Additionally, I am getting the basic planning done for a huge collaborative tile mural the entire fourth grade will be doing. A partial grant for that came in near the end of last school year, too late for the kiln work to be done, but now this fall, we can get started. I still need to find a few volunteer tile setters, but I have faith that "if we build it..." This is very much a "pirate" concept. You can see the acronym below (citation: http://www.3rdgradethoughts.com/2013/07/what-im-reading-wednesday-teach-like.html#.UfaOIGZ5HJw), and follow on Twitter #TLAP.
I also went on a giant purge of "stuff", starting with our neighborhood garage sale at the beginning of the summer, giant pick-up of the leftovers at donatestuff.com, then our whole family raided the bookcases and we hauled a bunch to "Half-Price Books" and got some cash. I had a lot of disappointing art ed books, that once I was past the newbie stage, really were just a waste of space. That led me to dive into my LP's, and let me tell you, once I started going through those, I realized how much better my planning and curriculum designing got as I became more experienced. Binders and binders of paper lessons got distilled into two "best of" binders, and I really recommend this process---highly reflective and informative. I eventually went back to my 2013/14 curriculum map, and compared it to the previous maps going back 12 years. Wow--so much more integrated, real-world, and generally, more open-ended now! I am relieved that the latest iteration of the c.m. falls right in line with passion, immersion, etc. I would have totally redone it if necessary, and was prepared to do so. I ended up just needing to fix the robot unit hook and get my resources prepped and stored online for easy access.
So, I am very much looking forward to utilizing the boards I have updated, and in late fall, seeing how a game-based approach will work (man, that was never in the "Ed" books we had to read in grad school). A lot of our teachers in our building are into doing a TLAP book study, so I will have nice support there. The game-ifying will be more difficult to implement, but I will post how it is going as the school year progresses.