Sunday, January 1, 2012

1st Year Survival: Part 1

So after to talking to Jen Ayers, who is my co-worker, over at Best Practices 4 Teaching, she suggested that I blog about how to survive a first year of teaching, and boy do I have a lot to say about that!! I'm just thankful I made it to Christmas break lol. I hope you find this new series of posts insightful and absolutely amusing ha ha. Part 1 is about organization. I have discovered this simple truth, the hard way unfortunately: everything has its place and there is a place for everything. Can I get an Amen?! But being hired so quickly to the time of school starting, how did I have time to organize my room and every single, tiny thing in it? Well I didn't and little did I know that it would play a role in the success of my procedures and overall classroom management.

I will start with the pesty bucket of magnetic letters I inherited when I moved into my room. I didn't know what to do with them. I just figured that if the kids were using them to make words that they would just dig through the bucket and find the letters they need ha ha. Oh no!!!! Not with first graders. Some of my students felt my drift and did fine, others dumped the whole bucket out to find their letters; course that made the loudest commotion of all time while I was trying to do guided reading. Did I mention that I was being evaluated when this happened? Did I mention that the student who dumped them out also got in the bucket and started jumping on it? So here is my solution to make my word work/study station effective and prevent this from happening again:

Thanks to the book First Grade in Photographs by Scholastic, I went to Walmart to the automotive/tool section and bought this organizer for about $10 including tax (side note: whenever I see something that looks like it will work or even sound like it will work, I will try it!! This is key to survival!). It's actual purpose is to hold nuts and bolts, but us teachers know that it can be used to store letters of all kinds! So here is how I made what I saw in the book my own:

I bought a big bag of foam stickers to label each drawer with. You can buy these for $4.95 at Walmart. As you can see here, I am missing an A!!! In this ginormous, big pile of foam stickers, I could not find a lowercase A. Just my luck of course. But I will find a solution! Thank you Christmas break for giving me the opportunity to regain my sanity and focus on how I can make the last semester an effective and smooth one!

Please leave me any comments, thoughts, suggestions, amens, or horrifying evaluation stories from your first year!!

Shellie Rae


  1. Love this idea! I would nenever would have thought of the automotive section...

  2. I've got one of these in my room too. It certainly does help!

  3. I love you blog and ideas, so I awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award! Come to my blog to see what to do.

  4. Lori beat me to it. I'm leaving you the Versatile Blogger Award too. You're lucky day!

  5. I am also leaving you the Versatile Blogger Award. =)

    Ms. Smith

    The Adventures of Ms. Smith

  6. What an awesome idea! I've seen those millions of time... and never once thought of using it for that. Thanks! I'm your newest follower.

    First Grade Delight

  7. Hi there,
    Love seeing pics on blogs. I just found you and am your newest follower. :o)
    Traditions, Laughter and Happily Ever After