Saturday, September 8, 2012

First Week Down

This has been an incredibly busy first week back at school.  Last year at this time, Amanda and I were in a daze.  It was our first year with our own classrooms and we arrived the night before the first day of school.  That first week is a blur, and I have disjointed memories of it.

How I want my students to feel this year.
This year, though, is leaving an impression.  I feel a lot more confident this year (as all second year teachers to, I'm sure) with my procedures and routines.  I have been hammering home this sort of thing, so that my students completely understand my expectations.  We've had the odd blip in the program, but, for the most part, things have been running smoothly.  I'm ecstatic that my hand signal procedure is working so well.  I was a little hesitant, because it seems too juvenile, but my students are really using them.  The Eights have fully taken hold of it, and they use them outside of the classroom too.  The Nines are similarly getting used to using them.  The Tens are using them, but they are a bit infrequent.

The second week is where I think the test will come for the procedures.  Last week everything was new and interesting, but this coming week will be when the students realize they are staying here for another 9 months.    I just need to remember to remind them every time they fail to follow one of my procedures.

Outside of in-school hours, Amanda and I are already spending copious amounts of time preparing material after school and at home.  In fact, we just got back from the school an hour or so ago.  This was our modus operandi last year too, but I feel like I have even more to do this year.  Starting a gamified classroom (3, really) is an incredible amount of work.  Not to mention that I am trying to juggle 3 themes (fantasy, science fiction, and superhero) as well as creating uniquely themed assignments, bell work, etc.  For instance, I have written introduction stories to each grade's theme.  They are several pages long (I enjoy writing), and they are written specifically for each grade.  I wanted to create these as a way to immerse the students in the themed year idea, and to provide context for the gamified elements of the classroom.

One of the first battles/quests my students will go on is to create a back story for their character, and, in order to model what I want, I have created a character and a back story as well.  Of course this is best practice, but the increased amount of DIY stuff I'm doing this year has meant that my workload has increased a lot.  Oh well, I do enjoy it.

Back to figuring out my students' current levels (they love this).

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