Friday, September 21, 2012

What a start to school!!!!

Well, it has been a great while since I have blogged.  My life has been crazy since I went back to work on the 20th of August.  

In my personal life, My divorce became final on the 24th of August and that was a big relief to get it done and over with.   I rented a new place, going from a two bedroom town home to a 3 bedroom house with a yard.  This was much needed, since me, my two children, two dogs, and bird where in a 900 square foot town home with out a yard.  

So with all that it has been 5 weeks of new students, lesson plans, packing, moving, getting furniture, and utilities all ready to go.

With all that in mind, it has been a pretty amazing 5 weeks.  

My kids are truly loving their new rooms and the space they have.  The dogs have decided that staying outside all day isn't such a bad thing.  My wonderful family has helped me get the house completely organized, and in fact, helped me move, have everything put away, and even pictures hung all in one weekend.  I couldn't have done it without them.  Then my gracious parents bought my kids new bikes this past Monday, and let me tell you, it has been the best thing for my kiddo's.  They are loving riding their bikes each night.

Now on to some school stuff.  

I am on a team with two other wonderful teachers.  Mrs. John teaches Science (she is amazing at it), Mr. Belknap teaches Math (not sure I would have the patience), and I teach Reading, Writing, and Social Studies (World Geography to be exact).  

So that means I have 3 blocks a day, each with a time limit of 90 minutes.  Yes, you read that right 90 minutes.  I am still working on how to get all my curriculum in.  Right now, I am trying to do 45 minutes of reading everyday and rotate writing and geography.  Let me tell you this has been tough.  Now, in the past, I have gotten to geography when I can, and focused on Reading and Writing (my favorites), but this year that isn't an option.  They (the district) have decided to add a district mid-year and end of year Geography test on us 6th Graders.  YIKES, now that is 3 district reading tests, 2 district writing tests, 2 district geography test, and the 1 BIG STATE READING TEST, and this is only what I have to get covered.   Needless to say, I am a bit worried about getting it all covered.  

Oh, did I mention that we have almost (27-28) 30 students in each block.  Yes, that is almost 30 hormonal boys and girls in a small portable classroom.  Low on space, but trying to make it fun.  I am trying to implement Daily 5/Cafe and some of the Whole Brain Teaching.  I still have not become consistent with any of it.  I am having a hard time finding Daily 5 time, because by the time I finish my 20 minute lesson, there just doesn't seem much time left.  Well, maybe that is because we have had mandatory keyboarding the last 3 weeks and our schedule has been CRAZY!!!!  

Then, there is the level of my students.  Can we say all over the place?  I have 3-4 brand new to the country English Language Learners, one who is needing to learn his colors, shapes, and sight words.  We have 3-4 darlings who like to test us daily, and we have to watch out for bullying on a regular basis, and then there are the ones who are slightly below grade level, and the rest are right about average.  Oh boy, differentiation, differentiation, differentiation.  Keeps me on my toes, that is for sure.

Overall, it has been a pretty good start to the year.  Most of the kids are respectful, at least to us teachers, and they seem to be working pretty hard. Plus, with progress reports going out this past week, I think the students have realized, that they are going to have to work for their grades, and thinking beyond the obvious is part of that.

So maybe some of my blogger friends can help me with ideas to incorporate Geography, Reading, and Writing.  I would love to know of some books that I can use to teach Geography through Reading.  Any ideas?  Websites?  Etc?

Well, till next time, and I hope it will be less that 5 weeks, Good luck with your endeavors and may each day be blessed with good things and happy times.

Nicole Rutledge