Monday, August 31, 2015

SOL September 1, 2015 - Back in the Thick of it!

It's the start of another school year and today will be the fifth day of actual school with my amazing students. This year is somewhat of an Even-Steven year for me. Counting my graduate degree, gained while teaching, I have eighteen years of education. I am starting my eighteenth year as a classroom teacher. I taught public high school science for nine years and am starting my ninth year as a core classroom teacher for 6-8th graders at a K-8 private school. I'm very curious to see what this year brings and what the next steps are for me as a teacher and learner.

It has been a very fun start to school and I'm feeling an excitement for teaching I have not felt in a few years. Everything goes through some ebbs and flows and it feels like things are starting to "flow" a little more easily right now in the classroom.

My class consists of twenty-three students 6th to 8th grade. I have thirteen students who have been in my class for one or two years already and ten students new to my class, although they are mixed across all three grades. I am their teacher for language arts, science, social studies, art, and most importantly, their individual units. They will have pull out math and electives a few hours each week that will cross over some of these topics, but most of their week is spent with me and my teaching associate (or co-teacher if you will). We do lots of hands on projects, go on trips to experience the world, and hopefully delve deeply into our passions, all while hopefully creating a safe community to be middle school students.

Here is a list of a few things we have done so far the first four days:

  • A little writing activity outside on the front lawn on the first day
  • A trip to the Botanic Gardens for some group time and field journaling
  • Set up blogs to create an online reading and writing community
  • Built aliens/superheroes with the other two middle school classes that both move and have special powers to help us this year
  • Had some time with our buddies, a class of 7-8 year olds in the classroom below us
  • Created a jumbo craft stick 'cobra' that stretched well over 100' around the class (see the video below)
  • Learned a couple of magic tricks to go along with the class unit of "Behind the Curtain." We will consider what something looks like on the outside, or things that could be magic, and then pull back the curtain to reveal what's really going on. Organisms on a cellular level, politics and spin, and asking/answering questions about things we don't actually understand.
Coming up we will start short stories, research individual units, and meet with the teachers who take the students on field trips related to their individual units.

It is wonderful to be this excited as I look ahead at the entire year! I hope all you teachers out there are having a great start to your respective school years as well!

Here is the craft stick video. A student went home and told his parents, "We learned about potential energy, kinetic energy and teamwork! It was awesome!"