It’s a Blank Slate!

I was having a conversation with a friend about the concept of “Tabula Rasa”–someone she had met had never heard of the concept. We had a good chuckle about it, but it did get me to thinking. We have a VERY unusual profession in that we have a clear start and end to every year. We get a new group of students for a set amount of time, have to prepare our rooms and our resources, give 110% effort for an academic year, then collapse in a heap. We get a little time to try to breathe–and then we repeat.

It is a roller coaster–but it has its advantages. One of them is, for me, the idea of a “fresh start” or blank slate. Whether you think of it literally–like this:

This bad boy is huge (looks like I need to tighten that fabric again…grrrr).  I think it will be my math board.  The smaller black one I think will be a “Challenge” board and/or math rotations.

The back of my room as the boards in the top photo and these three. No idea what is going here yet–probably a welcome to fourth grade board and some “content” stuff to start the year.

To the left of this photo is my calendar board, this “up high” black bulletin board, and the purple and blue ones.  What is going on those?  Ummmmmm . . . 
or more figuratively . . . 
*We get a chance to redo things that didn’t work well
*We get a chance to start with a new group of students
*Students get a chance to start with a new teacher
*Students get a chance to build new relationships
and so on!
If you are like me, this time of year is one where I am really reflecting on what practices I want to keep, what routines should be changed or eliminated, and what I want to do with this “fresh start” to make this year the best one yet.  I am making lists and checking them twice, starting to order copies, gather resources, and . . .
As you can see above, my “blank slates” are very blank and very big and very plentiful.  Time to start brainstorming!  I know I will have a math board of some sort. . . and my calendar board . . . and a writing board, but I have lots of sketching and organizing to do!
What am I doing “new” this year?  Oh . . . just a few things.
*Genius Hour
*Words Their Way
*New math series
*Using my 6 iPads from my grant to do student blogs and online math portfolios
*Who KNOWS what else?
So–let’s hear it!  What are you doing with your “Tabula Rasa” this year?  Making any big changes?  New routines?  New bulletin boards?  New resources?  Let’s hear what everyone is doing to make the fresh start the best ever!  Here are some of my new “classroom initiatives”!