After finishing up my second week of school I spent yesterday watching my kids’ first soccer game, catching up on some reading, watching a little bit of football, and having a family dinner at Suzanne Gibbs’s house.
I got up early today to complete my Safe Schools Training. While I was waiting for the program to work its way through the modules, it yells at me when I try to go to fast, I spent some time reflecting on my second week with my third graders. Here’s a quick list of five things that I loved about my second week with students.
1. Prepping for an author visit.
We found out Monday that Janet Tashjian would be doing an author visit at our school on September 20th. Twelve days to plan an author visit isn’t ideal, but I am so excited to see how much my school has embraced the process. From my principal buying a whole bunch of copies of Janet’s books to help the students get ready, to one of my students reading all of Janet’s Einstein the Class Hamster in one night. We WILL be ready for Janet and her son Jake on Friday.
2. OUR school
This one isn’t about my students. It is about my family. Yesterday, I told my son that we would probably be stopping by my school on Sunday to get some work done. He looked at me, smiled, and said, “Dad, don’t you mean OUR school.” It was a priceless moment that I can add to my list of reasons why leaving a great job in Battle Creek was the correct choice.
3. The Marshmallow Challenge Take 2
We tried the Marshmallow Challenge the first week of school. It was a disaster. My students really struggled working together: they argued, yelled, complained, and quit. At the end of 18 minutes only one group had a standing structure, and that structure was 2 inches tall.
On Friday we tried again. I’m not going to lie: it wasn’t perfect. However, it was about a million times better the second time around. The teamwork displayed showed me that we are making progress as we continue to develop our classroom community. At the end of 18 minutes every group had a standing structure:)
4. Reading More Than Ever
One of my favorite comments to get from parents is that their child is reading more than ever. I love seeing the joy in their eyes when they talk about their child not hating to read at home. It is amazing what can happen when you take away reading logs, provide students with lots of time to read in class, and allow them to pick great books to read.
5. Solve It Your Way
On Thursday and Friday of last week we participated in Solve It Your Way. If you have not seen the website, please check it out. It is a great way to help your students work on teamwork, thinking like a scientist, and a whole slew of other great things. Solve It Your Way is just plain awesome.
An added bonus for me with Solve It Your Way was that I got some great advice from my wife, a high school chemistry teacher, about what kids need to know about the scientific method.
BONUS # 6! Our First Skype
On Friday my students’ world was rocked when Mr. Schu’s fourth graders taught them about Dot Day. I loved watching them react when they realized that our classroom is not confined to its four walls.