Yesterday, I helped more with our production than with getting ready for school, and tomorrow, I will be traveling to a college to meet up one last time (at least for the foreseeable future) with a math and science teacher cohort that I have been part of for six years. So yesterday, I brought home some things to focus on and made some progress on a few of those AND also went off onto some tangents but important components for the beginning of the school year.
Last year, I wanted to change how students sign out of the classroom (honestly, it's the afternoon classes that throw kinks into the process), so I used a conglomeration of ideas about housing the sign-out sheet in their interactive notebooks. It worked ok. I thought about whether I wanted to use this method again, and I decided that I want to give it one more year. So, I tweaked it so that I will have two pages total instead of four (one for each quarter), I added reminders of when they can or cannot use a pass, and I kept the bottom open for for stickers. Then, I have been hemming and hawing about whether to reintroduce classroom jobs, but I have joined the 40 Hour Teacher Work Club to help trim some hours off each day and that is a suggestion for streamlining classroom flow. So, I revisited my jobs and took off a few and revised others. What I have settled on is: Classroom Manager, Lab Assistant, Class Ninja, Office Assistant, Absentee Ambassador, Clean-Up Captain, Paper Assistant, Energy Control, Class Greeter, and Computer Tech Support. I also updated the application form to be a Google Form.
I brought home my dismissal checklist and when you arrive checklist and started to think about how to update/clarify some of the expectations, but I didn't get much further than that. I also have been thinking about bringing back student blogging. I attempted it six years ago where all the students had their own blog. They were also using a parent blog to respond to daily questions and prompts. The latter lasted the rest of the year, and it worked ok. However, it was a bigger monster for all of the students to have their own blogs and that process died quickly. If I do resume blogging, I think I will make the parent blog for each class and add the students as blog authors. I will possibly add parents and others as readers. The other need I contemplated was which returning students do I need strengthen relationship with. My plan is to write them a short note this next week to their home address. The rest of my afternoon was spent reading the rest of the chapters assigned for the Ambitious Science Thinking book chat, which was at 7:00 pm tonight.
Looking back at my list, I see that it is shorter than I thought, but I know that I put quality time into thinking through the components.