I took a couple of yoga classes awhile back, and discovered that among other obvious flaws, my balance is kind of crumby. I have a tendency to lean to the right. I blame gravity, but my instructor said otherwise. She pointed out that my muscles weren’t evenly developed and that, for whatever reason, my left side was able to maintain a pose and my right side had some serious work to do. The lesson I learned was that being off kilter pushes you to develop new muscles.
That’s how I have been looking at each school year. Every year I have new groups of students coming into my classroom, and every year I have new responsibilities. This year all these changes are highlighted by our vastly different schedule. Today was our first full day with all classes coming to my room. I am not yet comfortable with the timing of all my classes, and so rely heavily on my lesson plans, notes, and alarms. It takes a little bit of time to become familiar and comfortable with a new schedule, but again this pushes me to be thoughtful about what I need to do to develop those new muscles.
Although, I am a HUGE believer in my bullet journal to manage my life; love the feel of pen and pencil on paper, I write my lesson plans on the computer. I use this great free source chalk.com and love their planboard. I write out my lessons, but often at the end of each class write notes reflecting on what worked and what didn’t. This isn’t busy work. I run the technology design lab for the whole school, and so as classes cycle through, they all get opportunities to work on the same project. These notes and reflections are really informative as I consider the next group coming through. One of the notes I made today read, “Smoother transitions. Be clear in the next step.” I also wrote, “Creating the assignment in Cospaces takes a little bit of time, so let students know that they need to show patience.” In the same way that my yoga instructor taught me to shift and refocus, I try to adjust to the needs of my students. Teaching is a complicated process and takes constant thinking and rethinking.
I also got to administer some placement assessments with our youngest students today. Our TK students are pretty adorable. I would bring them in small groups, three at a time, to my classroom. Two of them would color as I asked the other student to tell me the names of various letters. They just started school, and are barely four years old, so I was as likely to hear, “I have a kitty,” as I was to hear, “That’s the letter ‘B’”. One triumvirate of girls decided to sing as we made the long journey back to their classroom. The same TK’ers who couldn’t identify any letters on their assessment, broke out in the ABC song, and got MOST of the letters right. One girl belted out the letters with joy. It was pretty adorable.
Tomorrow is day 5 of school, but it is also day 2 of our “normal” schedule, and that means I’m moving closer and closer to feeling the groove of this new school year. Whatever the case, I will continue to . . .
Keep moving forward,