As readers of my blog know, last year was particularly difficult. It seemed like it took the whole year to get into a routine. But this year is so different. Yes, I have an inclusion class, which brings with it a multitude of learning issues. Yes, I have a new co-teacher, which means helping an adult learn the routines, as well as the kids. Yes, I still have a massive amount of stimulus money training, meaning lots of time out of the classroom. But somehow, we have already gotten into a routine of sorts.
Friday was our seventh day of school. School this year started with two days of school followed by two days off for Rosh Hashana. It's very hard to set a routine when you are not in school. And this is how the first four days seemed to me:
- Kids sit in their desks and listen...to me introduce routines, to me introduce class materials, to me introduce beginning units, to me introduce technology tools. (Feel free to yawn. They did.)
- My talking kept getting interrupted by support staff coming in to schedule reading, speech, OT, and ESL.
Day 5 I finally introduce assignments that are fun and long term. The children were excited and delved right in. So by day 7 we had an amazing day. Here's what we did on Friday.
- While the students were working on their Hopes and Dreams in their new Google apps Google docs, I sat at my computer and sent chat messages to them about their work. The word "cool" came up quite often as students discovered the ability to chat with me in Google docs.
- Three computers were set up in the room throughout the day and students rotated through to create a Voki that will be embedded on their blog.
- My aide took students out of the room in small groups to add their voice to our Sign of the Beaver prediction VoiceThread.
- The students worked on making their blogsites attractive while Lauryn (my new co-teacher) and I edited blogs and worked with individual students.
- The students began moving - to see the BrainPop video better, to get a fidget toy, to grab a calculator to check work, to ask a friend for help.
This was the first day that my room felt like some semblance of what it should. Students moving around, talking while working, asking each other for help searching for images, reconnecting to our internet server, editing their writing. We still had some time sitting in seats listening to me but for most of the day, it was a fun day of independent and group learning. Hurray for early starts!
Image: 'Welcome to the Machine'
Image: 'So happy =)'