Today after picking up one of The Littles from her Jumpstart summer school program, we ran errands. Boring, right? Bank, pharmacy and lunch (which isn't boring really). I've had my super fabulous spending cash burning a hole in my pocket since LAST week even though THIS week is pay week. I found this fabulous easel one of our local stores. I couldn't get it off my mind. Being that I teach big kids, I don't get an easel with my room. Last year, I kinda sorta stole one from an empty room across the hall. That room had been used more or less as storage from the time we opened the building in August 2008 and the easel had been an extra from down on the K-1 floor that wasn't being used. So I took it for use in my room. And use it we did!
People often chuckle when I tell them that yes, indeed, I made my 4th grade students join me in a circle on the floor to do some whole group teaching and for class meeting. I don't think it is that weird but some of my upper grade colleagues think it is. Everything I've read about literacy recently (Daily 5, CAFE book, Mentor Texts, and on and on) talks about having the children meet in a comfortable place on the floor for whole group mini-lessons before setting them off to work. And I really think that the "big kids" don't even think twice about it unless you make a big deal about it. I think my 4th graders liked it because I wasn't too embarassed to still do an older version of the "circle time" many of them enjoyed in the younger grades. Plus then I know everyone is with me because they are all within just a few feet of me.
When I saw this easel, I couldn't get it out of my mind. I wanted it so bad because I am 99% sure I won't have one at New School. It was $24.99 which isn't much compared to the easels I have seen in teacher magazines. This one is perfect because I can store stuff underneath it in tubs and crates for when I am working with math groups or whatnot. Plus it is double sided. Maybe a little "young" for my big kid classroom but it's a perfect height for me to sit in a small chair and write on it.
I think it just might've been the best $25 I've spent this summer!