10 January 2012

First Day Back for 2012

Well 2012 got off to a good start today. It was great to have my students back in the classroom. I missed them!

Alas, it wasn't all perfect. Two students late on the first day back, not a good start. Two more students missing, and my teaching assistant heading off on the Grade 6 Field Trip. It turns out one student was supposed to tell me before the holidays that he wouldn't be back until tomorrow, and the other one has moved to another school, closer to where he lives, so hopefully tomorrow I'll have my full complement of students. I think the biggest gap was my teaching assistant. I was pleasantly surprised this morning when he unexpectedly turned up in my classroom this morning to help me get set up to start the day, since his trip wasn't leaving until around 8am, so that was a blessing and a great gift to start the year. Thank you Mr Dy. We do have a replacement teacher covering his Khmer classes and I have a lovely young lady from the pre-school joining me from around 11am, so I'm not totally without an assistant, but I have such a good relationship with Mr Dy that I'll miss him no matter how good the replacement is.

Language Arts went well, and then after recess we had some fun. The PE teacher is also off on a field trip, so it was up to me what I did with that time. A few years ago I was able to purchase some "grip ball" sets in Australia, and I'd used them during Summer School but not otherwise since I've been at East-West, so today seemed like a good time to bring them out. It was a great move. The kids really enjoyed them. Now I've just got a heap of balls than need some TLC with "superglue" to restore their skins.

Maths test followed that, and then I sent the children off to art and ICT. The ICT teacher has also gone on the field trip, but by that time the pre-school assistant was on board so she was able to take that class.

After lunch I introduced my students to "Ancient Egypt" pockets. These are an excellent resource that I'd previously used at Logos, and I'm looking forward to my students learning heaps about Ancient Egypt as we work through a variety of activities. I purchased it as an e-book, which makes it very flexible! May even use parts of the material in language arts in the next couple of weeks. I love it when I can integrate SOSE and Language Arts.

Finally, I sent most of my students home at 2.30pm and welcomed my After-School Program group. I have to do 2 sessions during the year, and so this session I offered Multiplication Games. At first it didn't look like I'd have many students, but by Christmas I had 19 enrolled! We have lots of fun, and the children are practising their multiplication facts while they play. Awesome.

Well, it's past time I went to bed, but I have to finish by announcing the completion of my 2012 Homework book. It will be interesting to see how it works. I'm continuing the Reading Log and planner pages, but am changing the spelling component to a "menu" based program where students choose a number of tasks to complete, up to a set value. Some tasks are 5 points, some are 10 points and some are 20 points. Students then choose the activities they want to do to help them learn their words. I've also added a weekly "Goal Setting" component, where each student will identify a personal goal for the week, and write a plan for how they will achieve it, then check back at the end of the week as part of their journaling task. Since I've incorporated all the "holidays" into the reading log and planner pages it's a bit of an effort, but it's worth it in the long run.

OK. That's all folks. See you next time.

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