Sunday, August 26, 2012

First Two Week Reflections

My first two weeks were a whirlwind: new students, hosting EdCampSFBay, checking out my favorite band in San Francisco three nights in a row – lots going on. Here are the nuggets I’m left with after my first two weeks of this school year:

I’m excited about my new students (I’ll keep these ninth graders for the next two years). Granted, it is really early, but they are asking a lot of really good questions in class. They have responded well to the structures we’ve established in the classroom. They are engaging in the work of historians and are willing to think in class, willing to wrestle with the ambiguity that so often gets glossed over in history classes. Thinking and questioning – I like it; a good start.

My first unit is also unlike anything my students will do for the rest of their time with me. Their two years with me will be self-paced and mastery-based. This first unit, where we build historical thinking skills, history-specific literacy skills, and group norms is done together, where everyone in the class is working on more or less the same thing everyday. However, this isn’t something I feel bad about or am even second-guessing: looking at what is the best use of my face-to-face time with my students, I feel strongly that working through this unit together, building the skills to help my students succeed for two years in my class, is absolutely the best way to use the beginning of our two years together.

Diane Main opening EdCampSFBay
Finally, EdCampSFBay. Despite some internet issues – we didn’t have it – it was an enormous rush to be part of an event like that. After attending EdCampSFBay last year, I was hooked. I got involved in organizing EdCampSFBay this year and even talked my district into hosting it at my school. It was neat to see 130 dedicated, talented educators willingly spend their day working together to be better for our students. Anyone who says American education is broken needs to go to an EdCamp.

Week three and beyond? That’s tomorrow.  I think I’m ready. I know I’m excited for it!