School started this week, after a delicious three week vacation. The first day was regrettable. The students were so active and noisy that not much was accomplished. That day I wanted to win the lottery, sure I would never return if I did. However, things looked up as the week went on. The students calmed down a little, and for some reason my humor improved. I lost two students who had been pretty difficult to a smaller classroom in a charter school. I’m hoping that will be a good spot for them, because they were on the road to ruin at the huge middle school. I got new students in both classes, returning from being expelled in the sixth grade. (What does one get expelled for in 6th grade? I’m going to find out!)
UPDATE: Gulp. They were expelled for following a kid home, stealing his backpack, and shooting him with a BB gun. One of them later demanded money from a female fellow student and shot her with the BB gun when she refused to give it to him. Yeah. Welcome to my classroom.
We started a poetry unit this week. That and a review of Parts of Speech. Pretty scintillating stuff there, for sure. Really, it was all about getting back to school and settling in again. The stink bomb on Thursday was probably the most exciting thing to happen all week.
State testing is in three months, so suddenly the push is on to get the students ready for it. The decision has been made that we should shoot for “Safe Harbor.” As I understand it, this is just somewhat short of making our goal, so isn’t that what we’re already doing? I always wonder what they think we’ve been doing all year. We follow the pacing guide, give them the quarterly benchmark assessments, everything we do is ‘standards-based’ and ‘teacher centered’ as they have in-serviced us,(I know, teacher centered? Whatever happened to student centered teaching?) so what else? Now we are going to start getting them ready for the test? If I’d known that wasn’t what I was already doing we would have had a lot more fun in my class in the first half of the year. And so the beat goes on. Let’s see if I can do this right, now that I know I’m preparing them for the harbor.