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So You're Moving Classrooms...


Whether you are moving for the 27th time and you just want to crawl in one of your bins and cry... Or you are moving for the first time and you still want to crawl in one of your bins and cry, this post is for you.

I've been there. Moving sucks... no matter what capacity you have to move. Houses, schools, classrooms, hallways... waaaahhhhhhh. It all makes me want to cry too.

I am going into my 4th year of teaching and this is the 4th time I am moving. I have never had the luxury of just moving classrooms either. I have moved schools each time (I swear, I don't get fired or that I am running away from my schools each year ha!)

I got to stay in my first classroom for two years (whoop whoop!)

Then my first school built a new school so we had to pack up the whole school and move at the end of my second year. However, I never got to teach at that new school (waaahhhhh again). I literally moved classrooms twice in one summer.

My husband got a job weeks before school started and we had to pack up our house and then sort through all the stuff in storage and at the "new school" to re-pack it before I even got to teach there. We then moved everything 350 miles across the state and lived in a hotel my first three weeks of school. Not for the weak!

We survived (even though my husband was about thisclose to tossing my whole classroom, after it was more work to move than our house ha!) and now I am moving schools again to a nearby district. Even more so, my classroom isn't ready, so I have to store all my stuff yet again.

I am here to help based on what I have learned in the hopes that your loved ones won't want to toss your whole classroom :).
Boxes

Just a notice to start collecting them now. I can tell you that in the four times I've moved I have NEVER said, "I have all these extra boxes. Now what?" I am usually diving through dumpsters or creating a presentation to convince my husband why I need 1,984 more bins from the store. 



DO use your students (or other teachers' students) to help

I can say this from experience... your students are a great resource (if you teach primary, I will get to that in one second). 

When we had to pack up the whole school, because we were getting a new one, I was honestly kind of annoyed because so many people were moving and packing for a solid two weeks (while we were still in school!) I knew that I could get my whole room packed, with the help of my students, in less than a day, and we did. They also went and then helped my primary grade teaching friend pack hers too! 

I know we couldn't pack the whole school in that short time, but when you have a whole army of students who can (and want to!) help, then it honestly doesn't take that long. Don't stress about time. It will, and always does, get done. 

Now, if you teach primary and don't want a bunch of 5 year olds packing boxes :). send an email or ask your teacher friends if you can borrow some older kids. 

I have always taught the oldest group of kids at my schools, and there are some kids who are so helpful (and always ask if I need help) and I send them. We have no problem sharing, especially at the end of the year. 



DON'T use your students to help if you don't want to 

I know I am contradicting myself a bit, but I have a reason. 

My students are always so helpful, but sometimes they aren't ha! 

When it comes to my teacher supplies, professional development books, my resources binders, and even certain sections of the classroom library, I tell my students to leave it. This allows me time to think about what I need for the summer, and how I will pack it. 

The most difficult thing that comes from students helping is they pack EVERYTHING. And I mean EVERYTHING. If you know you need to go through stuff to purge or organize for storage then don't let them pack it, because they will. 

You will then get to your new classroom with 47 copies of a book you don't need (with a bunch of random school supplies rolling around the bottom) and you just moved this said box all over the state for no reason (Don't tell your husband about this. He will not be amused that the heaviest box of the bunch was basically just an arm workout). 

This can sometimes be hard when your students really want to help, and you are kind of out of ideas for what they can do, but just have some adult coloring pages on hand, until you can find something you do need help with. You will thank yourself later.  

Classroom Library 

This is always the most daunting task for me, simply because of the volume of books I have. However, this has actually led to, what I consider, a very updated and well-kept classroom library. 

Despite my library bins, I pack it into big boxes and bins every single time. My students help me a lot, but again, there are bins I have told them to leave. 

For example, I have a bunch of DRA 38 and DRA 40 book club sets. I'm teaching 7th and 8th next year and I want to store all my "too young" stuff in my basement in labeled bins. 

I probably won't need them, but I will know exactly where they are if I do and I can just go grab them, as opposed to trying to find a place to store them, in my new room "just in case" I need them. 


Storage
This is always the hardest part, but there are a few things I have learned, especially after last summer. When we moved, we were able to leave all of our stuff in the garage of our old house for the three weeks we would be living in hotels, while we waited to close on our house in our new town. This meant I got one truck load and one car load for my classroom for the first three weeks. 

I literally had this one box that went everywhere with me while we were in limbo. Essentially I had my go to professional development books, my laminator, a small printer, my lesson planner, my laptop, scissors, and a few other things I couldn't live without out. 

My husband thought I was nuts, but it was part of the reason I kept my sanity while I started a new job living in a hotel :). 

Also, when we got to the point of taking my truck load of stuff to my classroom, I was really good about storing super important stuff on top so that I could take that first. Even if you aren't in my same situation, it's super helpful to not have to dig through bins to get what you need. 


Inventory
This is something I have not done, but plan to do this year. This is a great thing for students to help with. For things like scissors, colored pencils, markers, crayons, notebooks, folders, glue, tape, etc. have students do a count of how much you have. 

I even plan to have mine organize all my colored pencils in one bin, markers in one bin, scissors in a bin etc. That way I'm not buying all this stuff I think I need, when in reality it is just packed away somewhere. 

This would also be a great time to think about copies. I don't recommend using the rest of the schools' copy budget for you new school, but at the end of last year, I made the first weeks' copies of morning work, introduction letters, supplies list (basically all the first weeks stuff) so that I wasn't a complete crazy person the week before school. 

This was also one of the things I carried everywhere with me in my bin "just in case." It was super helpful in my first weeks because I didn't really know how to make copies and stuff at my new school right away (and how many schools' technology is up and running right away anyway). 

Organization on the other end

I actually asked my husband what his advice was for husbands (or family members) who have a teacher wife moving classrooms. 

We had to do a lot of coordinating with my new school, principal, custodians, the keepers of keys :). etc. His advice was to make sure to coordinate and don't be afraid to ask for accommodations for your stuff. Most principals and staff truly understand and will figure something out to help you, even if your classroom isn't ready quite yet. 

Again, nothing worse than showing up to your new school, with a truck load of stuff.... no keys.... no one to contact... and it starts to rain on all your stuff... and you don't have a house to store it in because you are living in a hotel... and you have to go the hardware store to buy a tarp... so your teacher wife doesn't have a meltdown about all her books getting ruined.... 

.... are any of you amazed that my husband is still around? Me too! ha! He sure loves me and my crazy teacher moving shenanigans. 

It will get done

Even if people are rushing you, or you are rushing yourself, or everybody is already checked out (because they don't have to move an entire classroom.... basically you are comparing apples to oranges here), or you have a deadline, I swear it will get done. It always does. 

Even if the custodian is basically throwing your stuff out of the classroom because he couldn't wait to get rid of you and your messy students, and that's how the final boxes leave your classroom... well... it will be done. 

Basically I just tried to help you all learn from my mistakes, but if you have any other logistics or questions feel free to ask me in the comments on my blog or even on instagram! I would be more than happy to answer or even add on to this post. 

MUAH!
Martina 

Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner



Hi friends,

I just got my Erin Condren Teacher Lesson Planner and thought I would share it with you :).

This is actually my 5th teacher planner and I feel like they get better every year. I still use an Erin Condren Life Planner for my "life," and a variety of checklists and other planning pages, but my lesson planner is basically my snapshot for the week, and I reference it all week long.

Pretty packaging as always :)


I basically ordered EVERYTHING possible so this was what my package looked like when I opened the wrapping and bubble wrap.


So my husband thinks I'm absolutely ridiculous but I HAD to have the Teacher Planner carrying case. When I first saw the previews of planners and cases, I basically knew I wanted this one because of the font. 


Even the back of the case is pretty :)


One time I didn't order the notepads that matched and I immediately regretted it. I use my Erin Condren Notepads all the time and I LOVE that you can choose whether or not you want lines now. 

I didn't like their previous pens, but these ones seemed more my type of pen. They still aren't as smooth as I would like, but I love these SO MUCH more than the old ones. 

I really love that each pen has an inspirational word on the lids. 


This might be my favorite planner ever. I love the apple/heart image, the font, and the simplicity of it. I am also RIDICULOUSLY excited for my new school, so I couldn't wait to put the name on my planner. 


Again, the back is just as beautiful as the front. 


 This is the pouch that always comes with the planners. Lots of goodies in it if you've never gotten a panner before. 


Now I will just show you what the inside pages look like :). 

This is the front. The front cover can be used with dry erase markers now. 


Next pages... again LOVE the fonts aggghhhhh




I am teaching 6th-8th grade next year and I actually want to keep track of birthdays and do something small for each kid {because birthdays are the best} so I plan to use this for once! 


I don't usually use these pages for absences but I usually find a way to use it.


I always use these pages for seating charts. 


Again, I think I will use these more than ever because I am teaching 6th-8th and I will have to cycle my curriculum {and not teach the same things three years in a row ha!--- something new for me, that I am really going to have to think about}


This is the notes and quote page right before July's monthly calendar. There are two more pages for notes each month, a quote, and different color scheme, each month as well. 


The July monthly calendar.


These pages make the bulk of the planner. You get about 40 weeks of these pages for lesson plans. I use these pages every week for my snapshot overview. At the beginning of the year, it's mostly just a reminder for me. By the middle of the year I use these pages for all of my planning. 

This is mostly because I have switched grades and/or schools each year. When I taught the same grade two years in a row, I was able to use this the whole year for my lesson plans. 

I usually divide by subjects, but next year, I will divide it by class periods because I am going to a middle school setting. 


I use these randomly throughout the year, but I love the option of having them for when I need to track stuff about my students. 


The stickers this year are so cute and I LOVE the colors. They also have blank ones for you to write on. 



These are the pockets found at the end of the planner and since I am stuffy mcstufferson, they work great for when I need to just stuff papers in my planner.


I think this one is soooooooo pretty... 


Everything fits perfects in the pouch. I literally plan on carrying it everywhere #sorrynotsorry


Lastly, I got one of their teacher t-shirts because #noselfcontrol. 



MUAH! 

Martina 

Sometimes the right book is the right timing.

I have been wanting to blog about this for a long time because it is something that has resonated with me since I my first year of teaching.

I will set the scene…

It was my first year teaching 5th grade. I was passionate about reading (and also read aloud). I wanted to read the books that everyone was reading and loving in their fifth grade classrooms…. So I picked up R.J. Palacio's recently popular novel, Wonder.


My 5th graders and I started out strong, setting time aside every day to read parts of the book…. Well time management got the best of me, I hadn't learned how valuable read aloud time was (and that it is some of our most precious time), and my 5th graders, and I alike, were losing track of the plot and the characters.

Weeks, gosh maybe even months, later we finished Wonder, and that was about it. We finished it. We didn't have long conversations about it. We weren't sad it was over. In fact, we were all relieved to have finished the book. I've never really recovered.

Now, don't misunderstand me. I am not saying Wonder is a bad book. I'm just saying it was not the right time. To this day, I haven't re-visited it with a class because of the past experience. I probably never will…. but this isn't because I don't like it. It was my fault and I hand't seized the opportunity of a read aloud. I just feel like the time was wrong and I didn't get to fall in the love with the book when I should have.

This isn't just to talk about the wrong time for books though. This is also my story of how a book comes at the right time and changes your life…. This happened just a few short months later.

…. Anyway, I had a strong group of readers, who just weren't as passionate as they should be, about reading. I wasn't helping their cause when I kept putting book club books in their hands that were a "higher" level for the sake of "challenge" or books I'd heard were good (you'd think I would have learned from the Wonder fiasco).

They had abandoned two books at this point and we had picked another book for their book club, Freak the Mighty. I totally judged this book on it's cover and was unconvinced, but they had picked it and I was willing to try.


5, 6, maybe even 7 chapters later, I was ready to abandon it (I know right!) I just didn't get the dialogue and how he talked, and I started to stress that my group was going to want to quit again. Well… we met in book club, and I was kind of right. They were not thrilled, but I told them we were going to finish this book. It's pretty short and they could do it.

I went home that night, got a little motivated to try and push through the book, and my life changed forever. I got to about page 90 when everything changes. I finished the book, and realized what it meant to be a reader and a teacher. I still remember how I felt after finishing that night.

First of all, I learned, books aren't always meant to be entertaining on page one. As a reader, I knew that, but as a teacher, I was letting these kids abandon books left and right. I was able to go back to that book club and say, "OH MY GOD! YOU GUYS HAVE TO FINISH THIS BOOK!" They did and they all had  transformations as readers.

Secondly, books can transform us and our whole classroom. This same groups asked to do this book as a novel study/ read aloud for the end of the year. We did. They told the whole class to stick with it. They were passionate and excited about reading it with the whole class. It was easy for the class to get into it because a group of us were already so passionate about it. Again, it changed the whole class and our community as readers.

Third, I finally learned not to judge a book by its cover.

Fourth, I've learned to pay attention to my students. I've had groups who LOVE The Egypt Game and groups who just couldn't get through it. It just wasn't the right fit for some. And that's okay. I think both instances were, again, a matter of timing.

Anyway…

During my second year (in 5th grade again) I did the exact same thing. I read Freak the Mighty with a book club and then also as a "novel study." We were all transformed again. This time though, I was able to show my excitement from the beginning, and thus my students were excited and engaged from the beginning.

My story is not done yet though!

I just moved towns, districts, and grades to teach 6th grade. I teach at a school that had placed a large focus on reading for points/rewards. Needless to say, I had a lot of students who HATED reading.

I knew I wanted to start 6th grade with Freak the Mighty. THEY LOVED IT FROM DAY ONE. I knew they would. I placed no emphasis on reading points or rewards. I just was basically like, "This  book is awesome, so we are going to read it." There was really no other explanation.

We read the book and had amazing discussions after each section. Sixth graders, who basically think they are "too cool for school," were begging for more each day, trying to read ahead, and talking about it on the way to class. Other teachers were coming up to me and saying my 6th graders were out at recess every day talking about the book.

I have read some amazing books in my last 4 years as a teacher, but Freak the Mighty is like my child. I can not move past how it changed me and how it transformed me as a teacher and a reader…. and how it continues to change me and my students every single time I read it.

I am teaching 7th and 8th grade ELA next year, and if there is one thing I will do, it will be to read Freak the Mighty. I might even read it both years, even though I will have the same kids from 7th to 8th.

I am really blogging about this because I think some people think I love Freak the Mighty just too much, but it's very hard for me to express this whole story in a few sentences. I also wrote it because people always recommend Wonder to me. I realize they probably had some transformative experience with it and their students and that's why. And that's good!

I think we should read the stories that have changed us and know will change our students as well. Mine just happens to be Freak the Mighty :).

Hey it's OK...