Sitting at my tiny IKEA kitchen table, sipping on a warm cop of cinnamon coffee, I’m finding myself feeling a mixture of emotions. Although I am super pumped to begin the school year at my new school, I’m a bit sad that my summer vacation is winding to a close. I’ve enjoyed spending time with my son and wife, sleeping in, and relaxing. Who doesn’t love watching Netflix? So, in that regard, I’m feeling bittersweet, kind of like that epic song by Big Head Todd and the Monsters. What a great song, filled with bridges and breakdowns and amazing lyrics. So yes, I’m feeling happy and sad. At the same time, however, I’m also feeling nervous for the school year to begin. Will my students like me? What if I mess up? What if I leave my computer home one day? What if I’m not in the proper dress code? What if… I could go on for many more pages with all of my fear, doubt, and insecurity, but that’s just it, they are my fears. Rather than live with them, I’m learning to let go of them and accept that everything will work out just as it is supposed to. While that’s not easy, I’m working on it. I’m learning to transform my negatives into positives. If my students don’t like me, I can use that opportunity to find new ways to engage with my students. If I mess up or don’t do something the “right” way, then like great inventors of the past, I’ll go back to the drawing board and find a new way to solve the problem. I’m working at changing the way I think about life in general. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am feeling much like a witch’s cauldron, bubbling and brewing with all sorts of emotions and concoctions. In the end though, this cacophony of emotions will cook into one heck of a delicious stew of awesomeness. I say, bring on the school year!
Okay, let’s not get too carried away. Yes, I want the school year to begin, but I still need to reflect on my summer goals. How’d I do in working towards them? Did I meet any of them? Do I still have some goals that are unmet? How productive was my summer? Now, onto the reflection, and then let’s get the school year party started.
Goal 1: Set up and organize my new classroom.
D for done on that one. Check out this blog entry to learn more about my classroom set-up process and to see some lovely pictures of my new learning space. Mission accomplished.
Goal 2: Determine which math book or series I will be going with for the fifth grade program.
I can check that goal off of my list of things I accomplished this summer. After much research, I chose to go with the Beast Academy series. I like how it makes the learning part of math fun. The graphic novel approach to each lesson seems like it will make learning math novel and interesting. I love it. I also find that it provides the right amount of rigor for any advanced math students I might have, while also offering the ability to scaffold the learning for any students who struggle to understand the concepts covered. I have the ability to differentiate my instruction quite a bit as well with this series. I will begin the year by having the students complete a math placement exam. Based on their results, they will be placed in the course that will meet them where they are and help propel them forward. Ca-check that goal off my list.
Goal 3: Create my first science and social studies units on community and the scientific method.
And on the seventh day, I finished this goal as well. Go me, go me, go! For details on this great quest, read this previous blog entry.
Goal 4: Determine what my daily schedule will be for the fifth grade program.
I met this goal early on in the summer. I’m excited about my daily schedule and feel as though it will suit the needs of my students very well. As my program is much like a self-contained elementary class program, I do have flexibility in my schedule; however, I’m happy with the schedule I have made and feel as though I won’t need to do too much tweaking throughout the year. Fourth Goal accomplished. I’m on a roll.
Goal 5: Finish my Summer Reading text.
And my final goal has been met. Read this blog entry to learn more about my experience with the wonderful novel Quiet by Susan Cain.
And there you have it folks, my summer goals were met. I’m already to go for the new school year at my new school. Well, sort of. I do have some finishing touches to put on my room, but other than that I’m feeling like a guy who just won a $2 from a scratch ticket. $2 can buy me a coffee from that gas station I pass on my way to school each day or a tasty doughnut. While that may seem insignificant to many of you, those two options make me very happy. Now I wish I had won $2 on a scratch ticket.
With faculty meetings beginning tomorrow, I am feeling recharged and energized. So, bring on the new school year, bring on my new students, and bring on the fun. Go fifth grade!