Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Night Photos: Signs of School

Friday nights is when I share photos I'm taking to try to improve my photography skills, although this week the photos are really just for fun. Monday morning I'll be resuming my double identity of Ms. Denny by day and Kalyn in the kitchen by night, so I thought some of my blogging friends might like a peek into my third grade classroom. I had to edit so it didn't show the students' names, but imagine a bulletin board with this sign surrounded by whimsical stars, and that's the entrance to my room.


The front whiteboard is all ready with the days assignments, and if you look at the abbreviations we use on our planner sheets (NTW = not this week and NT = not today) you can see I'm preparing these kids for their future of texting and Twitter.

How to reduce glare is definitely a photography skill I need to practice, but this sign is something I refer to a lot during the year, and it does get the message across to parents as well as students!

Anyone who's been a teacher knows that with every privilege comes rules if you're going to maintain order with a big class of 8 year olds. This year I have 25 students, and I bought water bottles which are waiting on their desks for the first day of school. (Thank you to the Utah State Legislature for the $285 of teacher supply money which permits me to buy those kinds of things!)

Our entire district uses the Peacebuilders program for elementary school, and every morning the kids say the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, followed by this peacebuilder pledge.

Again cropped so the kids names don't show, but this shows my classroom money system. Kids start the week with $5 in class money. If they break rules they have to pay a fine and kids who lose assignments, pencils, or other supplies have to pay for new ones. On Friday they get whatever money is left in the pocket. (Just like real life, some kids run out of money before Friday while others end the year with big bank accounts.)

Friday afternoon they get to spend their money in the "class store" or they can use it to buy Bear Cub Awards to spend at the school store. Kids take turns "working" in the store as cashier, which is a popular job.

Finally, one of the surest signs that this is a Utah classroom is the fact that there is no air conditioning, despite temperatures often in the 90's when school starts in the fall and ends in the spring. I have four fans in the room, and am hoping for reasonably cool weather for next week!
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22 comments:

Cheryl said...

I bet you're a great teacher! Somehow I doubt there are many cupcake parties in your class =)And I'm impressed that you take such care to perfect your photography.

Randy said...

Ah, those are so cute. It just made me remember of days when I was young, I mean very young.

My teacher won't blog about class but I think if every teacher blogs about the class, it will make them dedicated and enjoy their work. :-)

Randy

Cate said...

Love the pay day system! A great way to teach the kids some money responsibility, and I'm sure they have fun with it to boot. :)

Vikki said...

Awww, makes me sad and rather melancholy. I'm no longer able to teach due to health issues. But I taught pre-k and kindergarten for over 20 years and I miss my babies and my classroom terribly. The beginning of the year is so exciting.
And I do understand the heat. Even with a/c it's hotter than whodathunkit here in Tx for the first month or so of school.
I wish you a happy, fun, successful year!
Vikki

Kalyn said...

Cheryl, thanks. You're right I don't give the kids sugary treats. Actually our school participates in Gold Medal Schools, where teachers agree not to reward kids with food. They do get those kinds of goodies for holiday parties though and kids are allowed to bring a treat for their birthday.

Randy, glad you liked the signs.

Cate, the money system is great. I think the idea that they have to pay for things they lose is especially helpful in teaching them to take care of their stuff.

Vikki, thank you. I'm hoping for a good year.

jenefr said...

Enjoy your back to school! I'm at a YR so we've been in for 4 weeks now (another sign of teaching in Utah!).

Glenna said...

Kalyn, What a wonderful classroom! It's obvious from how organized and how many wonderful opportunities you have for the kids that you're an awesome teacher. Thanks so much for showing us your room. I love those peeks into my blogging friends' lives.

Holler said...

That was fun Kalyn, thank you :)

Farmgirl Susan said...

I love the 10 Tips poster!

Jenny said...

I love the money idea for my kids at home, what a great one!
And I like the water bottle idea, giving your kids each a bottle is a great way to start the year.
PS One more week (insert happy dance here) until my kids are back in school (insert another happy dance here!) We start and end a bit later than you do.

Christine said...

Great classroom, Kalyn!

Gabi said...

What an awesome teacher you must be Kalyn! You make me feel wistfully nostalgic for the third grade. I love kids that age- for the most part I think they are still idealistic and enthusiastic human beings. You have the opportunity to impact their vision of the world and themselves so greatly in these elementary school years. I wish Utah would spend more on education but I am SO glad that there are still dedicated teachers such as you in the (hot)classroom. Welcome back Ms. Denny!

Pam said...

This was a great post. I loved looking at your classroom. And I especially love the reading sign. I hope you have a good school year!

jen maiser said...

Kalyn, this was so fun to see! So glad you posted this.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kalyn,

To help reduce glare in photos, do not use flash.

If you have a digital SLR (the way to go), I would suggest not using the camera's flash. Purchase a separate flash unit and point the flash up. Your interior shots will be dramatically improved with this technique. The light bounces off the ceiling creating a wonderfully soft look. Direct flash on a subject is harsh and usually unflattering.

Also, look up the Rule of Thirds for tips of good photo composition. XO

Valentina said...

It has been great to have a 'peak'on your day. Some great initiatives there. I used to teach myself.Miss those days.

mfgisme said...

The Peacebuilders program looks excellent! I am looking for something to start for our afterschool group, but I can't get registered....do you know how to find the site license #?
Thanks!

Kalyn said...

mfgisme, sorry but I don't know anything about how to sign up for it, I just gave that link to illustrate what it was. I know our whole district signed up and (I think paid money to have teachers trained) to participate in the program. It really is an outstanding program, very comprehensive with lots of parts to it. I'd recommend contacting them through the link I gave, or Maybe try google to see what else you can find about it.

mfgisme said...

Thanks, Kalyn, I will try googling :)
Have a great school year!

Stephine said...

I wish our schools would participate in things like this "gold medal" program you speak of. I'm still begging for a better childhood nutrition program.
I can certainly say I wish I had had a teacher like you growing up! Looks like an awesome classroom! :)
Hope it's a great year!!

SteamyKitchen said...

That's so cool to get a sneak peek at your day job!!

noobcook said...

Thanks for a peek to your life at school... I love reading about it ;) Your photos are lovely ... I think the glare can be reduced by using a polarizing filter if you're using a dslr ... or by standing sideways or not firing your flash hehe

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