Thursday, August 30, 2012

The New Year

We just finished up our first week back in Kuwait.  We were flown in a week ahead of the start of school, so that we can get our classrooms ready for the new year.  Our school has grown by over 200 students this year and we have added several new classrooms.  I'm in one of the new ones, and, thankfully, it is quite big. There was a worry, see, our school is housed in an old government school building and we aren't really able to add to it at all.  Therefore, the classrooms tend to get smaller as we cram more and more inside the school compound.  Nevertheless, my classroom is starting to come together.  I'll be posting some pictures later, but I've got all my material up on the walls, the Smart Board is installed, and so is the whiteboard and cork board.  Unfortunately, our chairs haven't arrived yet so my kids will have to sit on banquet chairs for the first few days of classes.

My school
As I've mentioned before, our school week runs Sunday-Thursday.  My weekend starts tomorrow, when we will get some groceries, and then we will head back to the school on Saturday to prep for Sunday's first day mayhem.  This year I will be focusing on fostering respect and community thinking for the first few weeks, as that can be a problem here in Kuwait (in any school, I suppose).  To go along with that, I will be hammering home the routines and procedures I want to be followed.  Last year was my first real year in the classroom (I taught ESL communication in South Korea for a year, but I don't necessarily count that) and we arrived the day that school started.  That meant that the first few weeks were about survival, and not the proper establishment of routines and procedures.   I came out no worse for wear, but I began my summer vacation researching the procedures I wanted in place.  It is all pretty standard fare, but these are the things that will save me a lot of headaches later on.

I decided to laminate the procedures I have at the moment (I'm sure some more will eventually be added), and I have hung them at the front of the class next to the Smart Board.  We will discuss these ad nauseum for the first week, and I will consistently refer the students to the document if they forget the procedure for a particular action.  Similarly, I have created laminated posters for the levelling explanation and process (XP), as well as the Class Dojo behaviour management system (BP).  As I said, though, I will take some pictures this week of the classroom.

Also, I'm going to post the levelling profile chart I made and I'll go into more detail for the  levelling and behaviour systems I have in place.  It is an exciting time of year!


P.S. I forgot a rather funny item.  I went to check on the books that were ordered for my students, and it turns out that somewhere along the line my grade 10 grammar textbook changed from an English with Arabic explanations one to an English with Thai explanations one.  Oops.

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