I’m so proud of my students. Friday we had a few moments where I was just beaming from ear to ear with pride about how well my students are doing.
First off, we started our presentations for Social Studies. I had my students choose an ancient civilization and each Monday I give them a topic, each Friday we do presentations. This may change though because the presentations took too long. We ended up going right through our French period when I was hoping to finish them in half an hour. But they did a really good job, both of presenting and of listening with attention, one of our main goals that we’re working on.
Which brings me to my second thing that made me proud. Mrs. W came up with the idea of writing out our classroom expectations again, talking them over with the class, having the class sign it and then posting it in the room. They’ll also be posted on our class website and I put some information about them in our classroom newsletter that went home. We want them to know that they’re going to be held accountable for these expectations and that if they aren’t following the expectations that they agreed to and signed, that the consequences will be an after school detention with a meeting with their parents. That may sound harsh but we made it clear with our students that we need to have a classroom environment that is safe and supportive. Anything else and it makes it difficult for people to learn. Now some students are going to need reminders. And it’s not like the first time they don’t follow an expectation it’s an automatic after-school; more like if they are given a reminder and a chance to turn around their behaviour and choose not to, then we’ll arrange an after-school.
What made me proud was how well they were able to talk about this subject and how readily they have taken to it. A few students who have bucked the expectations in the past seemed very on-board. Granted it was Friday and they tend to be at their best on Fridays, but still, it was a moment of pride for me to think about how far they’ve come since the beginning of the year.
But best of all, the thing I am the most bursting with pride about is how well they’re taking to the Daily 5 and how quickly they’re building their stamina. As I said in an earlier post, they’re very excited about the English books and having built those good reading strategies while reading French books, building their stamina with English books was almost unnecessary. We went back to the beginning, made our I chart, talked about strategies for reading but the actual building of stamina and good skills for reading the whole time was already there, so right from the start I’ve been able to read with students 1 on 1 and Mrs. W has been able to do reading records on them so that we can get a good feel of where they are. I was so proud to be able to tell my principal that, after only 1 week of Daily 5 that they’re already able to read for 25 minutes and I’ve really only been stopping them so that I can do another mini lesson and do something else.
Writer’s Workshop has been slower to get started. They aren’t all as eager to write as they are to read. I’m hoping that over time this will change. After all, writing is my big passion so I can hope that this will be infectious as I share my love for writing with them. They were pretty impressed when I told them I’m a writer, even just as a hobby. I’m thinking of getting a printing of my children’s NaNo novel done so I can have a copy to share with them in the classroom. I think they would enjoy that. But there is still so much editing that I would like to do on it first.
Overall, I’m very pleased with how our first week of English went. It was a lot of work getting everything ready and I still don’t feel on top of everything but I know that this will come. For now, I’ll just enjoy the weekend and the glow of feeling proud.