Friday, September 6, 2013

What We Did the First Two Weeks

We don't waste time looking for supplies.

Today is the end of our second week of school. It's actually our eighth day of classes, as we took a four-day weekend for Labor Day, and today is Fall Field Day, so we won't have afternoon classes, but close enough. Here's a partial look at what we've done so far:

  • We have filled the bins on each table with notebooks, colored pencils, rulers, glue sticks, highlighters, and scissors. This means that we have used all of those items. I only had to threaten to take away the rulers once.
  • We have made the classroom our own. I have, for the first time, a variety of chair types in the room, and when it's independent reading time, or gather at the imaginary rug time, students get what they need with a minimum of fuss. It'll only be better when we get a real rug. So far, there hasn't been any crying or fighting over chairs.
  • Every student has been reading a book every day. Given a choice, they always want to keep reading. If I have to make up a standardized assessment with three students, everyone else will read silently with zero fuss. Even last period.
  • Many students are already on their second or third book of the year. They come to me, almost apologetically, saying: "I already finished this. I had some extra time last night."
  • Students are already adventurous readers, willing to check out unfamiliar or challenging titles. No one at this point is stuck in a rut below their level.
  • They all want Champion by Marie Lu to come out. Yesterday.
  • They are already stepping up as school leaders, which is not at all an automatic thing for 8th graders. Today we are joining Catholic schools nationwide to pray for peace. I told the 8th grade yesterday that we had volunteered them to take the lead. We talked about the best way to do this in a crowded gym, and more importantly, how to handle any questions from younger students during Field Day, which will be spent in mixed-grade communities. As the oldest students in their communities, they know how important it is to lead by example, even in something as simple as staying quiet when the prayer ends. We talked about what to say if a kindergartener asks why we prayed. As 8th graders, they know more of the details about Syria, but those aren't the answers for our youngest students. They get that.
  • We made it to our first Friday without any sparkle pony attacks. We remain vigilant.
  • And this happened:

Enjoy your weekend!

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