As much as I enjoy my summer vacation, it feels great to be back to teaching. I’m at a new school this year teaching sixth grade versus eighth last year. I wasn’t sure what to expect with sixth grade. I was nervous to leave my newly created comfort zone in eighth grade. I’ve worked to reflect and improve my material over the past two years and I was a little bummed to move down but so far I’m loving it! I’m eager to get into the content with my new students. These kids never cease to amaze me with their abilities. Writing should be an interesting adventure this year. I’m going to create a writer’s workshop as best as I can with the time that I have. It’s important that students write far more than I can grade, something I learned from Kelly Gallagher.
Creating a student-led classroom is my ultimate goal this year. The idea of watching my class run itself with students taking leadership roles whenever needed and helping one another out has me beaming. It will free up much needed time for 1 on 1 and small group conferences. One of my strengths is providing narrative feedback but I never have as much time as I would like. This would lead to more differentiated instruction and time for revising work. The next few weeks should be interesting as I attempt this transition. I should have already started discussing this concept with the class but the fear of failure partially held me back. Sometimes you have to just trust that something new will work. As Paul Solarz says in Learn Like A Pirate, “if you fail at creating a student-led classroom, you end up with a teacher-led classroom.” The risk doesn’t get much smaller than that.