Friday, August 30, 2013

Week One - What a Whirlwind!

Week one of another school year is down in the books!  Whew, to say I'm exhausted is an UNDERSTATEMENT!  I'll try to get all my thoughts down....

We started school on Monday like most of Texas.  Went off with a bang.  Worked with getting school supplies sorted, learning the school, setting expectations, and building relationships.  One really big part of my classroom every year is spending time getting to really know my students as individuals and building that rapport with them.  We did ColAR Augmented Reality pages, we played games, and we did a team building activity with a Tarp!  So much fun!

One thing that I noticed right away though (and continued to be reminded of throughout the week) was that this group is VERY different than the group I had last year.  Last year was my first year flipping.  This year I was ready to jump into the different technology tools and flipping!  But I learned very quickly I wasn't going to be able to do that.

This year's group of students have clearly had quite a bit of work done for them in the past.....they're not independent thinkers.  They very much want me to tell them every step of every thing I ask them to do.  It's kind of like holding their hand as they walk.  And in my head I'm screaming "You're a 5th grader!! COME ON!!" and then I realized.....I'm used to my students from last year.  The students I spent 9 months training to be creative, independent, and out of the box thinkers.  This group I'm having to start over again from scratch.  And it's quite frustrating, but that's because I'm so impatient haha.  But I spent the week teaching the students the ins-and-outs of their Google Accounts (GMail and Drive), we learned KidBlog.org and we wrote our first ever blog posts,  we learned Edmodo, and we set up Sophia.org accounts to start flipping!

I think KidBlog had the biggest impact on me this week.  I came to learn that many of these students had never used their voice.  They'd never had that moment where someone cared to learn about them.  Their first blog assignment was the write a paragraph about themselves.  So many of them struggled with this....but once they got started it was like a waterfall of information.  One student in particular, who hates writing, wrote over two paragraphs about himself!  It was amazing to watch, and I can't wait to have my students continue to blog every week for the entire school year!

I'm excited about the possibilities that this year holds with my students.  This group is probably one of the most kind group of students I've had in a while.  But, the most exciting thing about a new group of students is looking forward to the amount of growth my students will have by the end of the school year! Yes it's going to be a lot of work, but it's work I'm willing to put in because the rewards are so worth it!