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Building Community

By Wendy Hopf

One hundred energetic sixth graders greet me each day, and I need to be ready. As an English Language Arts teacher the actions I take in September and October are critical for setting the tone for a successful school year. In a nutshell, my practices reflect my beliefs:

”We are a community of learners who respect each other’s space, time, and learning and accept each other’s ideas. We trust that Ms. Hopf will guide us, but we are expected to work hard throughout the class period. We support each other, have fun while learning, and gain the rewards of learning for its own sake.”

To create the habits and attitudes I am striving for there are four practices I follow. Read more

Day One

By Jen Ward

New tenth graders file into my room, unsure of where to sit, trying to find a friendly face in our World Literatures English class.  Summer is over. School is back in session.  And on our first day of class, I stand outside the classroom door, greeting students and handing them a syllabus as they walk into the room.  This is what they expect.  They expect to sit down, whisper quietly about the new kid in class and what they did over their summer break while their teacher stands at the front and lectures over classroom rules, grading policies, and class projects.  So when the bell rings for class to start, and I tell them to put their syllabus away, they look genuinely confused.

As their teacher, I want to see my high school students connecting, collaborating, writing, and revising.  And that needs to start on day one. Read more