We started back to school last week and had students for only three days. They were the best first three days I've had in my fifteen years as a teacher! Why? Well, so many reasons.
I looped with my class. I had most of them last year, so starting this year was easy. They know my expectations. They know each other and me. My new students were welcomed and joined our class easily. I changed just enough to make the class feel somewhat different but kept enough that we were starting from scratch.
Our relationships as a class began where we left off in June. Our reading discussions felt like they never stopped. We were already making recommendations to each other. The new students look confused but they will get it. My students love to read, so on day one when I said it was read to self time, they all were easy and got upset when time ended. I can't wait to start in depth conferring!
I also let my class decide what rules, procedures, expectations, and jobs we will have this year. Yes, I guided them, but they came up with better ones than I dreamed of! I am adding in jobs based on Leslie Blauman's books. We started making our Book Lover Books which are a combination of ideas of Donalyn Miller, Kylene Beers, and Blauman. I can't wait to use them!
We were writing from day one too! I'm not a strong writer and struggle to teach writing. This summer, though, I was inspired to write by Kate Messner and Gae Polisner along with everyone who was part of Teachers Write. I want to carry that enthusiasm into my class and help my students enjoy writing. I want them to love writing as much as they love reading. To do that, I have to model my new love of writing.
This year, we are going to continue becoming more and more literate---in all areas of school so my students can see how important it is to be literate. We will have a wonderful year!