Saturday, August 6, 2016

First Week Recap

Good morning! It has been an EXHAUSTING week as it was the first full week of school! Welcome back to Skyview! Because I am so tired, I struggled with coming up for a blog topic this week. I figured a recap of my week would be best, to try to reflect on how everything went. 

As I blogged last week, I was quite excited to try flexible seating in my classroom. To NO ONE'S SURPRISE, my students ate it up. The first day, I had them switching seats every 5-10 minutes to try all of the the different seating options. They actually did not care for trying all of the options (because I think they didn't want to move), but in the end, it was better that they did because some of the students are picking new seats every day. I have found that the students like the yoga balls, so I may have to purchase more further down the road. They like the big fluffy floor pillows, and some of them use the pillows with the camping chairs. I need to find a way to get donations, or tell the students that they can bring in more seating options too. Yesterday, I ended up taking 18 desks and chairs out of my classroom (I don't think my janitor was too happy about them all being out in the hall after school). My room looks quite large and rather empty, which is exciting! I kept an extra four desks in my classroom as I am going to lower the legs so they can sit on the floor and use a desk. Many students may prefer that option, so we will see how it goes over the next couple of weeks. 

I do think I will have a bit of a hill climb when it comes to using QFT (Question Formulation Technique) with these students. I'm not sure how the students will react to it. My classroom tends to be a bit different than other classrooms at Skyview, and I'm not sure how much choice they've had over the years. I worry that having such an open-ended curriculum will throw them for a loop, and they will react badly. But, if things are not going well, I know that I need to provide structure and support. 

I think we do have good students this year. We're both feeling each other out, and I think my students are trying to determine if I am being genuine and sincere. Middle school students usually wait for the inevitable (i.e. bad) to happen, so I think they're waiting for me to "flip". 

It has also been a great week for my mentee and myself. I know I haven't talked about my mentee much, but we had communicated a bit over the summer, so I was pleasantly surprised to have him as a mentee. We are communicating very well. I am trying to provide support in any way that I can, and he's great about coming to me when he needs something and he's been asking a lot of questions. Starting your first year of teaching is super stressful, so I'm just trying to help out when he needs it. I don't want to overwhelm him, but I think we already have a good enough relationship that he'll tell me when he just needs time and not help. 

I'm also excited for all of the new teachers in the building! We have a number of new staff members and a handful of student teachers. Their excitement and eagerness are spreading through the school and I feel like the culture of SMS is changing (slowly, but steadily). It's exciting for me because I feel like I'm helping change the way. It's a good feeling. 

My other big excitement is that my 10 Google Cardboards are on their way to my classroom! They're supposed to be delivered next Saturday (but the building will be closed), so I should get them on Monday, August 15th. When I went to purchase them on Thursday, I noticed that instead of paying $15 each, I could get two for $25! I posted only social media, and got another $75 in donations. That was a nice boost for the end of my work week :) I can't wait for my students to try Cardboard in the classroom. I hope that it's exciting and interesting for them!

I can't think of much else other than that I have a lot of work to do this weekend, and the cat sitting on my lap and the cup of coffee next to me are helping me stay focused. 

Enjoy your weekend and Go USA! I'll see you next week :)

- Rachel
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