This is my computer classroom as seen from behind my desk. At the time this picture was taken, my desk is actually looking pretty good!! (I need one of those signs that says, “A clean desk is the sign of a sick mind”!!)
My room has computers set up against 3 walls in a U configuration. I like this set-up because I can see all of the student’s monitors. If you look in the far upper-right corner, you can see a hanging TV. There is another one in the upper-left corner. I wrote and was awarded a grant last year from my district’s amazing education foundation!! I also have a projector in the front of my room. Now when I’m lecturing and/or going over code, my students have 3 places where they can view the code. Maybe you can also tell from the picture, that I’m totally against empty wall space. I’m in an interior room in my building so I have a large nature view poster on the back middle wall for a sad substitute window. The rest of my posters are motivational, funny, computer science, video game, college, and a couple of Harrison Ford movie posters.
What you see on the computers is the various programming textbooks. I have classroom sets for my textbooks and they just get left at the computers. For those of you that know programming, we are a bit behind the times. We are still using Visual Studio 2010.
As far as my teaching organization, I keep a stack of 4 baskets on my desk where I store the folders for the current chapters I’m covering in programming and where students turn in their work. Beside my desk I keep a cart of baskets where my students get their programming correction sheets when they come to class. I get to school everyday at 6:00 am to grade programs. I let (make) the students correct their programs until they are 100% correct. Yes, it’s a lot of grading, but they learn from their mistakes, and perfect practice makes perfect! All of the grading is worth it when my former students come back and tell me their first year in college engineering/computer science is easy because of my classes!
Tips and tricks? Always be nice to the custodians and secretaries. Keep the Kleenex box AWAY from your desk. Take vitamins year round. Be ready to just put the work away for a while and have fun. For the longest time, I absolutely killed myself to have everything graded for the next day. (I used to teach math.) Some stuff can wait, and some stuff can get an “effort” grade, or no grade at all. Really!!! And some advice my principal-dad gave me was to not wish away the school year. When I started teaching, I was a new young mom and I couldn’t wait for summer so I could spend all of my time with my kids. My dad said, “You are wishing away 9 1/2 months every year. That’s a lot of time wasted.” I don’t know why those words hit me like they did, but I tried to start appreciating every single day. Lastly, and most importantly, have fun!!
A side note about the grant I wrote-“A Better View From the Cheap Seats”-I noticed that I was getting more and more students that had accommodations for front row seating. Sometimes my front row seats need to be used for those precious students that need a gentle reminder to stay on task or exercise their right to remain silent….After an evaluation, one of my principals asked me, “what would make your life easier?” After all the sarcastic comments quieted down, I had a crazy idea about using monitors in the back of the room to display my monitor. I used various sizes of paper to represent monitors and placement before I decided on the ones that I have. I actually have position-able arms for the TVs, but the maintenance people used brackets to put them up this summer. I’m hoping I can eventually get the arms up with the TVs to reduce the glare. But overall, I’m extremely pleased with how they are working out in my classroom!!