I asked my husband for his pictures of Cienfuegos, and he sent me this. It’s my last classroom. I retired from 2nd grade in June of 2015. The picture below reminds me of how much I loved teaching. It also shows what I valued as a teacher. It's displayed around the room.
I cut that picture into 4 pieces. They’re below, the 4 corners of my classroom. Let’s take a trip down Memory Lane.
This is the back of my classroom where you’d find my word wall chart and the kids’ lockers. Do you see the ice cream on them? They’re charts for mastery of addition/subtraction facts. On the last day of school everyone got ice cream, but the kids who passed the most time tests got to put their ice cream sundae together first. YUM!
This was the left side of my classroom. I kept half my curtains closed, and I used the curtains as a bulletin board. That’s where I put the “I can” learning statements.
My favorite place in the room was my library shelf. This was the last week of school, I still had books out, and yes, I was still teaching.
This is the front of my room. It’s where I taught, where the magic happened… learning! I taught with ‘stuff’ and after 33 years I had a lot of it.
That front wall was one BIG bulletin board. If it was important, it was on that wall. On the top, my number line, counting up to 110. Kids have trouble writing numbers after 109. They want to write 1010, 1011, year after year. Really!
Below them are my Disney character/ punctuation marks. They were a gift from another teacher when we traded jobs. She went to title reading. I went to 2nd grade. They helped my kids remember what to use for 30 years. When we did daily oral language, those classic characters still helped my kids!
Start on the left wall and follow me across the room. First you’ll find my calendar. No primary classroom is without one. It matches to science and math skill standards, the things that teachers can’t teach without. I’m not sure what posters are beside it, but I think they’re math. The shelf below it was full of math and science supplies. Things like calculators and clocks, magnifying glasses and magnets, It’s amazing what I collected over 33 years.
The spelling chart came next and the smartboard. I didn’t think I was smart enough for one, but with help from younger teachers I discovered how smart it was for my students. The two tables below it were full of basic supplies I needed every day. Things like Kleenexes and pencils, student names and a tub of worksheets.
Keep going right and you’ll find a behavior chart and a workshop to keep my kids busy and learning when they had spare time And yes, I used my cupboards too! They held cards that helped kids with phonics, like OW for blow or OW for cow. I paired them up with whatever skills I was teaching in spelling. There’s also another table. My favorite things that last year…a German calendar and my last ants. Back in the day I raised ants, butterflies, hermit crabs, and frogs. I loved my critters!
Last, look at the desks. I only did this for my last year. Yes, I tried something new that year! Before putting a unit of books away, I sorted them into tubs of difficult/medium/easy. My kids had baggies with dots on them. The dots told them which tub held the Just Right Books for them. If they didn’t do workshop, they could read a book that fit their reading level. I’m glad I tried this, even if it was only for 1 year.
Wow! I taught with a lot of stuff, 6 paragraphs worth! This is the last wall. Promise! BTW- that’s what I looked like that last year.
My last 3 bulletin boards…above the computers were my classroom rules, consequences, and rewards. Next came my author bulletin board, and my last author, George Ella Lyon, is a relative. I met her when she came for a school visit in the 90’s and discovered we have ancestors who were brothers. I still I can’t believe I’m related to a real, live, published author! The last bulletin board, above the sink, was the job’s bulletin board. My kids loved having jobs!
Interesting, as I write this, I miss teaching, my kids, and my colleagues. But would I go back to daily duty? Never! I love subbing once a week, every other week. I get my kid fix, and I stay connected to my market, teachers and kids. I love having 6 days a week to write. Even though I’m retired, I usually don’t get to write all 6 days. I get pulled away for appointments or whatever comes up. Subbing that one day gives me the best of both worlds, for now.
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!