September marks the beginning of a new school year, and changes are bound to occur. This year, we have several new staff members at our school, including a new secretary and administrator. Our former principal took a position at the Central Office Level, and our assistant principal moved into her position. In addition to these changes, we have several new students, and students who have moved. We continue to have new students enroll throughout the school year, but the bulk tends to be in the first few weeks. All things considered, our first week back with the kids went pretty smoothly.
I did not make any major changes to my classroom, mainly because of the amount of space and doors/cabinets to factor in. Thankfully as the art teacher I remain in the same space year after year. However, I did want to position my ‘desk’ area to face all of the tables as opposed to having my back towards them. Here’s how my space was set up previously:
I no longer have the need for a separate projector screen and dry erase board because the chalkboard was covered with a dry erase surface over the summer. The board is still pretty magnetic, but now it doubles as a projector screen and writable surface.
I’ve moved my desk/demonstration area behind the area rug, and it seems to create a little more space in the front of the room at the entrance.
Another change in the room is the ‘Take Five’ space, which has been adapted in every classroom. This space is supposed to serve as a place to reflect, take a deep breath, etc. and is meant to encourage students to stay in the classroom when they need time to get ready for class (as opposed to being sent to the behavior specialist or school counselor). I hope that this strategy will help students manage their behavior and emotions in an effective way.
Here’s me on the first day of school!
I’ve also been experiencing a few changes in my own life. Our cat died back in May, and we had been holding off on getting a new pet since we knew our summer schedule would be busy with travel and other events. On September 1st, we decided to go to the Humane Society to adopt a cat. Most of the animals were sleeping during our visit, but we saw one cat that seemed very friendly and energetic based on his interaction with one of the volunteers. An older couple had requested to meet with him in one of the interaction rooms. We also requested to see him after that, and we expressed our interested in adoption. I’m not certain if the other couple wanted to adopt him as well, but they offered us the opportunity.
We welcomed Jasper (shelter name Smokey) to our family that day! We named him after Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, where we had taken a trip a few weeks ago. Coincidentally, the park was smoky during a portion of our trip because of fires that had blown smoke from British Columbia. I suppose both names are appropriate 🙂
On September 3rd, I began participating in a 30-Day Clean Eating Program through a friend who is an Arbonne Consultant. My main reason for participating was not necessarily to lose weight, but to reduce bloat and inflammation through consciously selecting foods that nourish and provide energy. I’ve already learned a lot about selecting items at the grocery store by reading labels and making adjustments to meals. I strive to continue healthy eating/drinking habits beyond the 30 days, though I plan to reintroduce some of the foods and drinks that I am currently avoiding. The two images below have been helpful in determining what to eat/what to avoid, and what to purchase as organic (Dirty Dozen).
The program start date just happened to coincide with the start of the school year, and I decided to set it up as a challenge for myself. Some of the main items to eliminate from my diet during the 30 days include sugar, dairy, soy, caffeine, and alcohol. Thus far, discontinuing my morning coffee routine has been the most challenging, but I’ve managed to adjust. I’ve become more aware of foods that include some of the previously listed ingredients, and I have been able to navigate around them without starving myself. The program includes a few supplements including protein, fiber, and energy powders, but I am confident that these items are made with quality ingredients. I’ve lost 4 pounds in the first week alone, and I have maintained my energy levels without relying on caffeine. So far, so good!
What types of changes are you experiencing in your life?