2 weeks down already. It's been a busy 2 weeks, with picture day, too many staff meetings, a math department meeting, a social studies department meeting, school improvement team meeting, and kickoff assembly for the parent group's big fund raiser. Whew... add in trying to get kids into MY classroom routine... let's just say: I hope the next week is a bit calmer - OH WAIT, it's homecoming week!
All that aside, it really seems like the school year is off to a great start. The kids are getting into the routine of reading the board to know what to bring to class, what day it is, what we are doing in class, etc... I am always amazed that most teachers do NOT expect students to read and follow posted instructions. I do not understand why you would want to tell them everything! It is sooo much simpler for me to do things my way.
I use a lot of positive reinforcements, OK, bribery, the first few weeks to get the routines in place. Your homework is in the basket where it belongs? A box of Nerds is yours! You remembered your AR book for math class? A roll of Smarties for you! I know all the anti-candy reasoning, and the anti-bribery thoughts... so please, spare me the criticism. It works. A few will never get into the routine, but most catch on much faster when the rewards are tangible. It only takes a few times and then I wean them off.
Our first quiz is tomorrow, knowing that Monday is NOT the best choice for a quiz, but with all the miscellaneous stuff going on last week, we got a bit off track. I am trying to quiz each Friday this year, following the Marzano logic that testing frequently promotes learning. I have always quizzed sporadically in the past, and want to give regular planned assessments of this kind a try. My problem is, I find myself frequently taking longer to get through material than I initially plan. Occasionally, we are ahead of schedule. But it just seems my plans are penciled in, not inked, so my Friday quiz may often be a Thursday or Monday quiz instead!
Social studies has been a lot of fun. I am using materials I got from Population Connection this summer and am loving the interactive discussions sparked from the activities. Students seem to be enjoying it as well. The World Population Video in particular, sparked a lot of rich conversation. I want to show it again, using it as a springboard for a conversation about the various eras of history. The book that came along with the video has a great description of them I think will be great to use.
Behavior has been very good. I had one young man suspended for skipping his 6th hour class but otherwise, none have been in any major trouble so far. I do have one who has tardies accumulating, and several with attendance issues. I wish parents would just realize how tough these habits make success.