It was this Friday that I realized I've been at Boltz for seven and a half weeks.
And it was just now that I realized while I've been doing a lot of reading on other teacher's blogs, I've posted three times to mine since this whole thing began.
So here's a recap of the last six weeks:
We began with some classroom community building. At the end of the fall semester, student services juggled students around so the classes were a little more even, which was great since it would have meant a 30+ student period and an 14 student period on either end of the extremes. I wish now I had gone all out on community building and spent the first two and a half weeks on it instead of the first three days. Group work remains shaky on many fronts and there's plenty of unfriendly ridicule to go around some periods.
Book clubs are ever so slowly improving. My original plan was to practice book clubs with The Pearl and Night, then move to a real book club unit where students get to choose the books. However, there is a major lack of motivation factor when you hate the book, as I posted earlier. The other problem that has arisen is that I have eight weeks left at Boltz and just started Night. I don't see myself completing two units in that much time, especially when we only have enough copies of the book for one period to use.
I've just revised Writing Workshop for the second set of portfolios. The first set had some really great stuff, but a great deal of procrastination was involved. Some students didn't turn in all three pieces and others threw something together and didn't get it revised. I ended up giving a completion grade just so my rubric grading wouldn't burn half the students who turned it in.
My biggest fault in Writing Workshop was that I expected myself and my students to get all writing instruction one-on-one. Duh, impossible. So this week I started minilessons on Writing Workshop days and upped the ante - 5 writing projects and a draft is due every Thursday. I hope I'm not setting myself up for failure, but I can always bring the requirement down, much harder to increase it.
So that's the first half of my student teaching in a nutshell. I've learned a lot about two methods I plan on implementing for years to come and I think it will help my first year go smoothly.