First Day of School

The kids came back today!  We had teacher meetings yesterday, but the first day isn’t really the first day until the seats in my classroom are full of 7th graders.  I’m always excited for the start of a new school year, but this year brings some extra joys.

  • One of my former students is all grown up and working as a teaching assistant in our school.  She’s helping out students in my classroom one period a day, and she is every bit as smart and kind now as she was when she was twelve.  I’m so excited to have her in our classroom this year!
  • Another one of my former students is teaching third grade in our district, and my daughter is in her class. I remember thinking when this young woman was in seventh grade what an amazing teacher she’d be if she chose that path, and I’m thrilled that she did.  It makes me feel so proud of her.  (Also kind of old…but mostly proud.)
  • Tomorrow, we’ll start our first whole-class novel of the year, Rebecca Stead’s WHEN YOU REACH ME.  I gush about this book at every opportunity, and I’m so excited to share it with my kids that I kept bouncing today while I was telling them about it. It feels like I have a huge surprise present for them – I just know they’re going to love it as much as I do.
  • Our students will have the opportunity to see President Obama’s back-to-school speech this week.  They weren’t back to school when he delivered the speech yesterday, but they’ll meet by grade levels in the auditorium to see the recorded speech on Friday.
  • Our district is taking real steps to embrace Web 2.0 opportunities for teaching & learning.  This year, I’ll be teaching a mini-unit  on social networking and talking with kids about Facebook, MySpace, & Twitter – and how those who choose to use these sites can do so effectively, responsibly, and safely.
  • Along those same lines, we’re having a class Twitter feed! We’ll be tweeting reflections on our learning, book reviews, and all sorts of things, and we’re inviting parents, other teachers and librarians, and kids’ authors to follow us and maybe join in some of our conversations.  Here’s our Twitter profile – if you’d like to follow us, just send a request. (The feed is locked so that I can filter out inappropriate followers,  but we’re happy to talk with anyone interested in reading, writing, and learning.)
  • I’m teaching an advanced creative writing class again, this year in a team teaching situation with , who is both a great teacher and a gifted writer. She’s also my friend and funnier than most comedians I’ve seen, so I expect this class to be a lively one!

I hope your September shines and smells like new pencils, too.

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