It’s hard to believe our first week of school is already over! Most of my friends and family from out of state are blown away that we started in July, but now that August is upon us, it feels even more real. My body is still in the “I HATE YOU!!!” mode having to wake up early. But I will say, despite the exhaustion that always comes with the first week of school, I’m so happy that for the first time in 26 years I finally get a school year that’s free of grad school homework or a part-time job! I came home Thursday night after work and hardly knew what to do with my free time (just kidding–I worked on stuff for school and went to bed early!).
But back to school…
I can tell this year is going to be different for a number of reasons. The most important one, though, is the kids. For the most part, they are polite, eager to learn, and there’s so few of them! I don’t mean the last part in a bad way–it’s just that last year’s 8th grade class was huge (we had 250+ students). It’s honestly a little weird walking into the cafeteria seeing so many open tables. On the flip side, it’s so nice that my biggest class this year is 27 kids, and that’s my honors class, which is totally amazing. Normally my honors class is at least 30-32 kids. Even more exciting is the fact that my smallest class is 18, which is amazing since my smallest last year was 25. I’m mostly just looking forward to being able to give kids more one-on-one attention, which was really hard to do last year since every class was packed.
One other big change I did this year was ditching my “Where I’m From” poem and doing a slightly different take on the usual “get to know me” activity called the “I Love…” essay. My other 8th grade ELA teacher pal shared it with me (thanks, Brad!), and I’ve been so impressed by what I’ve gotten from the kids so far. Essentially, the kids pick something they really love–music, pizza, playing basketball, drawing, etc.–and write about one page describing what they love about it. The goal is to push them to think creatively with descriptive adjectives, verbs, and adverbs. You can my personal sample, and you can download the assignment itself here.
I’m looking forward to planning for the next few weeks of school as I get to know the kids better. I think we’re going to be able to do some activities that I wasn’t able to do last year, and that gets me excited. I always like changing it up each year, whether that’s reading a different novel or just trying new activities. I don’t think I’ve had a year yet where I’ve done all of the same activities or curriculum. I’m also really excited about some of the changes that we’ll be doing with my yearbook/media kids. We’re going to try our first adventure in doing video announcements, so stay tuned for how that turns out… 🙂