Every year in the mail I receive letter after letter, picture after picture, from family and friends telling me how the last year has gone. I thought this would be a good idea for a blog post about my classroom. I am sure parents would be interested in our year so far. (Count yourselves lucky...I didn't even do one of these for my OWN family!)
The school year is off to a great start. Mrs. Weber came back in August after having 5 WONDERFUL months off for maternity leave. The transition back to school was challenging, but she finally settled into a routine of managing life at home with life at school. It definitely was nice to be back among the middle schoolers again!
Things in Mrs. Weber's classroom took a drastic change. After 6 years of teaching and having the classroom set up a certain way, it was time for a new look. Student groups took a new arrangement (you won't believe how LONG that took...Mrs Weber can be kind of particular), the teacher's desk moved to a new corner, and the projector is now shining it's light on a brand new Smart Board. Figuring out the Smart Board is a slow but fun process.
Speaking of figuring things out...there are many new things with technology creeping up in the classroom. Mrs. Weber is utilizing her iPad with the students more and more, and wishing she had more for the students to use...Santa???
Mrs. Weber has also started using a new website called Edmodo. Edmodo allows for her to post assignments, presentations, and student collaboration outside of class. The 7th graders were VERY excited for Edmodo, thinking it was "Facebook for the classroom." However, Mrs. Weber is confident that the new "cool" factor about the website will go away as soon as the students start to realize that they have to do WORK. The use of websites and technology is something that is being integrated throughout the district, so more and more teachers will be using these methods.
The 8th grade came in to class ready to pick up where they left off last year. Small in number, but tons of fun, the 8th grade have been working hard learning about the U.S. Constitution. We even took a break for a mini-unit on the election. You might have had some rousing conversations with your son or daughter on political topics. Liberal or Conservative???? The 8th graders will be continuing on with their study of American History after the Christmas Break. Mrs. Weber is relaxing on her time schedule since the 8th graders will not take the Social Studies State Assessment this year. She will be incorporating strategies from the Common Core Standards and getting a head start on creating lessons that will follow the new Social Studies State Standards set to be released next school year. These standards will require the student to think like Historians, back up their answers with evidence from different text sources, and analyzing primary sources. Be prepared...all subjects will be making these changes in the future!
The 7th graders have already been incorporating these new techniques and are already familiar with the process. Their tests have changed from regurgitating multiple choice facts to open-ended questions over primary sources. Mrs. Weber is happy with the results of the tests and is excited to see what growth will come from this new way of teaching. 7th graders will continue with their study of Kansas History in January by talking about homesteaders and the adaptations settlers made who lived in Western Kansas which had few trees and little water.
All-in-all it has been a great first semester, and Mrs. Weber is looking forward to seeing what her students will create next! As she says every year, after Christmas Break the school year is on a very fast slide to summer break, and there is still much work to be done! Stay tuned for more exciting news from "The Web."