Sunday, 19 August 2012

Connecting the dots: first week high

And just like that, the first week of school has come and gone.  Wow. What a week! 
the calm before the storm
I must say,  it's been an amazing few days meeting all you, setting up our Google calendars, our Google drives, and framing the school-year with the right attitude and mindset together.

Since going home from school that first afternoon, I have had a deep, never ending feeling of gratitude and this warm sensation in my gut. Picture a complex ball of emotions made up of excitement, inspiration and the need to create, sitting in my heart.  It's still there, this ball, and I hope the fire in my nerve endings never ceases.  It was really awesome to meet all of you and I can't wait to see all the wonderful things we will write, read, view, say, discuss and create together and on our own.   Everything seems to be falling into place - from what I have been envisioning in my head (since November last year) to what's real today - I couldn't have asked for a better start to a new school year.
starting the year right
Word for the Year: a worthy exercise 
First middle school assembly: eager beavers listening to Gareth Barlow
talk about expeditions and activities
the 7PGu  boys reflect on their first day 
I hope the first few blocks spent creating a safe and open learning space worked well for everyone.  I know it's time well spent when we can carve the time and opportunity to get to know one another better.  Thank you for being open and for being candid with your questions for me too.  It was fun addressing and responding to them. I am glad you also felt comfortable enough to share interesting things about yourselves and your lives. 

Likewise, it was also really important that we created our essential agreements off the bat.  Remember, all disappointment stem from unfulfilled expectations.  So being transparent and agreeing on what we expect our class norms to be minimize (or help us avoid) possible issues in the future. Anyway, I am in the middle of going over everyone's goal setting presentations*.

So far, well done!

Whether you shared a brochure from Pages or a keynote, it has been interesting reading and taking note of what you all intend to achieve this year starting with the first term.


working on their first task: goal setting 
As I have said in class, I am a big believer of backward planning and feel that you will have ownership of your own learning if you have a say in the design of your learning journey from the beginning and with possible outcome/s in mind.  Just being aware that you need to be purposeful is already a good start.  It's easier to connect the dots when you're aware of the shape you'd like to end up with  at the end of each term or the end of this school year. It also allows me to discern how I can help you achieve these goals using different approaches to learning best suited to you and how you learn.  As your teacher, my role is to facilitate, create opportunities, be your cheer leader,  and often times be a critic too. I will also be your no. 1 fan as well as, your plan B problem solver. I do promise to push and challenge you, and support you when you find yourselves stuck in the process. By being clear about our intent from the beginning, along with the end in mind,  we can better recognize and celebrate our own milestones.   Great job, guys!

In case you need to review what I wanted you to be able to communicate through your brochure or presentation, here are the *questions: 

1. How do you learn best?
2. I expect English class to be ... (complete this sentence)
3. List your top three to four goals for English this year (some notes on what you want to achieve the first term in particular)
4. How will you achieve these goals?
5. How can I help you achieve your goals?
6.  Finally, what was the last book you read ... write a short blurb on it (ideas, comments, review, summary).

Well, I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend. Don't forget to visit our class site, subscribe to the class calendar and this blog.  Until tomorrow, be safe everyone. 


  1. Thankyou for putting my pic in ms paula awesome post btw!

  2. Great job! U sure like to take lots of pictures and thx for putting a picture of me in your blog.

  3. I really like the picture because it is really funny before all the students would come rushing into the corridor