Reflect and Refresh Part 1: Looking Back

I ran into this linky this morning and I thought it was a great way to reflect on this past year.

One of my mentor teachers in college told me to always have one goal to focus on for the year.  It can be little or it can be big.  This year mine was pretty big.  It was on parent communication.  In order to get it all accomplished, I incorporated several things. Two of the most effective resources I used were my monthly newsletters and calendars. 

This is an example of my newsletters.  
A big lesson I learned was to keep it clean and simple.  Parents admitted to me that they weren't reading the school newsletters because they were so long.  They ended up on the counter to be read later, only to be tossed out.  I made sure to keep the content streamlined and as simple as possible so that parents could read quickly through everything.  A bonus to this is that I no longer struggle with trying to "fill-up" space on newsletters. I get right to the point and they are easy to fill out, which means they actually go out on time now. 

My calendars were a huge hit with my parents and my kids.  
Lots of parents kept these on the fridge and some kids wanted them in their binders to reference back to.  I was amazed at how my kids went from not knowing how to read anything on these to being able to read everything independently by the end of the year.  One of the amazing things about first grade!

This year all my content was brand new!  It was my first year teaching first grade and even though I had taught second grade for seven years prior, I still felt like a brand new teacher.  I'm looking forward to knowing my grade level this upcoming year :-)

Organization and Management
Two years ago my goal was classroom organization and my system has been working!  I think I should buy stock in Sterilite...
What set me on my quest into organization was my teacher toolbox.  When I discovered the beauty of knowing where everything was at all times, I was hooked on organizing!

 I then started using my to-do drawer system.  Amazing!  It is a huge time saver, not to mention that I no longer lose my originals.

 These subject bins were something that saved me this year.  I tried copying a couple weeks ahead of time before and I ended up misplacing those copies by the time I needed them.  So I decided to make something just for this purpose.

Once I'm ready to use those copies for the upcoming week, I place them in this bin. 

I then put my original copies in my binder system.  I no longer use cabinet files because I noticed that they ended up being a collection heap of things I rarely looked at. These binders are much easier to keep neat and organized :-) 

My Summer Project
I am tweaking my classroom this year.  I was going to be moving to another school, but my admin convinced me to stay for a bit longer...but that wasn't until I had taken down my whole classroom.  So now I have to go in and put it all back up again.  Now that I've taken it all down, I'm using this as an opportunity to redo some things that weren't working in my set up and add to my theme for this year. 

Now head over to Terrific Teaching and Learning and link up :-)


  1. I love those binders! So cute and colorful. I'm with you, binders work better for me than files.

    Made with Love

  2. Organization makes my heart happy! Thanks for doing more than your fair share to keep us all organized! I love all of the bright colors and cute kiddos :)


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