Monday, August 22, 2016

Easy First Day Seating Plan for Secondary

One thing I realized when I went from elementary to secondary, and especially a secondary elective, is that I DO need a seating chart to maximize class time but it can be a huge hassle to get kids in their seats! I wanted to show you a quick method I have been using, which has been very successful for getting kids in the classroom and into a seat on the first day of class or any time I change a seating chart where it doesn't have to be too exact.

First, I drew out a diagram of my room. I labeled each table with a number, then put in line for the number of chairs I have at each table. 

Then, I look at each class and the number of students I will have. I cross out any seats I would like to remain empty. In the seating chart above, I only have 26 students in that class. I have 31 seats, so I crossed out an entire table and one seat on a table that can become crowded.

Then, I made note cards for that class. The class is period 1 on A-days. I made 26 note cards, labeling them for each table. So, for example, since I have just 4 seats I'm using for table 7 in this class, I have four note cards with table 7 assigned to them.

Last, I made table tents on each table with the table number. This way when students walk into the classroom, they can easily find their table.

On the first day of class, as students come in, I will greet them at the door and hand them a notecard at random. Then, they can quickly find their seat with directions that will be on the board!

I have each student write their preferred name (and last name) on the note card. Then, I collect them at the end of class and can use them to put the seating chart on paper! It's a great way to easily get their preferred name. I can also take a look at who is where and move students accordingly if certain students need preferential seating via IEPs or 504 plans. When they come in next class, I can quietly move those couple students that might need it without much fuss.

I know not everyone has tables in their classroom, but you could easily use the same method for groups of desks or rows by labeling the groups or the rows similarly to how I named my tables.

Some of you may wonder why I even have a seating chart, but it is my style. I teach an every other day class that is 42 minutes long. I see over 300 students over the course of two days, so it works for me.

What do you think? What have you tried that works for you?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Space Between

I asked my advisory students what their ideal learning environment is. Where do they learn best. Describe it.

I learn best in my room. (It has) a bed and a beanbag to rest and think. Plenty of open space.

I learn best at home in my room. It's quiet. It's me. Alone.

I learn best in a stimulated room where we get to experience what we're learning. (I need) a good teacher and hands-on experience. 

I learn best in a colorful environment. Interacting with things. With friends. Trial and error.

I learn best in a quiet environment. There's a table, pencils, and a stack of paper. A person to teach the concept. It's a quiet room.

I learn best in a quiet room. There's comfy chairs.

I learn best in a dark room, a cozy chair, a quiet area. It's a comfortable spot to learn.

It's quiet, slightly messy, cozy, dark. There's exciting stuff to learn, experiments, fun ideas to learn.

And this is where I'm at.

Where do I go from here?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

a good reminder

As a teacher, we often flee to summer break (a much deserved one, might I add) with a hands in the air, I'M FREEEE, attitude. Many of our students radiate this attitude, too. I admit, I was that way this year for sure.

Yesterday, however, I saw a student at the store. He said, "I miss school so much." It hit me like a rock. A reminder: summer break isn't happy for all.

As I saw the student hand over a handful of change without counting it to the dollar store clerk to buy a pack of cheap soda and some crackers, I gathered that this might be his lunch for the day. I knew a tiny bit of this student's history and home life. I asked the clerk if he'd given her enough as she counted it and offered to make up the difference...

Summer break isn't happy for all. School is a place many students receive more love and care than in their homes.

I don't really know where I'm going with this... and given I haven't blogged here in over a year, I'm not sure why I decided to return for this short of a post, but I just felt it needed to be said.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Reflections on my first year as an elective teacher.

I was becoming exhausted as an elementary classroom teacher. I wanted something new. So, I ventured into the elective teacher world. I wrote previously about my new gig here.

One thing I did love in the elementary classroom was the deep connections and relationships I could form with students throughout the year. I even felt myself become a little sad that I probably wouldn't experience that this year. I have 300 kiddos come in and out of my room over the course of two days.

Cue the last day of school. A student, who I truly had connected with, showed up at my door with a plant and a two page hand written letter.

Cue the tears.

I knew I had build a special relationship with her, just relating to common experiences, sharing common interests. I really had no idea I'd made SUCH an impression. Thinking about her, she really is just like me when I was in sixth grade. I'm so glad I connected with her.

Just like that starfish story, I made a difference with that one.

It was a great reminder to me just to keep doing what I'm doing. This year has been wonderful. I have really enjoyed the world of electives. And I still can forge those deep connections.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thoughts on Wikipedia

Today I introduced my students to their next research project for communications class. Each were assigned a social media site and asked to answer some questions about its history, purpose, and use by individuals and businesses. We have quite a locked down web filter in our school at the present, so most of the sights they wanted to research about are blocked.

I told them flat out, other teachers may tell you to avoid Wikipedia, but I want you to use it. It might be your best source of information.

Yep. That's what I believe.


I told them..

Yes, pages get changed. Yes anyone can edit it. But, most pages that get messed with are the controversial ones.

If you're unsure if the page is correct, check another source like you should be doing anyways.

The footnotes of most Wikipedia pages are treasure troves of other resources you could check out.

People adopt and edit Wikipedia pages to make sure they stay clean. 

These pages may be the most up to date information you can find.

Use it.

Be critical of it.

Wikipedia is not bad.

It's good.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

More Homework Meme #morehomework

My wonderful brother invited me to share some things about myself with you.  Enjoy!

First, 11 things you may not know about me.

1. While applying to college, I had two very different paths in mind. 1) Go to Iowa State and major in Marketing. 2) Go to Wartburg and major in elementary education. Because of financial aid, I chose #2, and my life would never be the same because of that choice.

2. I never want to own a dog.

3. I have a small Etsy shop. Though if you've been reading my tweets lately, you'll notice I've been a little more vocal about it.

4. I document what I wear. I wouldn't say I'm a fashion blogger, but I enjoy looking nice.

5. My first job was at a restaurant called The Garden of Eatin' complete with Adam and Eve on the pizza boxes.

6. I worked running a parts washer machine at a metal factory the summer after my freshman year of college. Just call me Rosie the Rivieter.

7. When I was in college, my brother and I co-hosted a show, "Townsley Time," on the campus radio station.  Russ and his buddies were about our only dedicated listeners as we reported on the cafeteria menu and other random things. I did not know him at the time. We met over a year later.

8. I've never been out of the country.

9. We don't do Santa at our house, and I think Elf on a Shelf looks creepy, but I don't voice my opinions about it much.

10. I clip coupons and have had a manager's approval on some of my purchases because of the amount of discount.

11. Pumpkin is my favorite scent and taste. Second is peppermint.

 Now onto Matt's questions:

1. What book written prior to 1990 has influenced your professional growth as an educator the most?

Not sure I've ready one prior to 1990 that I can recall right now. I thought Teaching with Love and Logic was old, but that's just 1995.

2. Why did you decide to start blogging?

I wanted to share my thoughts, and I enjoy writing.

3. Which educational author do you disagree with the most?
Any that back up letter grades.

4. What is your favorite fast food joint?
McDonald's for their Frappes and bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit

5. When was the last time you told someone you loved them?
Today - I tell my boys all the time.

6.What is most picturesque place you've visited?
Grand Lake Colorado, on the Fourth of July

7. What is your favorite holiday song?
Oh Holy Night

8. What was the last book you read?
Currently reading Allegiant (last in the Divergent trilogy). I'm a junkie for a good dystopian novel.

9. If you could work any job outside of education, what would it be?
I'd own a shop that sells cupcakes and fun accessories.

10. Android or iOS?
iOS - never going back to Android

11. What was the first computer you owned? 
An eMachine desktop that looked something like this. I took bought it for college.

I'm supposed to tag bloggers and make a new list of 11 questions, but I just can't think of 11 bloggers. I'm going to have to end the chain, sorry, but this was fun!!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Always on the Clock

As a teacher, the job doesn't end when contract time is up at the end of the day. I don't mean the paperwork or the planning, I mean the title.

Today started out like a normal Saturday. We headed off to the local fireman's pancake breakfast.

"Hey, Mrs. Goerend! Is that your baby?" - Student.

"Yep, this is Wesley. He's sleeping." - me in my non-showered, pony-tailed, baby wearing appearance.

Which proceeded into an introduction to the student's mom. (I teach 300+ kids over two days, so, no, I haven't met every parent yet.)

- 30 minutes later. Still at the pancake breakfast - 

"Hi, Mrs. Goerend! Is that your baby? Where's Mr. Goerend?" - Student.

(proceed to have a conversation...then one with the student's mom about my class)

- Three hours later at the grocery store -

Wave and say, "Hi" to a former student selling Boy Scout popcorn as I lug the baby in his carseat into the store.

- 10 minutes later -

Wave to two students as I drive home.

- Three hours later -

Woman shows up to buy something from the local swap page.

"Oh, I was looking up your address and my daughter said, 'oh, that's my Leadership teacher!'"


And that was all by 2pm.

Do I teach in a small town? No. Fastest growing district in Iowa.

Today was a reminder to me that I'm always on the clock. I'm always Mrs. Goerend. 

Do you choose to live in the community in which you teach? If so, why? If not, why not?