Hours put in since the last post: 6+
Yesterday I met with our Team’s new Special Education Teacher, Melissa. I don’t know about Melissa, but I am definitely feeling the overwhelming panic that encompasses the start of a new year. The weird dreams have already begun. It will be good to get back to school and find out the students are NOT throwing spit balls around the room while I chase after them in my nighty 🙂
I wrote a sketch of what I hope to accomplish over the first 3 days of school. Trying to find a balance between the procedures and routines I feel are necessary to creating a classroom community and some fun stuff so the kids don’t feel overwhelmed is always a tightrope walk. I like order; accepting that “things” won’t be perfected (or as close as they’ll get) until a good six weeks into the school year always gives me an uncomfortable feeling.
I did change the desk arrangements around, partly to accomodate a student in a wheelchair and with a wheelchair accessible desk and partly because I just don’t want to give up on cooperative groupings of 3 or 4 students. I like grouping my students heterogeneously so that they can talk to each other when they are stuck, need help, don’t remember what to do. As you can see from this shot, a large meeting area takes a good part of the classroom. It’s important to me to get down on the floor on the same level with the students and this is one way I achieve that.
At this time, there are minimal supplies on the students’ desks. The empty red writing binder and 5 tab dividers, a word study test book, a spiral notebook used as a math journal, crayons and a bookmark. Once my class list is fairly final — on Monday during Staff Orientation — I’ll add a personalized materials. Working in urban schools for the last 20+ years has taught me to be cautious about personalizing materials until the students actually arrive in the classroom. Over the last week my class roster has fluctuated from 18 to 20 to 19 as students move around the district to another elementary school. Students will continue to enroll in the District through the week after Labor Day as not all parents will be familiar with the early start date.
Melissa and I read through the cumlative folders and IEPs of the incoming students. It is good to think and plan ahead for these students: How can we adapt and change materials so that everyone feels successful? There are so many questions that need answers.
As of today, the physical space is prepared. The first 3 days of plans have been sketched out, and I am as ready as I can be at the moment. Waiting for the first bell on Tuesday with lots of First Day Jitters.