Summer is my time to shift into longer leisurely mornings, more time on the dock to read or look at the clouds reflection in our pond, travel to places we've never visited and even back to some of our favorite locations. But I am constantly on a quest to reflect and think about what shifts I am going to make in my classroom. I think it's almost impossible to turn off my teacher brain in the summer. Even in Key West, I was snapping photos that I will use this year in word work and science. The clock is ticking two weeks left of my summer and we have one more excursion which I think will be the most fun. Spending next week taking our daughter back to Charleston and helping her set up her new classroom and "watch" her move to a new place will be a highlight of our summer. I have to visualize where she is when we start again our daily phone calls after school. It's never easy to say goodbye, but we are always connected.
FIRST SHIFT: Student Ownership toward Independence
I've always thought I did pretty well with this concept. I typically allow long enough wait time. Students have constant choice in their writing and JR books. Last year, I allowed for almost totally free open seating. I believed I had this idea under control. However, through several opportunities this summer, I realized there are other opportunities for me to shift ownership.
- Starting the fist day of school, I'm not making name tags, and I am not assigning seats. Students are going to choose where they want their home base to be for the year. This will not be where they are required to sit but where their supplies will live. The extra supplies will live in large gallon Ziploc baggies in a tub so if they need something they can go shopping in the storage cabinets.
- I am going to have them create their own name tag which will be my first opportunity to learn about them. I have crated my own with icons around it that tell a little bit about me. My name tag will include books, flowers, map, stick figure 4 person family, OSU football, and a dictionary. Nothing elaborate which will not only model for them but also send a message that we are all unique but similar. I imagine playing the game if you have ---- then move to the north side of the room.
- Sending the message that we are all learners the first day of school will be an important message. Sharing what we learned over the summer will introduce inquiry and curiosity. I envision a sentence strip with a new fact. Same idea how are they similar & different. Could we compare or contrast our new learning.
The first day/week is going to look very different for me. It won't be similar to the other 27 first days of school. I'm excited about these shifts and there are more to come and I will be posting them. Happy Sunday!