Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Fresh Start #2

Our first day was a lot of fun and productive. My teaching partner and I designed the day around creating a sense of belonging in our unit and generating enthusiasm for the year ahead.
Our school has a big emphasis on team teaching. It is expected that the students in each level will share the teachers for that grade. Teachers should develop a relationship with all the students in their grade. Each teacher has a "home class" for the purpose of administration but teachers share the teaching - sometimes teaching the whole group, sometimes teaching differentiated groups based on student needs.
We spent the first half of the day as a big group and didn't tell students their classes until after recess. In this big group we had a couple of mixers so students could catch up on what they did during the summer holidays and get to know each other a little better. We went through a few administrative details: allergies, sick notes, late notes, toilets, drink bottles, lining up, emergency procedures etc.
Then we shared our vision for the students for the year. We told them about the Quality Teaching Model and the focus teachers will have on it this year. We then shared 6 Quality Learning Goals that we would like to see the students working on. We chose:
  • Take charge (of your learning and behaviour)
  • Get connected
  • Be creative
  • Stay active
  • Exercise your mind
  • Share your knowledge
We then asked students to work in small groups to brainstorm their ideal classroom, teacher and classmate. We ran out of time to take this further, but will revisit it again tomorrow to discuss plans for the year and a classroom agreement ('rules').
After recess we broke into our two home classes. Students had brought in all their stationery, so we spent some time labelling and sorting books. Then students made name labels for their tote-trays. This gave them some time to get organised and gain a sense of their "home class". While students worked I popped around and got a photo of every student to use for portfolios, art activities etc.
Before lunch the two classes met up again to consider options for a class name. Students voted and we are now known as "The Funky Fours".
In the afternoon students created a self-portrait in the style of Andy Warhol's Four Marilyns. We modelled our lesson on the work of students at Edleston Primary School in Crewe. It was a fun end to a great day.

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