Mondays are rough. They’re even rougher when your field trip is cancelled, you were sick on Sunday and couldn’t get to the school to prep for the new literacy unit you’re starting and now have only 30 minutes to get it all together and somehow pull it off, you are fielding crazy students who are bummed that the trip got cancelled and aren’t really prepared for the day, the photocopier runs out of paper and you have to find some in another part of the school, the projector isn’t working properly, students left their notebooks at home because they thought we were going on the field trip, and oh yeah, you’re still feeling sick.
Today was a tough one. I’ve had a few tough Mondays actually. I think it’s because I’m trying to get myself back into gear for the week, and so are the students. There’s some of that tired unwillingness to be there, wishing that the weekend was just a tad longer, but also the sort of itch to get into doing something “good”, with a nice rhythm and flow. It takes time and practice to get there I’m learning.
The literacy unit that I’m beginning is with Lit Circles. This is a concept I heard about and wanted to try, and my co-op was most willing to let me go for it, as he has had great success with them in the past. I’m working in themes of Identity, Peace/Conflict, and Standing Up for What you Believe in and Doing One’s Best, which fit within the grade 6 and 7 English Language Arts curriculums. I did a lot of looking around to see how other teachers do Lit Circles, and there’s sure a lot of methods out there! I chose to start with something pretty basic, and helped students create a reading schedule, and assign tasks for each section of reading. The introduction was a little rocky as the students were just a little “off” still, but the second portion, after recess, was really great, and helped me get an idea of how students would work in their groups, and what the dynamic of the classroom would be like. While I was a little down on myself for not settling the class in better, it was a decent start.
In Science, we started our Inquiry Projects, which I introduced on Friday. I’m SO EXCITED to be able to do a project like this near the start of the school year. I really tried to set it up so that there could be a gradual release of responsibility to the students, which will make future inquiry projects, and perhaps even Genius Hour projects can be possible in the class. The students worked quite well, despite a LOT of questions about where to search, how best to set up their research and slides, and a lot of monitoring of the class. I think it was a really good start to the project, and I’m glad that I was able to partially set it up last week, as it made today’s lesson much smoother. While there were a few small bumps in getting things going off of Google Classroom, showing a student who had never used Google Drive before how to navigate and create slides, and dealing with some glitchy internet, it was really great, and certainly made me feel more confident in my abilities.
By the end of the day, I was a mixture of emotions. I was happy to have made it through, frustrated that I could have done better, sad that our field trip was officially cancelled and unable to be rescheduled, and totally exhausted knowing I still had more work to prep for tomorrow. But tomorrow is another day, and another opportunity for me to do better, to make more connections with my students, and to continue on my journey of becoming the best teacher I can be.