Monday, 11 August 2014

How Much Time Is Enough?

     In Manitoba students will be back in the classroom in approximately three weeks... three seemingly-short weeks... and I am beginning to plan out how those crucial first few hours, days, and then weeks, will play out in my classroom. When I look back at the beginning of last year, my first year in the classroom, I strongly feel like everything went as smooth as it could have been. I had over planned to compensate for my lack of experience, nervousness, and excitement... the students were reserved while they got used to the new setting and were pretty accommodating when it came to school procedures that I was unfamiliar with... and we slowly acclimatized to one another as the first few weeks progressed. I felt that this time was a great learning opportunity and necessary since I didn't know my students yet and they didn't know me yet either.

     This year, however, I know ALL of my students before class even starts and they have all had me for at least one class before. (Take a look below to check out what my teaching schedule looks like). In similar fashion to last year, I am still the Grade 8 homeroom teacher and will, thus, be their primary teacher. You will notice that they are with me ALL morning, EVERY morning; which makes planning awesome because this is the only time in which I have flexibility to change around classes if needed.
- I had this year's Grade 8's last year in Grade 7 Science and there are
  no new students joining this class.

     In the afternoon I am mostly teaching high school math (with the exception of one random Gr 8 social class on Friday!).
- I had this year's Grade 9's last year in Grade 8 and, since I was their
   homeroom teacher, they had me as their primary teacher last year. There
   are, however, three new students who will be joining us from another
   school in our division.
- I had this year's Grade 10's last year for both Grade 9 math and science
  and I also had them for a few months during my student teaching placement
  as well. This class is actually smaller this year due to a few students
  transferring to a nearby vocational school and there are no new students.

     Here comes my question... to what extent are the back-to-school procedures and policies necessary in a class where you already know one-another? I was re-reading some information by Harry Wong and was reminded that, "On the first day of school, your students want to know seven things":
1 ) Am I in the right room?
2 ) Where am I supposed to sit?
3 ) Who is the teacher as a person?
4 ) Will the teacher treat me as a human being?
5 ) What are the rules in this classroom?
6 ) What will I be doing this year?
7 ) How will I be graded?
Of these seven, I hope that my students will know the first 5 before they even come back to school for the fall. Numbers 6-7 can easily be addressed in those opening few classes but I feel like the procedures and policies that we spent so much time on last year can just fall into place... or is that just wishful thinking? I, of course, will spend time reviewing:
- my expectations for when you are in the classroom
- my classroom rules (all two of them)
- where supplies are and how to get them
- how to use our classroom website
- how to use the classroom blog
- etc
- etc
- etc
but I really shouldn't have to spend much time on this, should I?


I'd love your feedback!
Please leave comments below, thank you :)

1 comment:

  1. Hey! I use Whole Brain Teaching too! This year I'm working on my WBT certification! In response to your questions, I feel that if they students already know you, then introductions are less important. I would make sure to introduce your WBT procedures and expectations. I would hook them in with some teambuilding activities or an engaging activity. Once your students are back in the routine of following your classroom rules, I'd then go over where things are located, what you will be covering, etc. I hope that makes sense. Your schedule seems very overwhelming, but it is so nice to know your students. I looped with most of my students last year and loved it! Have a great school year!
    Mastering the Middle


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