Semester 2, Week 1: Starting over.

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Well, we’re back in school. I spent my last week of vacation sick with bronchitis, so didn’t do all the planning and reorganizing I’d planned on. But this week I did do a few new things.
First of all, I made what I called A+ packets for my students. They were ziplock bags with a 40 page composition book, a list of prompts for writing about reading, a rubric for the comp book, an envelope and five tickets and a package of fruit snacks. I explained my new idea for using the tickets (behavior modification), and they helped me think of reasons to give tickets out and ideas for what they could exchange them for. I had intended to just collect the comp books, but they reverently put them back in the ziploc bags and handed them in, so now they are stored in the bags.

On Thursday most of the boys were gone on a field trip so the girls had the idea to rearrange the furniture of the room. They wanted to put the tables in groups. I love making this sort of change, so I was happy to do this with them. At the end of the day I was feeling pretty good about everything. It all felt so fresh and hopeful.

But then it was Friday. When the kids reminded me that they are not fresh. I gave them a little quiz on the two things we had worked on this week, and I realized that they only sort of got it. Some maybe not at all. Oh, it makes me tired.

But I’m not giving up hope! On Tuesday we have a buy-back day with no kids, and the other advanced ELD teacher and I are going to work on looking at the essential standards, winnowing out what we might just as well leave in favor of greater focus in other areas that are essential for the (yes.) big annual test.

And I never thought I’d teach to a test. Hmpf.

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