Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Anatomy of A First Day of School: How I spent the end of my summer vacation

Tomorrow will be the first day of school.  I'm so excited!  One thing I will be doing is reading one of my favorite back-to-school stories Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready For Kindergarten by Joseph Slate.

It's such a cute story, but really, it's a book of lies!  Really?  Miss Bindergarten got there at 6:00 am and was able to have Kindergarten ready?  Lies!  :)

This year I decided to keep track of how this Miss Bindergarten got ready for Kindergarten.  I'm sure you'll be able to relate!

Wednesday, July 31
Unofficial Day 1

With helpful husband in tow, we turned this

 into this

And that was it for unofficial day 1.

Tasks Completed:  furniture moved
Time Spent:  About 30 minutes
Feeling:  Excited!

Thursday, August 1
Official Day 1
My first official day is always a cleaning day.  I have a pretty high standard of clean, and...well, my classroom just wasn't there yet! :)  So I started my day by hauling out all of the chairs in my classroom to the courtyard, hosing them all down, scrubbing them all down with hot water, a teeny squirt of dish soap and Lysol,and letting them dry in the sun.  A big job, but I think a necessary job.  Who wants to sit on dirty chairs?  Not me!

Sadly, I work in a school with no air conditioning.  (Picture me swooning dramatically).  So, while those chairs dried, I disassembled and hosed down all of my fans.

Next, while it all dries I tackled the lockers.  Dun, dun, DUN!!!!  NASTY!  Like the chairs, I scrubbed those suckers down with hot water, dish soap, and Lysol.  Disgusting fun fact:  I had to change the water every 3 lockers.  Eww!

By this time, I needed to head back home, so in came the chairs and fans, I channeled my inner handy-girl and reassembled the fans, and closed up all the lockers.  Not bad for a (short) day's work!

Tasks Completed:  30 chairs washed, 5 fans dissembled, washed, and reassembled, 18 kid lockers washed inside and out, 3 storage lockers washed on the outside, 6 tables and a desk washed down
Time Spent: 2 hours 45 minutes
# of other teachers there (that I know of): 2
Feeling:  Sweaty, scummy, and satisfied

Friday, August 2
Day 2
The goal for day:  finish the cleaning phase of getting ready!  I started by attacking my 3 storage lockers.
Holy Cow.
Somebody let their organizing go!
I pulled everything out, washed the lockers down, and put everything back neatly.  Don't be fooled, this took for-ev-er.

But look how nice it looks now:

And even nicer when you close the doors ;)

Next job, pull stuff off a shelf, wipe it down, let it dry, put junk back on it.

Wash, rinse, repeat.
Repeat, repeat, repeat.

I got a little distracted and decided to Goo Gone the labels on my Math Boxes.

Since we're heading out of town for a wedding, I had to leave it here with a lot of shelves left to wipe. Grr...

Tasks Completed:  3 lockers washed and organized (and purged!), 5 shelves washed and put back together, containers on shelves wiped, 6 boxes Goo-Goned
Time Spent:  3 hours 30 minutes
# of other teachers there (that I know of): 6
Feeling:  pretty good, a little defeated that my to-do list is still pretty full

Monday, August 5
Day 3
While the cleaning to-do is still a little full, I can't do one more day of cleaning.  So I shift my focus to Phase 2: organizing.  One summer goal of mine was to organize my picture book library by genre.

Between organizing the books by genre and trying to re-figure that area of my room, this was another super time-consuming task.

Tasks Completed:  Library reorganized, parts of the Math Center reorganized, 6 labels removed from boxes
Time Spent:  5 hours (after 4 hours of tutoring)
# of other teachers there (that I know of): 3
Feeling:  Brilliant!  I solved the mind-puzzle of re-figuring my carpet area!

Tuesday, August 6
Day 4

Between chores and errands and a 2-week house guest moving in, there wasn't enough time to make the 25 minute drive and work at school.
But, I did finally get to washing these baskets and putzing around on the computer trying to make new labels for my library.

Tasks Completed:  7 baskets washed
Time Spent:  30 minutes
# of other teachers there (that I know of): -
Feeling:  good

Wednesday, August 7
Day 5

Since we were heading out for another wedding the next day, today I REALLY wanted to be done with Phase 1:  Cleaning and Phase 2: Organizing.

I started by storing my sorted books into my freshly purchased baskets.  Lookin' good!

Next, I needed to clean out two of my huge boxes that I wasn't properly utilizing.  My other organization system had outgrown itself and I needed to get rid of stuff I wasn't using in these boxes in order to put stuff I already was using into them.

My gem of a husband came in for a few hours and helped me get out all of my "month boxes" so I could take the centers out and put them in my cleaned-out boxes.

And, then, God bless him, he put them all back away.

He also helped me unload all of my new paper and put it away.  Check out this beautiful sight!

 I also was able to sort and organize my new and old listening center books, wash and organize 2 more shelves, and stack up some of my pitstops that were making my classroom look like a huge mess.

Table of junk is growing!

With registration in full swing, I saw a family nosing around the classrooms, so I decided it was time to cover up my progress with my construction sign.  I am a big believer in first impressions, and this classroom (and stinky teacher!) definitely wasn't ready to make one yet!

Tasks Completed:  2 enormous boxes purged and reorganized, 2 boxes of listening center books sorted and organized, 3 boxes of paper and supplies put away,  2 shelves cleaned and purged
Time Spent:  5 hours 30 minutes
# of other teachers there (that I know of): 4
Feeling:  behind

Sunday, August 11
Day 6

I can tell that this day is going to be the day where the organizing gets finished! Before I made the drive to school I worked for about an hour to create labels for my library.  Once those were complete, it was off to school to print them and (hopefully) finish the cleaning/organizing process.

Major job for today:  My desk, shelf behind my desk, and locker.  I'm so annoyed, but it took nearly 2 hours to go from 
 this:                                                          to this:

 this:                                                          to this

and this:                                                    to this

And that's all I have to say for myself today. 

Tasks Completed:  library labels created, desk drawers cleaned and organized, teacher shelf cleaned and organized, teacher locker cleaned and organized
Time Spent:  4 hours
# of other teachers there (that I know of): 2
Feeling: PANICKY!

Monday, August 12
Day 7

Today needs to be a big day.  I am beyond panicked that this classroom will never come together.  My desk didn't get completely cleaned off yesterday, so that becomes job number one.

Next, our tech team needed to update my new Promethean board, so I had to take a timeout to tackle the puzzle of re-connecting all of my tangled up cords (did you see that horrible picture from yesterday?).  Lynne's (my teacher-neighbor) life-saving tip: take a picture of your cords at the end of the year.  WAAAY easier to re-connect.  After about 30 minutes I was set up, untangled, and my long cord retaped to the underside of my desk.

Next: put all the junk away that had been on this cabinet:
 and continue working around the room tackling those piles of stuff that needs a home, including the table of junk, which has now graduated to a table-in-waiting, full of goodies that still need to be used before they find their permanent home.

After that, I needed to do something fun.  So I got my calendar out.  A few things need to be updated: on the list for tomorrow!

While in fun-mode, up go the bulletin boards.

 After that, I continued working around the room until I ran out of steam and my room now looked like this:

 Consider panic dissipated!  I'm going to be okay!

Tasks Completed: desktop cleaned, Promethean board and Document Camera set up and connected, wires organized and hidden, shelves and pitstops put away or filed, 3 bulletin boards added to, calendar board set up,  chair pockets and table baskets set up, behavior chart, lunch count, and helper chart set up, classroom labels created and cut, library labels cut
Time Spent:  7 hours
# of other teachers there (that I know of): 11
Feeling: Like I'm going to make it
Tuesday, August 13
Day 8
 Today is a fast and furious day since I have plans to back-to-school clothes shop with my friend Allie.  So, no pictures!
Of course, those days, never quite work out the way you hope, so my 2 hour work day ended up being more like 3 1/2.

Tasks Completed: new Centers chart, schedule chart, morning message chart, and reusable nametags made and laminated, locker nametags, library labels, and classroom labels laminated, journal pages copied,  junk I took down to the teacher workroom that no one wanted boxed back up and loaded up to take to Goodwill
Time Spent:  3 1/2 hours at school, 30 minutes cutting out laminating at home
# of other teachers there (that I know of): 7
Feeling: Excited!  We get our class lists tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 14
Day 9
I never go in to school on the day that the classlists are published.  Like I said earlier, I'm big on first impressions, and when my kiddos first see the classroom, I want it to be ready specifically for them.  I want them to know where they are going to sit, where their locker is going to be, and that their name has been lovingly written and placed on about 900 things around our room. :)  The time for that first impression is coming, but it's not today.
But do not fear, today is not going to be a day lost. First, we shop!

The world's best husband treked to Staples, Michael's, Target, and his dreaded Hobby Lobby like a champ.  AND THEN, he helped grocery shop at Aldi and Walmart.  ALL WHILE my car was getting an oil change.  And then I yelled at him because I'm mean, stressed, and crabby.  AND THEN, he forgave me, because he really is the world's best husband.

Here's my haul (plus a new fan).  It's a pretty small haul, actually, because I had incredibly generous parents in my class last year who really took care of replenishing my supplies during teacher appreciation week.  I also spent less than $50 because of all of their gift cards, too.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, Parents!

But wait!  The day is not over!  I had packed up those 900 things that needed names and all my Sharpies and spent about an hour writing and writing and writing their names.

Tasks Completed: Donations dropped at Goodwill, shopping at 4 stores, names on nametags (x2), folders, journals, locker signs, folder stickers, table namecards, typed on attendance owls, names for the behavior chart, and homework tags
Time Spent:  4 hours or so
# of other teachers there (that I know of): -
Feeling: Great!  Who doesn't like shiny new stuff?

Thursday, August 15
Day 10
Back to school, but only for the morning since I have other obligations in the afternoon. (Other obligations?  Crazy, right?)

First up, repaint the snack bag and leader bag.
 Next, make writing journals.  Pretty easy: cut the file folders in two, punch holes in the folders, punch holes in the papers, bind it all together.  Repeat x 16.  Easy, but a little time consuming.

 I've been wanting to move my CD's from this monstrosity

to a case.  Mainly because it will take up less space and now that I have my book baskets taking up so much space, I've got nothin' to spare!  I popped the back labels out of all the CD cases to put behind the CD's in their sleeves so I'll know the tracks to play.

Nice and neat!

 Movin' right along, I attached all of my new labels.

 After that, somehow my room had once again exploded!  Time to clean it all up again and get a basket of homework packed.  I found a few (a lot) of things I forgot to put names on yesterday, so in they went, along with all of the work I created on the computer last night that I printed at school that needed to be cut out.
And then I was off on my merry little way!

Tasks Completed: 2 bags repainted, about 30 labels stuck, 17 journals made, diecuts cut, CD's reorganized, printing done and cut, 2 more sets of labels created on computer, a new little friend met
Time Spent:  3 hours at school, 1 at home
# of other teachers there (that I know of): 16
Feeling: A little nervous.  Still so much left to do!

Friday, August 16
Day 11
Goal for today:  get the room done.  Meetings start on Monday, my honey's birthday is Sunday, and who doesn't want a little wiggle room?  Here we go!

I started by tediously taping their names on the behavior chart. That one takes too long - I need to find a better way!
 Next, I put their names in the helper chart, on the bulletin board, on the door, on their carpet spots, and on the lockers.

Then, I cleaned off the tables, wiped them again, stuck down vinyl sleeves, and put names on the tables.  I also put down pictures to identify the tables.
 After that, I ate lunch while I took way too long to organize a calendar print-off with important dates and the snack schedule.  Seriously, this was way too time-consuming, but it turned out cute.  That's what's important, right? ;)

Also while eating, I replaced my command hooks for the table helper totes.
Then, I reclaimed the Print Shop center, complete with color sheets and sans junk!
I finally put those puzzles and games away which had been sitting out for about a week.  I had to give away and throw away a bunch of broken and baby-ish puzzles to make room.  Whew, that looks better.

After that, the Dramatic Play Center was staged.

Then I needed to do something creative, so I recovered my utensils jars with scrapbook paper and packing tape.  I filled four with pens, pencils, and sharpies and set them out for parents to use on Monday.

Next I decided I couldn't take the cords hanging out of my Promethean board, so I remedied that situation.

With my room pretty well ready, I turned my attention to working on my parent meeting agenda letter, powerpoint, and packet.  I made my copies and ordered them to be collated and put in the kids' folders.  I decided to wait on that, you never know what you may have to add last minute!
Before I left, I put out containers to collect supplies for Supply Day on Monday and left feeling pretty darn satisfied.
Once back home, I cut and glued 3 more sets of folder labels as well as contact paper to stick the labels to the folders with.  Next year I will definitely figure out how to print my cute labels on actual labels.  All this work to make something cute is for the birds!  After adding cuter clipart to my powerpoint and writing 2 more sets of namecards for Morning Meeting, it was time to call it a night.

Tasks Completed: names on behavior chart, bulletin board, table spots, carpet spots, door, and helper chart, first homework organized, calendar created, hooks replaced, cords hidden, tables cleaned off, puzzles and games organized, centers set, Parent Meeting materials updated and copied, containers cutsied, containers set and organized for Supply Day
Time Spent:  9 hours at school, 2 at home
# of other teachers there (that I know of): 6
Feeling: Like the light is at the end of the tunnel!

Saturday, August 17
Day 12

Today is the last workday.  Yikes!  Time to call in the troops!  Enter:  Mom and Dad, who, bless their hearts, volunteered to drive 3 hours to come help me.  They are the best!

But, before their  arrival, a good 4 hours were spent lesson planning for the week ahead and making copies and cutting out materials.  Boy was I rusty at lesson planning!

Then, I got a little stressed out and had to make a run for a McDouble and small fry.  Because some feelings were just meant to be eaten.

Then the heavens opened up and my parents pulled into town.   I NEEDED them!  Dad washed my windows, cleaned the sink, hung (and rehung) high-up posters, stuffed (and re-stuffed, oops, forgot the transportation form!) my Parent Meeting packets into the folders, tore out and collated the book orders, cleaned off my song charts, and labeled my teacher supplies with stickers.

 Mom has a laminator.  I know, be jealous.  Since my school ran out of laminate (ah!) this was a necessity!  She laminated large the pile of stuff to laminate, more stuff just because it's awesome to laminate, and then cut it all out.  She also ended up fixing/re-creating my weather chart which somehow lost a piece over the summer.  She also wrote my birthdays on my birthday chart, put magnets on my dismissal management cards,  and probably did a lot more things that I am not remembering.  Did I mention she's also a Kindergarten teacher?  This means she is the best helper around because you don't have to tell her what to do.

Meanwhile, I did those odd jobs of pulling all back together:  regluing the velcro to the weather chart, hot gluing the attendance owls to magnets, comb-binding the ABC Art Books, finishing off plans and materials for the upcoming week, setting up for the parent meeting etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Then I took Mom and Dad out for dinner and they didn't let me pay.

Finally, since they are troopers, they came back with me to school to sort the first 4 chapters of my math worksheets, and organize the last 8 chapters so they were ready for parent helpers.  A HUGE job. 

Tasks Completed: lesson plans and materials for week prepared, widows washed, sink washed, Parent Packets prepared, song charts cleaned, materials labeled, materials laminated, cut, and put away, 2 weather charts fixed, attendance owls and dismissal cards prepared, birthdays recorded on display, 17 books bound, math books sorted and prepared for parents, room set!
Time Spent:  10 hours
# of other teachers there (that I know of): 5
Feeling: thankful and finally ready!

Monday, August 19
Day 13
Technically, today is my first day of school, so I actually get paid to work today! :)  The morning started with meetings, meetings, meetings.  Then came lunch and catching up with my teacher-friends.

In the afternoon, my new Kindergarten-friends came to meet me and put their supplies away.  This is always so fun and both parties are nervous!  I had done a lot of prep work so that I would be able to get a lot more of their things put away, cutsy-ed, and ready the way I wanted in between families visiting.

Supply Day ended at 3, and the Parent Meeting was set to start at 6, so no time to run home.  I was able to put snack together for tomorrow, have a dinner break, and get freshened up (thanks for letting me borrow your house, Carissa!)

The Parent Meeting is always a blur and then there's the last minute rush to get all of that paperwork filed and put away, Centers set-up, and transportation plans prepared.   Then it's home-again, home-again to get that good night's rest before THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!

Tasks Completed: Parent Meeting practiced, meetings, new friends met and organized, Parent Meeting, paperwork filed, transportation plans prepared
# of other teachers there (that I know of):  everyone!
Feeling:Excited and Ready!

The Totals
So there you have it!  13 days.  About 72 hours.  A labor of love full of work, sweat, and emotions.

And Miss Bindergarten is finally ready for Kindergarten.


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