Last week was our first week, so we spent time on explaining the course outline, learning about the Unfamiliar text book they would use every Friday, and doing some basic reading & writing tasks. Today I thought I would give them a topic that we could debate in class before writing about it - so I could see initial writing skills (after summer break) and a starting point. What I quickly realized was my starting point was OFF ... so, it was a quick photocopier message to the office & we started again.
I am slightly concerned about the pressure they are feeling. We did spend three day off timetable in week one, working on team building, study skills, organisational skills, some writing skills, and an overnight camp at the school lodge, working on mindfulness & resilience. I am wondering if we did enough, or is this perhaps a growth mindset challenge for them? I am pondering what I can change to help them feel more secure and confident about this year in my class.
Best moment of the class though - one of my struggles from last year wrote 374 words (he checked and double checked as he couldn't believe it!). This student latched onto the topic we were debating and had strong feelings about it. It wasn't grammatically correct or paragraphed BUT he did it. So, I'm going to celebrate that, even if it was only one! For this guy - he rocked it!! (and told me he just kept writing everything, like when we did our 100 word challenges!!)
So, as I prepare to publish this, I have spent the past evening revising and re-planning. We have an interactive power-point to work with this afternoon, several small group activities, followed by some research on a current event. Thanks to the teachers that have used Slideshare and the Creative Commons Licensing. I appreciate you - and look forward to paying it forward in the future.