Week one D-O-N-E. While it was a little difficult getting back on a schedule, seeing some of my favorite colleagues and eventually new and old students alike made the adjustment easier. We start off with two "work" days, which are fairly packed with meetings and whatnot. I have learned over time to just try to be as ready as I can over the summer, knowing that the first two days are really limited for productivity. My goals for the workdays were getting our pre-assessment ready and approved, pacing our Algebra 1 calendar, gradebook setup (***Vomit***), and just a few other odds and ends. I wait for rosters as long as possible, because they always are in flux until mid-September.
Wednesday kids arrived and I was nervous and excited. I had planned for the first day to get them on Google Classroom, my website, do a Desmos Math Survey Activity, then do the SuperStairs 3-Act task with a biography assignment for homework. After cramming my first hour kids with the whole slate of tasks, I removed the 3-Act for time considerations, and the rest of the day went smoothly. My feet hurt, but otherwise things went well.
On Thursday, we built norms. I decided to go a little more by the book with Capturing Kids Hearts training, but added an activity where students brainstormed attitudes and actions to ensure success in the class. I then complied them together and will print to have kids sign the social contracts in my room. That activity got better as the day progressed. Kids did an EDPuzzle for the syllabus as their homework.
On Friday, I got kids on to DeltaMath, introduced the Bootcamp Unit, and then had them take the Algebra Pre-Test. I hate that I have to give it at all because students freak out a bit, but I did my best to communicate that it was just a snapshot, they would likely not know most of the material now, and that they would all rock the post-test. Still, it is bad for math mindset. I could possibly delay giving it, but I'd be then aiding their pre-test abilities as I have to start instructing math (kinda my job)... so from the standpoint of evaluation, that is dumb. SORRY KIDS!
My schedule is a little challenging, having 6 straight class periods. While I can eat during Peer Leadership, it is at the other side of the school and goes really fast. I do like ending my day with 2 preps, but I have to be more disciplined in getting stuff done. Friday I was like ... um... no... I am just sitting here. Ultimately, I think my schedule will be awesome, but I need to acclimate myself.
The other challenges now are getting to know my kids in an expedited manner and how to get my Algebra Intervention class running smooth, particularly with my timing. In regard to the former, I have never been a fan of a seating chart right off the bat. First, I think it it comes off a little authoritarian, and when building quality relationships with kids is a goal, I think it is an obstacle. That said, I learn names the best when it is a face, to a place, to a name. So I am going to go to seating charts on the second day next year, as my spirit animal intros worked well to get kids to introduce themselves (which is a sneaky way to have the kids take their own attendance while saying their own names correctly). I went with sticky tabs for my seating chart and am using Team Shake again for seating chart generation.
In regard to the latter, I am having some difficulty with pacing the end of my Intervention class. It lasts a period and a half, so I am constantly trying to decide the minutia of continuing or terminating activities, giving movement or brain breaks, or giving work time. With time, I am sure it will be okay, but I gotta get that figured out sooner than later. The Intervention kids seem excited (most of them) so that is a good start.
I made a positive phone call home already. One of my students had been awfully polite, focused, and was enrolling into DeltaMath and other things early (which I allowed, but figured no one would). On the end of the second day, I had to get sticky notes from my office right outside my room, so I told this young man "You're in charge." In the 15 seconds it took to leave and return, I came in to see him up and walking around the room, making sure that students were staying on task. It made my week, so a positive call home was warranted.