Football is back! And with that, school is back in session as well. After a summer that passed in what seemed like the blink of an eye, it’s back to the schedule and routine of the school year. Students came back to us this past Tuesday, and we hit the ground running.
This first week back didn’t involve much in the way of diving into our workshop model. Our schedule was a bit wonky due to PBIS presentations, drills (fire, tornado, lockdown, evacuation), and the end-of-the-first-week PBIS celebration. We saw our kids 3 times, which gave us the time to talk expectations, familiarize students with our learning space (pictures coming soon!), and begin building our classroom communities.
Friday hit and Jenny and I sat down to plan the upcoming week. When we looked at the document we created that outlined a general schedule for this workshop model, we realized we need to keep that schedule fluid and flexible. We may not hit each item each day, and that’s okay. What we want to make sure we are doing each day is including all four pieces of the Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR) model. After an AMAZING professional development conference with Doug Fisher, this has become a big focus for us. We are also working on incorporating the activities from The First 20 Days from Fisher as well.
The downside to this? We’re not sure how this will affect our tempo/pacing, or what we’ll get through in one day. We planned out Monday and Tuesday, and figured that before we plan our entire week, we need to get a feel for what our students need as far as time is concerned. Slowly, we are beginning to wade into the workshop pool this next week. There are a few goals we have for the week: getting a formal writing sample, set up reader’s and writer’s notebooks, History of a Reader writing mini-project, introduce the elements of a short story, and start dabbling in identifying a theme by using poetry. Then, we’ll begin welcoming students into our lovely dystopian world through short stories before we launch our book club unit.
It’s definitely easy to feel overwhelmed at this point. I think I said to Jenny on Friday, “My head is going to explode.” And that is a feeling I don’t anticipate going away completely. Not only are we going on this workshop journey, we have some new expectations from our school district, along with getting used to the Teacher Effectiveness Project for teacher evaluation and all the documentation that goes along with that. The good news is we’re not alone in our endeavors, we have amazingly supportive administration, and our literacy coach is phenomenal. Without the support we have, this would be a much scarier undertaking.
Our kids are great, the year is off to a wonderful start, and football is back. What more could you ask for?
PS – Go Pack Go!!