Last Tuesday, I barely kept my excitement in as I stood in front of my homeroom door waiting to greet my scholars. It was the first day of school! Even though I was on campus most of August to set up our learning spaces and for professional development, I felt as if I was seeing the school for the first time. The bulletin boards were decked in cheerful colors; the hallway floors gleamed; and the atmosphere was charged with positive energy.
When I arrived that morning, I saw this lovely “pencil bouquet” at my shared office space.
One of my colleagues worked with my scholars last year during the last week of school to create the bouquet. The “pencils” unroll to show their messages! Reading their lovely notes was a wonderful way to start my first day of school! One of my favorite scholar notes: “My favorite memory of Ms. Lorena is seeing her smile every day.” It was very touching, especially since it was a rough first year. It means a lot that I am remembered for my positivity and for all my effort building relationships with scholars.
Overall, the first week went great. Because I looped with last year’s 6th grade, we mostly reviewed school-wide and class-specific procedures and routines. I did a lot of work emphasizing the whys, and deliberately spending more time on explicit modeling of new procedures in the laboratory. I introduced focused annotations, weekly news reports, and working in specific roles during group collaborations. With another week to go before new content is taught, I might spend some time setting up a class blog and explicitly modeling the steps for blogging in the laboratory.
After reflecting on my personal performance each day, here are a couple of notes I’d like to keep in mind for next week:
Smile! There were some moments during the week in which I was laser-focused on my tasks at hand that I forgot to smile!
Slow down! One of my professional goals is to enhance my skills in delivering clear and concise directions. I noticed that in some occasions I forgot to stand still (I was walking around distributing documents) as I was delivering a set of directions. If it is an important message, I must remember to align my body language and my verbal language.