Thursday, August 18, 2011

As Ready As I'm Gonna Be

 It's hard to believe my summer is over with!  On Monday, I report for my first official day of the 2011-2012 school year.  The kids start Tuesday, and I've been working hard getting our space ready for a year full of reading, writing, talking, and thinking.

(This photo is the view from my doorway.  The room is much smaller than it appears in this photo.)

Just this week alone, I spent six hours with my learning team working on two of our genre study units.  We chose learning targets, identified possible mentor texts,  planned some mini-lessons, chose notebook work assignments, and wrote rubrics for our free verse poetry study and our memoir study.  I'm excited because I think this hard work will pay off as we seek to provide intentional instruction in our workshops every day.

(This is the view of the front of the room from my desk.)

I've written lesson plans for the first two weeks of school, focusing on launching my reading & writing workshops, and I've sent my picture of my summer reading book stack to our media specialist to make into an ALA style READ poster.  I've made my copies.  I've weeded and rearranged my library.

(This is our meeting area/reading corner.  I used to have sofas, but they got really smelly in my "garden level" classroom.)

Now I wait and wonder.  I wonder about my new kids - what will they be like?  Will they be readers like my last two groups; kids who devour books as quickly as I do?  Will they see themselves as writers and embrace the genres we will study?  Will they gel into a community where risk-taking is appreciated and undertaken?

(Most of my classroom library--arranged by genre)
 I wonder about myself as a professional.  Will I take all I have been reading about, thinking about, and talking about and work it into a classroom system that makes sense?  Will I work on my own writing and finally embark on the kind of scary project I've been mulling over in my head for the past four years?  Will I ACTUALLY start my doctoral program the way I want to?

(The back corner where my desk sits.  I haven't had the urge to get rid of it yet!)

One of the best parts of my job is that I get a fresh start every August.  Each school year I have the chance to be a better teacher than I was the year before.  I love the challenges that come with the territory of teaching young adolescents, and I love the laughter they carry with them through my classroom door (pictured, left).

So bring it on!  I'm ready (I think).