Tomorrow I’ll go back to school for the three week interlude between vacations. We’ll finish the first semester and then have some breathing time, some rethinking time. I started this semester without any idea of even what the kids would look like – how big they’d be, what they would think like, how they would talk. I think I imagined them to be fourth graders, still sort of innocent like my granddaughter. I’ve got a better idea now: innocent they aren’t. They are bigger than I thought they’d be and far less organizable. I keep saying that teaching them is like herding cats; even though that is a totally unoriginal description of them, I can’t think of anything more appropros.
I got into my classroom the day before school started, and have flying by the seat of my pants ever since. I plan to spend some time rethinking it all, rearranging my classroom and getting ready to start over when we return in January. How can I teach them what is on that pacing chart in a way that captures their interest, is smart and fun for us all? How can I take them beyond the minimum to actual growth? Can we come up with a way to incorporate technology into our classroom life? Can we go to the computer lab every week or so, and then fill in in the classroom? For example, can we start a blog that they work on in the computer lab, and then take turns updating it during our opening daily writing? Or not. I have kind of foggy ideas about all that. I hope I can make some concrete changes that lead to a completely better experience for us all. Maybe in the next three weeks I need to pay attention to what really isn’t working, so I have someplace to start in my reconfiguring. I’ll try that, I think. See what I learn.