First Week of School

Dear Parents,

So, it’s another year already? 🙂 For some of you, this is your second or third child to sit in my classroom, and I hope you’re excited to have your kids walk through those blue doors at Holcomb Bridge. I tell kids every year when they ask that teaching is a choice for me, and when I stop loving it, I’ll know it’s time to move on. I still feel lucky I get to spend time trying to impart to your young people how important communication skills are and how incredibly vital they are in this tech-crazy, hyperconnected world.

Here’s the video we watched the first day:

Please take a minute and email the school board and let them know that a infrastructure incapable of supporting tablet textbooks for students (or even working computer labs) is not going to cut it when it comes to preparing your children for this kind of world.
FCBOE School Board

This week, aside from some get-to-know-everyone activities, we practiced two different classroom protocols:

1. The Rotation —I’ll group students according to different needs and, as much as possible, try to give each group what they need.

2. The Socratic Seminar– Students will “close read” and mark up a text and answer a few questions for homework the night before. When they arrive to class, the desks will be arranged in a giant circle. Students will have a professional level discussion, building on one another’s comments, referring to the text, drawing others into the conversation, etc., all with very little input from me.

Today, our socratic seminar focused on a letter by Stanley “Tookie” Williams, the notorious Cripps leader who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize when he made a striking turnabout after spending years in prison for murder. Williams wrote a few books aimed at young people–encouraging them to end gang violence. A few of the “sparker” questions I asked were: Can people change? and Why do people join gangs?

Discussion was rich–especially for our first seminar! Each class has a different challenge, but I’m looking forward to watching students improve their academic discussion skills.

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