale find for $20.  It is a GBC ComboBind machine with the combs included!  The lady I inherited this wonderful apparatus used it occasionally for college, but not as much as she thought she would, so she wanted to get rid of it.  Her loss, my gain!!  Score!20150211_142047

I bind my notes for a chapter/unit and then pull out the comb at the end and reuse for the next chapter.

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It is so convenient for writing notes with students under the document camera and keeping the papers together in one place.  One of the best $20 purchases I’ve ever made.  What is/are the best garage sale finds you’ve had for your classroom?


Day 101: Messy Desk Day

Do you ever have one of these days?  My weekend was crazy busy and today was equally so…filled with meetings and obligations during my “off” time.  So my desk paid the price!  The creative process is so taxing on organization!



Day 87: Getting Ready for the End

Today is the day before final exams.  I give my students self-directed time to work on the review and to ask questions.  It seems that any other activity might be distracting and counter-productive, while also instilling angst and stress.  I used to do review games, etc., but not enough seemed to get covered and we’d get bogged down in minutia, or narrow questions that only a few students had rather than focusing on individual needs. I also didn’t find that Review Stations worked with such a large body of content…again, focused on too many insignificant details rather than the big picture and essential long-term skills and procedures.  Students shared that having time in class to work in their own way was the best use of class time.

Day 15: Returning Student Work Woes


The white shelf was a great garage-sale find and it makes me feel like my room is not so institutionalized.  But i have to figure out how to hand back papers to students this year.  Even though my goal is to be relatively paperless, there are times that the paper-pencil activity is a necessary assessment or activity tool.  Although I count on students to pick up their own paper, or hand back papers when they finish inclass work, the pile still can become unwieldy.  How do you hand back papers to your students?

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