Saturday, August 25, 2012

School Time Flies By

Already the first three weeks have flown and we are starting our fourth week. My schedule changed dramatically from last year and I have a mix of high school and junior high classes. The joy of teaching in a small rural school!

I started Interactive Social Studies Notebooks with each class and I have to say my high school students are a little resistant to the idea. They are going along with the program, but they don't see the big picture. I have some students who are finding them very helpful as a way to organize information. I also went off the textbook and I'm using notes, handouts, and projects to teach the standards. I didn't see any real difference in the first assessment but I know the students are more engaged in class.

This week was book fair week and I was able to take all of my classes by restructuring some class time. My high school students rarely get to attend and I have some avid readers. They were happy to spend money and I wish we were able to host both high school and middle school book fairs. Some of the YA books are a little young for my high school students. But I love reading and the librarian and I were able to share and encourage some readers.

My book bags came home full! I purchased hard copies of the Hunger Games trilogy and the Percy Jackson Olympians series. I also added Chasing Lincoln's Killer and Bloody Times for my Civil War reading. I added Divergent, Sound Bender and The Fast and the Furriest to find some new to me authors. I know I have more books in my bag, but I left them at school so that I could discuss them with my students. As I read, I'll post quick reviews as soon as the nights are cool and encourage me to read on the back porch.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Nervousness Setting In

We've had our first half day of school, schedules have been doled out, forms given, and students met! Now the fun will really begin. We have an administration day tomorrow and I'm still not set on what I'm doing for my first day of class.

Tennessee has a tax free weekend this weekend and I didn't give out a supply list today because I want them to have the chance to take advantage of the weekend. I'm sure many will have the basics on Friday and I want a chance to explain our interactive notebooks and what they will need to work with them. I always keep a supply of basic pencils and paper in my room.

This year, I'm a traveling teacher. I have three US History classes and one geography. The classes are in both our high school and junior high. Traveling between rooms will make it a little difficult to have supplies stocked in each location. But I'm determined to give it my all.

Having just started creating interactive notebooks, I'm still learning and processing all that I have to do to make this a successful tool for my students. I'm trying to not rely on my textbook and to revamp the materials I have to be more visual and thought provoking. I know that the first week we will be learning classroom procedures. The students and I will be learning together. I'm using a pretest with my HS students, giving them time to show me what they know individually but then giving them group time to fill in the gaps.

I am still mulling over what I want to do with my JR high groups. I need to bounce ideas off of coworkers and get over my nervous feelings about starting our notebooks. I love being excited about my job!