Tomorrow marks the start of the new school year, my seventh at my current school. My room's set up, handouts for the first day are copied, seating chart's done, and the tissues/hand sanitizer/lotion station's resupplied and ready to go.
I've made a few tweaks to my grading system, and clarified a couple of initial lessons. I still want to tweak my summer reading essay assignment, revise a quote of the day analysis activity I've used as a warm up in previous years (which will serve as my "Do Now" on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), and create a "non fiction reading log" type of assignment that students can use on Tuesdays and Thursdays when we read the newspaper.
One of my goals this year is to incorporate regular reading of the newspaper into all my classes, not just Journalism. There's a lot of value in knowing about what's going on in the world. There's also something to be said for the element of choice that comes into play when one picks up a newspaper. Helping students to better read non-fiction texts while simultaneously fostering a positive association with reading are two great things. To this day, there are few things I enjoy more than Sunday mornings with a fresh cup of coffee and the latest Boston Sunday Globe.
Aside from getting kids to read the paper, I'm going to want them all to have Gmail accounts, so they can become familiar with Google Docs. Almost all of my students who have used it in the past love it, as it's user-friendly and makes it easy to work on assignments at home and at school without having to worry about USB drives, e-mail attachments, and the like.
This weekend I hope to create my first vocabulary video, which I can model for the kids. I'm excited about the potential this idea has, but like anything new, it needs to be explicitly taught. And before I can explicitly teach it, I need to be sure I know what I'm doing and why I'm doing it!
While it can be easy to let the weight of local, state, and federal mandates sink our spirits as educators, we're also buoyed by the opportunities to create and help our students make meaning of this amazing and complex world.
Happy First Day!
Buoy image by jouste