It’s Back to School time. For most of us, it’s, “Let me go back to school after this most recent break and proceed with my year.” For some of us, mostly at the middle school and high school level, it’s time to get new students and start the school year over again. I am now focusing on what I need to do to prepare for #BacktoSchool at this point in the year.
My immediate thoughts are, “Hmmmm, what do I want to do to prep for a good remainder of the year?”
I am looking at what worked, what didn’t work and what I should have done. I chose to focus on 3 categories:
Each day our work will have a Daily Focus
- Monday #ManicMonday – organizing for the week’s work
- Tuesday #TIPTuesday – guided assignment with tips and notes
- Wednesday #WordyWednesday – vocabulary based assignments
- Thursday #ThoughtfulThursday – RAFT writing
- Friday #FinishItFriday – All assignments are due
Daily themes let them know what to expect from the class. #ManicMonday is crazy with new concepts and vocabulary. They will have to complete guided notes so that they are exposed to new formatting information needed for the week’s work. On #WordyWednesdays, they will have a variety of vocabulary focused activities to complete.
Daily Agenda Slides
Objective: Edit Word document: paragraph formatting, text formatting, and bullets.
Homework: Study Vocabulary
My 9th graders had a hard time the first semester keeping up with assignments, and I had a hard time servicing all of them at once. Problem: visual learners, early finishers, and poor organizational skills.
- How-To Videos can be replayed whenever necessary to help my Scholars complete their assignments.
- Leadership Teams will be able to collect and distribute papers, take attendance, launch online programs, etc.
- Grading Station will allow early finishers to have the opportunity to check their work for correct answers.
- Participation Sheets that list the daily agenda and allow them to keep track of completed work and scores.Each day we will complete the DoNow and participation sheet before I show them a ‘how-to’ video that shows how to format the current assignment. I hope that the ability to check off assignments as they are completed will help students keep track of their work. My early finishers can help coach their learning community in the turn and talk sessions that will be held towards the end of class. I want them to use each other as resources. This semester I intend to utilize my Leadership Teams so that much of the mundane paperwork can become part of their duties and routines. I am going take advantage of student helpers so that I can free myself up more to circulate, help, and most importantly so that my students become more invested in the workings of our class.
Rules and procedures are necessary for a smooth running classroom but having students feel comfortable in a safe and caring learning environment is equally important. As my Leadership Team takes roll, I will be tuned in to the students reply to the Daily Attendance Question of the Day. I want them to have quick discussions about topics relative to them that gives insight into their lives. For example:
- What was the best part of the Christmas break?
- What was the most interesting thing that you saw this morning on your way to school?
- How does sadness taste?
- What color is joy?
It is my goal to talk regularly with my students so that I can identify students that have stronger or weaker social connections and act accordingly. Here are some of the journal posts that we will regularly share. I want them to share and discuss things that are of interest to them.
We are creating poetry as part of our BackToSchool work. We will be creating our own version of the Where I’m From by George Ella Lyons. It is a great community building activity that helps everyone see how we have in common. It’s easy to see the differences. The similarities become apparent when sharing out like this. Once my students complete the poem template, I will have them to create several visuals to accompany their poem. Here are some of the ones from last semester.
My goal for this semester is be a supportive force for my students so that they can excel and create. I want them to use tech tools to publish blog posts, produce videos and share the knowledge gained. I am constantly looking for ways to encourage them to express themselves as they seek Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Word Certification.