Saturday, August 20, 2011

My First Week Back in School: What I Learned and How I Survived

Whew! What a week. School has already started and my body and mind are slowly adapting to rigors of teaching. I need about another week and I should be in high quality teacher shape. You would think being home all summer with a 6,4, and 3 month old would have kept my brain ready for all the questions, thinking, adapting instantly on your feet, coping with stress, coping with change, and trying to absorb all the emotions of middle school, but it was not enough. I was whooped by the end of the week and I had not nearly as much interaction with students as the others.

Over the course of the week I posted a few blog posts about education and along the way it was quite strange that I came across other articles and links that followed the same notions. This post is going to examine what I all learned this past week.

If you would like to see the Question of the Day and other questions on my new project, feel free to check it out at -

Let us start with Monday

The first day of school with students. Amanda and I had to get the kids prepared and ready to go quite early. We have two places to drop the kids off at in the morning with our original daycare lady expecting twins very soon. We take Aiden to one house so he can walk to school with others and Addy and Ava go to another house as they are not old enough for school. This requires me getting my workouts done by 6 and Amanda waking up at 5:30 so we can be out the door by 7. Things went pretty smooth, but by the end of the week energy levels were low and patience was wearing thin. Here they are on their first day:

Here is the smile I received when I picked Ava up after her first day away all day.

On Wednesday I posted another article about how classrooms need to be changed and updated to meet the needs of the kids today and not from the 1800's. The link to the post is here. Friday I read an article about easy and cheap ways to allow kids to fidget. I need to look into these ideas in more detail(a possible service learning project). What I found interesting about the article besides the comments was the section on research where it stated the following:

Research by a number of experts supports this fidget-friendly mindset. A 2008 study found that children actually need to move to focus during a complicated mental task. The children in the study—especially those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)—fidgeted more when a task required them to store and process information rather than just hold it. This is why students are often restless while doing math or reading, but not while watching a movie, explained Dr. Mark Rapport, the supervisor of the study and professor of psychology at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

I also found this article that shows a classroom and how awesome of an environment this teacher put together to allow thinking, reading, and writing to occur.

Today I read another article about teaching history backwards starting from the present. I had this idea last year and posted it on this blog. I am pondered writing about how to do this, but just have not made time(need to finish my other book first). This grabbed me and made me realize that I might be on to something with this notion. I am going to begin to investigate this process some more and when things settle down really start to put together a unit teaching this way.

Lastly, I am working on creating Student PLN and going paperless in my teaching. Much to learn and figure out, but I am slowly getting the kinks worked out.

I am getting ready to begin iPad app reviews again and lately have been obsessed with the good old game from the my PC Window days playing Minesweeper. If you have any good app ideas, let me have them.

I have learned and experimented with many more ideas, but I will save those for another post.

What about you? What have you learned?

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