Monday, August 13, 2007

180 days and counting....

Today kicked off a new school year for me. I love teaching. I keep complaining and saying I need to do something different, or I need changes in my life, or I need a better job with better benefits and a better salary, but the truth is I love the classroom. It fills so many needs for me. It's my comfort zone, my mission field, my challenge in life, my good times, my bad times. It's the place I see a dozen smiles a day and hear a dozen curse words. It's the place I see the hardest workers in the world, and the place I encounter the laziest. It's the place that makes me feel like I'm ahead in life, and the place that puts me behind in life. It makes me cry; it makes me joyous; it makes me less judgemental; it makes me appreciate.

It defines me.

I've been working on my syllabus, rearranging my classroom, putting up bulletin boards, deciding what to wear, and organizing my thoughts for the first few days of classes. It's a big job, and gets bigger every year I teach (And I thought the longer I taught the easier my job would become...WRONG...definitely not in the technology age!) But what a great time in history to be a teacher!

So as I started thinking about this year, this cartoon always come to mind. I've searched for it online, but couldn't find it to I"ll just write it for you.

One student, with backpack in tow is talking to a lawyer.
"I want to sue my teacher for stupidity," he explains.
The lawyer replies, "Your teacher is stupid?"
"No," says the student, "I am."

I've gone to tables this year rather than chairs. I've been asking for the last four years and this year I just finally did...the age-old adage "it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission" seems to still work. So, with the new furniture and new look of my classroom will come a new phrase..."GREAT NEWS! There's lots of room for learning in here today!" :)

In my cooperative learning groups this year I'm going to focus on remembering three things:
First...individual written work
Second...bring that individual work to a small group....then come to a consensus within the group
Third....take that to large group discussion...thus mediation/arbitration
Then...moving further...we might use this to solve a problem....???

I read Marzano and Kendall's new book "The New Taxonomy of Educational Objectives" last week and I want to keep in mind that students can interact four grade levels higher than their reading level.

I hope this year my classroom is going to be one Giant Metacognitive Organism....Thinking, Reading, Discussing!