A great new school year starts here!
While our students are probably still tucked safely in their beds this morning, perhaps dreaming of the adventures they will have later today, their teachers are returning to work today to begin planning for the adventure that will be the 2014-2015 school year. I woke up this morning feeling quite anxious, in a good way. I’m anxious to see my friends and meet our new staff members, including our new principal. I’m anxious to start planning for a new year with a new class, anxious to try new lessons and new tools. This will be my ninth year as a classroom teacher and I’m planning on this year being the best one yet!
On the first day of school I will ask my students what expectations they have for me as their teacher, and I’ll talk about what expectations I have for them as my students. But right now, I’m thinking about the expectations I have for myself for this new school year. Many of them involve stepping outside of my comfort zone, something I ask my students to do quite frequently during the school year. If I expect my students to take risks and try something new, then I have to be willing to do the same. Great things can happen when we step outside, but we’ll never know what’s out there if we don’t take that first step.
Here we go…
Welcome Back to School! And welcome to Seventh Grade!! After only a few days with my new students, I know we are going to have an absolutely, amazingly awesome year! How do I know this? Well, I’m a teacher. I just know. 🙂 If you’d like specifics about how I know it’s going to be a fantabulous year, let’s start with Our Rights and Responsibilities.
To begin our year together, I asked my students to answer the following question: What are your rights and responsibilities in our seventh grade classroom? They worked on their lists individually at first, and then they discussed and added to their lists at their table groups. While they were working in their groups, I started asking students to write some of their ideas up on the ActivBoard to share them with the entire class. I think you’ll agree that, so far, my new students have some great ideas! Here’s what we have so far:
We have the right to…
- learn in our own way
- read what we want to during silent reading
- ask questions
- be creative
- wear anything [that follows] the appropriate dress code
- have recess twice a day
- have water at our desk
- say the Pledge of Allegiance
- choose our own supplies
We have the responsibility to…
- keep our books in good shape
- respect our teachers
- manage good grades
- know right from wrong
- stand up for our friends
- stay safe
- do our schoolwork
- be reverent in church [I know a certain math teacher who will love that!]
- listen to the teacher
- show up on time
- keep our desks and lockers clean
- pay attention in class
- stay organized
- write in our planners
- use our rights appropriately
- assist our classmates
- treat classmates with respect
The idea behind creating these lists was to start thinking about what our three main class rules should be for this year. Yesterday, each group had to synthesize all of these rights and responsibilities into three possible rules. On Monday we will vote for the top three and those will be our class rules that we all agree to abide by this year.
One item worthy of note: I found it amazingly awesome that every single one of the notecards the groups handed me contained the word “respect”!
So, do you agree with me now? It’s going to be a wonderful year!!
P.S. The video at the beginning of this post is a Google Search Story that I created to welcome my seventh graders to a new school year.
Today was our first day back at school! All of the teachers and staff members are getting ready for your arrival next week. We can’t wait! Now, I know you’re probably thinking, “Whoa! Hold on there, Miss McMillan! It’s still summer vacation. I don’t wanna be thinkin’ ’bout no schoolin’!” To that I can only say:
Um, perhaps you really should!
In any case, you still have an entire week left. Time to read a few more books, play a few more games, read a few more books…wait, did I say that one already? How about time to clean your room, do your laundry, iron your socks…
Alright then…I guess I’ll just say I hope you enjoy these last few days. But start thinking about your goals for your seventh grade year. And consider this question:
What do you want to learn this year?