The Reading I Didn’t Do and Classroom Bootcamp

I won’t bother showing you an update on my Goodreads account because I didn’t actually get in any reading yesterday.  Well, I take that back: I read about 30 pages of The Dinner last night before falling asleep.  Any reading is good reading.  I spent the day with a girlfriend who had a tremendously long to-do list, and found that she was much more efficient at completing tasks if she had someone with her.  Is it a “misery loves company” or “guilt into action” situation?  I’m not sure, but I’ll use any excuse to eat Panera and chat with a friend while being productive.  While she worked on her projects, I spent the time analyzing my English IV Bootcamp content.

Let’s start with what it’s not:

  • Classroom management strategy
  • Scare tactics
  • A system to weed out the weak from the strong
  • A simple review of content from previous years

What is Classroom Bootcamp?

My definition for classroom bootcamp can best be described by its purpose: to support future learning by establishing a solid foundation of the key components and skill necessary for mastery.

There are many different ways that teachers can create a classroom bootcamp, but for my purpose and grade level (AP Language & Senior English), I prefer a systematic clustering of key concepts presented in a way that allows students to make connections between themselves, their world, and other content areas.  Each class period is constructed with:

  1. an introduction/anticipatory set through the Bell Ringer/Bell Work activity
  2. activity to allow students to engage their prior knowledge
  3. collaborative activity, even if it’s just a “Think-Pair-Share”
  4. application to a real-world event or problem
  5. application to a text

Because I will be working with older students, there will be two main topics focused on during my classroom bootcamp: vocabulary and analysis.

Analysis and Vocab Bootcamp


Full Drawers and Tummies

Happy Monday!  It’s easy to be in love with a Monday afternoon when you are still in Winter Break. It’s just one of the many benefits of being a teacher.  Today, my husband and I celebrated another reason: Teacher Hero Day at Tijuana Flats!


My dangerously delicious blackened chicken saladTFlats

With one set of drawers full, I decided it was time to pass some gas put my new drawers together for my office/craft room.

Get Organized

This is what the room looked at the beginning of the new makeover:


The first step was to just painting the office and moving the furniture around.  This happened over the summer and through the course of “living in” the room, I was able to adjust things so that it suits my needs more efficiently.  I moved my kitchen table-turned-desk-turned-craft-table where the orange chair is and move my desk-always-was-a-desk to the other side of the room.  This left an empty, awkward space under the shelves on the wall:

Empty Space

Enter two storage carts!

Rolling Cart

They were SUPER easy to put together and I was able to do so in about 15 minutes from start to finish.

Two Carts

I spent the next 45 minutes deciding what to put in each drawer and in which cart.  The final conclusion was to put all of my Christmas card/gift tag materials in the cart on the left and my more multipurpose materials in the one on the right; items like scissors, rulers, paper punches, and office supplies.  I’m sure, like the room in general, the more I “live in” them, the more they will morph to suit my needs.

Craft Room

Pre-Planning Day One

It was the most difficult thing in the world, or at least that had happened to me in the past twelve hours, to wake up when my alarm went off Monday morning at 5:00 AM.  I had been promising myself that I would practice waking up early, going to the gym, and being my vibrant self before 8:00 AM.  Welp.  Let’s just say that I should have started earlier.  Lessons for next summer.

It’s difficult to complain because I had a glorious ten weeks away from the classroom to rejuvenate my weary mind and soul.  Also, I have the best job in the world.  I truly do believe that, and it’s not because I haven’t “done it” since June 5th.

Monday’s agenda called for a meet-and-greet with the new staff members, getting caught up with old friends, and eating!!!  Breakfast and lunch were provided by our administration, so it was much easier to get back into the “listen and take notes/serious mode.” As an added bonus, we were given about two hours in our classrooms that we were not expecting.  I switched classrooms this year, so this was definitely a plus in my mind.

BEFORE Classroom 2013 2

BEFORE Classroom 2013

Yes, I had to say goodbye to my GORGEOUS wall mural, but after meeting the awesome teacher who will be its new owner, it was much easier to pass the torch.

Wall Mural


I am always nervous meeting the new-hires because of the unknown, but after getting some time to chat, I am even more excited about the prospect of being head of this wonderful department!  Speaking of that, I have my first meeting as department head this afternoon.  My goals for this new position:

  1. Be open and a good listener
  2. Never let the “power” go to my head
  3. Work as a team, which was truly lacking in my past experiences
  4. Create innovative and effective strategies within our department
  5. Be the bra of the department: it’s all about support!
  6. Be the type of person that everyone can feel comfortable talking to and coming to with questions or advice