This year, I have the pleasure of teaching grade 7 once again (tentatively until the end of November). I was very hesitant about taking this position, but it has turned out to be a great decision, so far. My students are wonderful. They are just what I needed.
So, without carrying on.... here's how WEEK ONE went down...
I used my "Day Planner" pack again this year. Easy to use and set up :)
When this rolls out, it gets real! LOL.
I usually go a little overboard with getting my room ready. This year, I took it easy. Kept it simple.
Last year I purchased a few of Catherine of the "The Brown-Bag Teacher's" products that I was able to put to good use. The word wall letters and the Believe Board turned out great :)
The We Believe Subway Art is a new take on make a "rule board". They are statements that we agree to adhere to as a class. On day one, we had a great discussion about what each meant and why they are each so important. I also took pictures of each of my students that I will have them sign with their signature. These pictures will be mounted in between each statement. It will be a reminder to the students what we have agreed upon as a class.
I have already referred to these statements a few times as different things occur. Love them!
I love incorporating team challenges into week one. The challenge was to use 20 sticks of spaghetti, one metre of tape and one large marshmallow to build the tallest freestanding structure. It immediately allows me to see who are my "out of the box thinkers", leaders, talkers, observers..... the students that are want to do well, and the students who just go with the flow. Those who listen to others and those who take over. It's an AWESOME activity! A keeper! :)
From there, the students participated in a GALLERY WALK, where they quietly walked around, observing each structure. Then, each student was provided with reflection questions.
I absolutely loved reading their responses! This challenge 'clicked' with them.... which of course made me smile :)
Other highlights this week...
I love get to know you activities, but I also LOVE getting back into gear! And that's we did!
We began our Science Unit: Pure Substances and Mixtures.
I introduced "How to write a *quick* Lab Report" and performed a little experiment as a refresher.
This lab looked at the three states of matter. The kids have learned a little about these early on in their schooling, but need to bring these ideas back in order to take the next step this year.
This lab had them focused in about 2 seconds! HAHA! They completed their first lab report, creating strong hypotheses about what would happen when I mixed the Root Beer with the Vanilla Ice Cream and WHY.
In Literacy, I really like to dive into reading immediately. Many 12 year olds are hesitant or feel they have no real 'need' for reading. (NOT ALL, but some!) My goal, is to show them that readers are leaders. That reading can open doors.
So where does one start?
I am not a huge fan of novel studies because it makes every student read the *same* book, whether they like it or not and assumes they are all at the same reading level. When you teach a wide variety of students and are trying to get kids to like reading again, it really narrows the tunnel. NOW, there is NOTHING wrong with novel studies, I just think you really have to know your students, how they feel about reading and where they are at.
I think that's why I like Newsela so much! I used this program last year with my 7's and it worked out great!!! So, why invent the wheel! The only difference, I am introducing it earlier this year :)
We dove into our first reading response using Newsela, and it was a hit!
We have been discussing non-fiction text features this week. Our learning goal for the next little while is to identify text features and explain their purpose.
First, we reviewed the key words/ text features that the students used in previous years, and then I introduced some new ones using the Local Newspaper.
Then, the students logged onto their Newsela Accounts and we were off! The students chose their article and reading level, and then searched for various text features embedded within. A great way to ease into Literacy... Lots more to come!
It was a busy, yet VERY productive week! I am geeked to be back in the classroom and super happy to have kids that are responding to my love for learning! :)
Looking forward to a great few weeks ahead. Stay tuned....