Reverse the Countdown

So this has been a long week.  Who am I kidding?  It has been a long year with this group, but the last month has actually hurt.

I had high expectations for this year.  The last ten years have been spent caring for my elderly parents.  Many of us have done it; juggling work, late nights, ever increasing hospital stays, and desperately trying to take care of everyone but ourselves.  With my mother already gone, and my father passing away last summer,  I was heartbroken and a little lost.  I thought that going back to work would be great, and that having all that extra time for school again could really be a good thing.  Not necessarily what really happened.

I worked hard, but not as smart as I have in the past.  My kids showed tremendous growth, but every Lexile was battle.  My mojo was off, my Zen didn't have its zing, and I was desperately looking towards vacations as I had never done before.

Worst of all, I had started to daydream about the fantasy class of yesteryear.  You know,  the class from last year that did transitions without having to practice them forty billion times? The group that cheered when it was time to start math, who begged for more time to read, and who loved me?  Oh, last year's group always looks better with a little time and distance.

With testing over, I had fallen into that countdown mode.  I was determined to not redecorate the classroom.  Why bother when it just all has to come down in 20 days, right?   I was so tired.  Other teachers do it every year, why can't I?  That lasted about two days.  I couldn't do it.

Earlier this week, I was digging through my bulletin board cupboard looking for the next workshop's vocabulary word strips when one of my little darlings for HW Club came in and said, "Finally!"

"Finally what?" I asked.

"We're putting stuff up again.  It is boring in here," she replied with all the tact of a sixth grader in spring.

After sighing, and thinking that to myself that I was really only going to put up the vocabulary words, I looked around the room and agreed with her.  So instead of leaving after the kids did and going by Brighton on the way home (shiny things make a girl feel good), I put the room back together and tried a few new things too.

"Trial" Math Warm Up and Quotation Board

This is just a trial board, to work out the kinks for next year.  I think I am going to invest in a few clipboards to hang to hold the daily problems.  I could get all crafty and paint them or use contact paper to make them pretty.  Right now I have binder clips on construction paper.  The quotes will have to go on tag board with clips.  The warm up has been on the chalkboard, but this really sets a tone as an established routine and expectation.

A new word count board went up with their Reading Counts stats, and their vocabulary words.  And since it was pointed out to me by several of my little darlings that we had "needed the maps" and they weren't on the wall, they went back up in the corner above the printer.  The cupboard doors all got new brightly colored labels, and for the white board labels with our Agenda and other daily business, I used the "fancy scissors" (I was pleased to remember that they make a girl feel good too).

So, this has been a long week, but it was all worth it.  The last few days have been better.  The kids were excited and thrilled to see the new stuff up.  They have magically started to remember how to get through their rotations without having traffic jams.  I have been reminded that good things are happening in my classroom, and that it isn't over yet.  My favorite moment was when one of my tough jaded seventh graders came in the first day the room was back up and smiled, "Hey, its a happy room again."  He was right:)  It looks like the first week of school and it feels like the countdown clock has been reset.


  1. Yay! I always feel so out of the loop so far away...

    As always, it looks really good. :)

  2. Wow, you are quick! Thank you! And you are too far away:)

  3. Thank you, I love that shade of pink on the classroom walls. It really does brighten things up.

  4. I loved reading this--perhaps because it mirrored my own sentiments so closely!
    Thanks for the pep talk!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

    1. I was thinking the same thing when I checked in with your blog this morning:)