Imagine walking into a color coordinated room, not a scrap of paper on the floor, nothing shoved inside a desk (that you can see), 25 first graders absolutely silent at 8 am, paper lanterns in the corner, mood lighting feet by a variety of colorful lamps, a reading cave with colorful pillows and flashlights, teacher desk with file folders, no "put this away later" baskets, jack Johnson playing soothing music and a slight air freshner scent traveling through the room.
That is the absolute opposite of my room!
(But not for long!!!)
I've learned over time that teachers often can be sorted into two different categories:
1. Cutesy/ organizational genius/ room arrangement
2. Differentiation/ data/ scheduling/ computers/ technology
3. Then sometimes there are those teachers that are both!!!! I want to be them. (My husband- even though not a teacher definitely falls into this category.)
I totally fall in the second type of teacher category. I feel like I'm in a world of my own because my type typically seems to be teachers in older grades. I however teach delightful first grade students.
I've worked at two different schools. The same thing has happened at both- I look to the left and to the right and see adorable hallway decorations. As I sneak into their rooms I notice student work hanging, everything is color coordinated and has a place.
Then I go back to my room. I have what I. Consider "adorable" data tracking sheets, anchor charts, inspirational quotes. Some organization but definitely not the "cute" factor like all of my colleagues. :-(
Believe me- I have tried for 8 years. I can imagine it in my head- but I hardly ever can make it happen. Most times it takes me days to make something that will take those type 1 teachers an hour.
I always try to remember this when I teach students. I always share my story too. I love art- but it doesn't come easy and I have to work really hard to be able to do it. Then I tell them about two of my siblings that can free draw about anything!
Back to my "aha" point of teacher bartering.
So- many of my friends are the total opposite of me. So- I started teacher bartering this summer. :-)
Make daily 5 signs, customized word wall labels in exchange for a friend painting me inspirational paintings to hang in my classroom.
Make differentiated kindergarten centers in exchange for them organizing my room!
Make word work centers in exchange for an awesome Pinterest chevron cork board. (Okay- my teamy is just that nice that she did it out of the goodness of her heart! How I love her!)
I feel like all of my bartering friends got the "short end of the stick." I feel like I have won the lottery!
Here are the unfinished centers for the K friend. Everything was purchased at the dollar tree. I had so much fun going up and down the aisles turning on my Dave Burgess brain and thinking- "How can I use this for independent centers?"
Why not? They are in color! Add sheet protectors and binders or folders. :-)
So my friends- lesson learned:
1. Barter away and take advantage of your friends' skills! What is easy to you- may not be for everyone! Please remember that if you ever meet me and ask me to draw something like a dog. I've been told my dogs, cats, cows, and horses all look exactly the same! :-(
Have a great weekend! :-)