Saturday, August 25, 2012

Working on the Resolutions

Thanks to Christy Rush-Levine for this graphic
It was a great first week of school. Even the three days of inservice/work time. You know what I mean. Sometimes those professional development days are pretty worthless.  I felt good about most of ours, so that was a nice feeling.  Our district attempted differentiating the PD on Monday and that is a step in the right direction.  I learned a new tool to use with my classes and I always love that!

But Thursday was the day I was waiting for.

First day with my kids.

It was fantastic!

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to make better connections with my freshmen and I really concentrated on that the first two days.  Step one was making sure I learned all their names as quickly as possible. By Friday, I had learned the first names of all 45 of them (I also learned the names of the random upperclassmen I didn't know, but there aren't as many of them). I told them that we might have to review a bit on Monday.  Sometimes old brains lose things over the weekend.

I also got books in their hands the first day.  Made my annual promise to find them at least one book that they could honestly say, "Hey. That wasn't too bad."  I also posted a list of the books that I read this summer---both professional and for fun---and I wrote the name of the book I am reading on the board.  I think it's important that they realize I really do read. I also posted my TBR list beside it.  I'm going to issue a 20 Book Challenge on Monday. 20 books for the school year.  I wanted to do higher, but I think 20 is more realistic.  My freshmen come to me bragging about how they get around the reading logs and book talks in middle school.  One told me she always got an A in reading, but she never finished books.  I think my mouth dropped open when she told me that. Now, I'm a firm believer in the "only believe half of what they tell you" school of thought. I know kids tend to exaggerate things, but I know there is some truth to this also.

"Will we have to do reading logs."


"Book talks?"


"How will you know if I'm reading?" 

"You'll ask me for another book."

Eventually, I will have them show me some evidence of their reading. But first I have to get them to read!


  1. "But first I have to get them to read." That's exactly it, Deb! And I have no doubt that it will happen. Already putting books into their hands on the first day-wow. I know how little time you have, so I am so impressed. Knowing books--because we read them--is a key, & I know you know books. Your students will be impressed too. So glad you had a wonderful beginning!

  2. Deb, sounds like you had a great beginning to fulfilling your New Year's Resolutions. Managing to learn 45+ new names, connecting and challenging them in the first few days is quite an accomplishment. I look forward to hearing more about your achievements. Have a restful weekend so you can start fresh on Monday.

  3. Just love, love, love your thinking! And you are absolutely RIGHT! First, get them reading. Loved your answer for 'how will you know we are reading?" What a great start to the school year!

  4. Love it. "How will you know if I'm reading?" Oh, dear. If only someone had really been paying attention to that student. An observant teacher can see someone reading, they can hear them talking about their book to someone else, they can see expressions on faces, they can tell from the manner in which they ask for another book and they can tell when a relationship is formed between student and teacher...when you know them. It sounds like it's really going to be a fun year for them learning why and what people read! Looking forward to more glimpses into your classroom. Congratulations for a great start on those resolutions!

  5. Congratulations on sticking to your resolutions for the first week. Hopefully it will continue. Getting students to actually read books versus copying information from the internet for a report is so much more important. Reading is a lifetime activity.