Sunday, September 19, 2010

The First 7 Days

I really dislike the beginning of the year.  I feel like I spend my time waiting.  Waiting for the class to become a family, waiting for the projects to begin and kids to get out of their seats, waiting for the kids to be comfortable with our routines and to stop asking for assistance with them.  Waiting for the year to begin.  

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 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: 'dozer
Image: 'So happy =)


Moturoa said...

Some days just hum. So pleased that things started off so well this school year. Long may it continue.


TSmith said...

Your experience shows in how you viewed the new year now and your expectations for the changes to come. Your description of the kids working with the various tools is an excellent example that I will use with my teacher education students tomorrow when I show them your blog entry. Cheers!

Terry Smith

room2 said...

Good to get a picture of your classroom as you start out for the year. Sounds like things have got off to a good start. Tina Donnell