THE BIGGEST CHANGE SINCE the first day of school is that the temperate has dropped to a level that makes living possible. Last week we had several days that hovered right around 106. The kids were hot. The teachers were hot and the blacktop was hot enough to feel through your shoes. The weekend has been gloriously breezy.
I spend the weekend working a few projects. I realized that although I’ve been working since mid-July on prepping for the school year, I still had a pile of things that I wanted to get finished. Any teacher on the planet can tell you that no matter how hard you work, there are always 8 more things you want to do. I’ve learned during my busiest times that two things will save you: 1. Getting really organized. My family makes fun of me, but I always have clothes ready to go for the next day. I meal plan on the weekends and review my planner before I go to bed. This makes me the ultimate nerd, but it also keeps me on track — more or less. 2. I think of all the things that I have to do as little boxes and as I finish one, I mentally check it off. I only worry about the task in front of me until it is finished and then move on to the next one. I have been know to say out loud, “What’s next?” not just because I love the West Wing, but also because I am thinking about the next item on my list.
Next week is our first REAL week of school. We are all adjusting to the dramatic changes that have been made to our schedules. I just set all my alarms for my classes, and it is a very different looking list than in past years. It might not seem like a big deal, but I have 40 minute classes this year, instead of 50. Ten minutes can be a lifetime in the classroom. I’m rolling out my first unit and am hoping that things work well, but if not, I just need to adjust.
Another new concept that I am embracing this year is to plan things out in smaller chunks. I am working with choice boards this year - which means that while I have a specific learning goal for my students, I’ve created multiple paths to get there. As I worked on my plans this summer, I planned out every project and began working on each choice board, but then realized that I should wait and see how my FIRST choice board works, and then plan the details of the next one. This has helped me thinking with a lot of clarity about each piece of my project. I am only focused on our first lesson right now.
Maybe that’s more teacher-thinking they you wanted to read about, but I think what is true in the classroom is true elsewhere, too. Outside of my classroom, I can get lost in giant plans when really I should just focus on what is directly in front of me; this day, this hour, now.
One of the best parts of the weekend, was that the Husband actually played a local show. I was able to watch him play IN TOWN. His show started at 10 p.m. though which was pretty hilarious because we are not night owls. He had a 3 hour time slot, too. My first question to him was, “Are you going to stay awake?” He did. His band killed it, and my favorite part was around 11:30 p.m. when an entire wedding party, including the bride and groom danced their way into the place he was playing. Their energy was great, and it was just fun. I love watching his shows, but he almost never plays in our hometown, so it was a fantastic treat.
Here’s to a new week stretched out before us and filled with possibilities. My newest stickers came this weekend, so I get to show my students what they can earn when they complete their first unit. I hope they love them as much as I do.
Keep moving forward,