I just printed out 96 articles and 36 photographs to use in lessons the next few days after spending about 12 hours this past weekend finding them, and I'm riding myself about getting serious and I need to start working. Thank goodness for Election Day tomorrow, so I can get another full day to catch up on some planning and prepping. Let's just say that work is humming right now. I'm ramping up but I need to be at full steam soon in order to keep up.
Having management problems with my 2nd period sixth graders. They're just chatty, and it's hard to keep their focus. Unfortunately I haven't flushed the culture of my last two schools out quite yet, so I've resorted to a few old tricks to shock the kids into paying attention. Not something one is supposed to do at my groovy and totally awesome and progressive Charter School. But the principal is extraordinarily supportive, and she claims to know where I'm coming from, and she's been really helpful and understanding. I know other teachers are having a tough time with the same class. I think it will be fine, though, once I establish relationships with these kids. I'm rather laboriously typing them each a response to a letter I had them write me last week. I'm really personalizing each response, trying to tie into their interests and share my experiences in each letter. It takes a couple hours to do a dozen, and I have about 54 more to write this week. But I think it will be key. I handed out the letters I'd finished today, and some kids wrote me replies to my letter which were totally unsolicited. One girl, with whom I'd shared the fact that all my grandparents were now sadly deceased, wrote me to sympathize. Her exact words? "I'm sorry you lost your grandparents. But maybe soon you'll be with them again." Comforting.