Monday, September 1, 2014

Back to School

I haven't posted here in a while, so I decided tonight would be the night to play a bit of catch up. While we have only been in school for 3 days, things have been very busy and very crazy. This year I teach 5-- yes 5-- preps. I have English 11, AP English 11, English 9, English 9 Honors, and Freshman Seminar. So far, I think I am really going to enjoy my classes. The 9th graders seem engaged and excited to be back (or to be starting!). My 11th graders are a bit of a handful, but I think I can channel that energy into some productive class time. I think my biggest challenge with the 11th graders will be getting them into the correct learning groups and keeping them on their toes.

My AP class presents a new AP challenge-- the class is big at 32 students (my biggest class)-- and that presents a new set of problems in the AP setting. My first problem is that I am basically out of room in my classroom. I have abnormally large desks, plus high school sized humans, and that means not much room. Additionally, about half the class are students who I moved from honors. I always try to pull up students from honors into AP because I believe that every student needs to take at least one AP class in high school. A large class size makes providing support for students who need extra help  bit harder. It's definitely not impossible, and there are ways to work around it, but it is harder. Finally, because the class is only offered during one period, there were students who were slated to be in AP (they did the extensive summer reading and everything), and then were bumped from the class because it conflicted with another class they were supposed to take. If another section of the class had been offered I think more students would have been able to take the course. I know I will make the class work, but it is a bit daunting thinking of how I will need to accommodate the class size while working to support each student in the way that they need.

I would recount my opening day activities, but my friend Sarah already did this over on her blog. If you follow this link here you can read all about the ice breakers that we did in our classes. They were a huge success, and the students made some awesome class connections. I too have pictures for a classroom tour, but I haven't uploaded them yet, so that will be saved for a new post.

All-in-all, I am looking forward to this week upcoming. We have back to school night and my volleyball team plays its first game. It is going to be a busy week, so my posting may be quiet. Between school, coaching, and the kids at home my free time is minimal!

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