Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Welcome to My {NEW} Classroom!

Welcome back NY!  Today was officially my sixth day back with students...we had two days of staff development on Thursday and Friday before Labor Day, and then students on Tuesday.  I can tell already that I am going to absolutely LOVE this school year!

First, have a look at my new darkroom!  Well, it's not new...not at all...but this is the first time in AT LEAST four years that you can actually walk into this room and see the counters!  Don't even ask me about the mess of chemicals I found spilled inside of those cabinets from incorrect storage methods... ;)  Hopefully I'll be good to go with dark room photography for a few years!  The chemicals are all pretty much expired, but the stop bath all seems fine, and I have powder developer and fixer in there, so hopefully that will all work.  More on my first adventure in the dark room in my next blog post!

Here's a look at my room...before children arrived!  I was allowed to purchase new stools, so I picked out these awesome art benches.  They are a bit low and I was nervous my taller students would hate them, but everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, loves them!  The students can't get over how comfortable they are AND no one is tipping over in them or pinching fingers off!  Seriously!  Those stools you see stacked up in the top right photo were all splitting in the seats and I had a kid pinch off the pad of his finger last year!  We are now going to turn those stools into an art club project. ;)

In my elementary room, the shelving behind my chalkboards was for storing class projects.  Each teacher had an individual box.  In this room, I'm blessed to be able to use these shelves for resources.  I even had TONS of fabulous art books donated to my room by my past superintendent! My goal this year is to make students use books more for research and inspiration than the internet.  If the last three years have taught me anything about high school, it's that they think if it's on the internet, it's fair game for copying!

My side wall bulletin boards have now been split into six classes instead of 3 or 4...because I officially teacher six different classes this year! (Well, actually I teach 8, but I'll get to that in a minute...)  I am using the bins as Visual Journal storage so that the students don't have to drag sketchbooks back and forth.  So far, they seem pretty excited about their homework assignments for their classes and the bins haven't been too full after each class, but it is only the second week of school! 

I used to have exit slip posters hanging on this cupboard next to the door.  Last year, I kind of got lazy and didn't really use the exit slip, so I nixed those.  Now, homework will be listed here, as well as on the Google Classroom.  Each student in our district has a Gmail account.  As I have learned, high school students don't like to write things down in planners to remember them, and they tend to be glued to their technology, so I'm going to hone in on that this year and utilize the digital classroom.  So far, everyone has been very receptive to it and I think it's going to be successful!

Let's get down to the nitty gritty.  Here is my schedule.  I am sooooo happy with it!  Not only am I down from 13 different preps to 8, but for once, I'm not overloaded every day!  In my union, the contract specifies that teachers will have 6 teaching preps daily, one duty (study hall or ISS duty), one planning period, and one lunch...UNLESS they are a special area teacher or a teacher who has a lab that connects to their class (a.k.a. science and math).  So, in the past, I've always had 7 teaching preps a day, a prep period, ISS duty, and a lunch.  Now, I only have 7 classes two days a week, and the rest are all 6, and GASP!  One day with 5!
My new cohort in my district is K-6 and special education.  She sees Pre-K - 6th grade once a cycle still, and then works in the resource room for parts of her day.  I still receive two classes from the elementary, both of which are the upper elementary special education classes.  Generally, the students are anywhere from 3rd-6th grade in those two classes, and they are some of my favorite students!!  

Other exciting news?  I actually have a common lunch period with other teachers FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 7 YEARS...and I actually have the common study hall time this year too!

I've already got my next two post, well, actually three posts, planned, so be on the look out!  My fashion design class is jumping right into making our own mannequins for sewing and pinning clothes to, and my Studio, Art 7, and Drawing & Painting classes are ALL loving the visual journal assignments that they have received as homework assignments.  Yes, that's right.  They are ENJOYING homework!  More on that to come!


  1. Congrats! A darkroom; lucky you! (Did you know I taught darkroom photo for 8 years? A long time ago, but I loved it and was sad to lose it. I'm sure I'm rusty, but let me know if I can help any way! By the way, I think I might have some negative sleeves hanging around that I could give you...

    I'm interested to see how you are making your own mannequins! I made one out of duct tape and it was... um... challenging and not very successful.

    One more thing: are you a member of the Art Teacher Blogger Facebook group? Please consider joining!