Friday, August 23, 2013

Day 1 (pre-Marshmallow Challenge reflection)

     Day 1 of the school year finally arrived and with it comes a variety of feelings for students and teachers.  Teachers are excited to get going with new ideas thought about and discussed over the summer and the joy of new start.  For students, especially 6th graders, the year marks a new school, friends, and most importantly a new start.  I find that my students come to school with a mixed bag of experiences.  Many loved elementary school and are nervous of being returning to low rung of the ladder.  Others did not enjoy elementary school and can't wait to be more independent and finally have a locker of their own.  No matter which part of the spectrum students fall, as a teacher I thoroughly enjoy getting to welcome them into our school and help them feel comfortable to their new surroundings.
     My colleagues and I pride ourselves on the sense of community we build in our school.  Everyone that works in our school, from custodial staff to principal, work hard to provide an environment that is welcoming and accepting of students.  The unsung hero of our school is a man named Darryl who leads our custodial staff and tirelessly makes sure our school meets the needs of teachers and students.  He always is positive and shows great leadership of his unfortunately constantly shifting staff.  Despite this difficulty, he has his staff trained on operating at the high expectations he holds himself to.  As he proved once again, he had BMS ready for this year's students.
    As I met my new set of students I sought to learn every name as soon as possible.  By day 2 I knew all 96 students I teach.  I painstakingly work to know their names because I feel that for 6th graders it is important they feel like an adult knows who they are.
    This year's opening was a first for my 6 years of teaching.  Instead of meeting by class period, my team members (CE, AR, DC) brought all of Team Charger (96 students) together to get to know each other through team activities and go over procedures as one group.  We felt taking this approach would limit redundancy, get students comfortable meeting in a large group in our project room, and allow students to see all of their teachers on the same page when it comes to school procedures.  How many first day of schools have you experienced?  Think about it for a moment and see if you can remember the common thread of every one of them.  I know what you're thinking.  B-O-R-I-N-G.  Why not have fun on the first day?  We sought to go against boring and use a more interactive approach.  We played these games: 3 truths and 1 lie, Group Juggling, Non-musical chairs, and the Marshmallow Challenge.  Teachers also participated in the fun.  Here were my 3 truths and 1 lie, in no particular order.  I spent the night with homeless people in Lyon, France.  I'm married to petite ballerina who was able to meet the challenge of  eating a 1 pound cheese burger.  In college I was the University of South Carolina mascot "Cocky."  Lastly, I have played golf in three different countries. Which one do you think is the lie?  Teachers revealed their truths and lie during their presentation on who they were, family info, hobbies, and what they do at BMS.  I learned information about my colleagues that never knew even though we have worked together for 6 years.  Doing our work together allowed for this learning and I am grateful to now know them better.  Enjoy these pics and check out my next post that will reflect on the Marshmallow Challenge.  Always do your best!

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