This was my first year to have a schedule that included only 8th Grade ELA students. It didn’t hit me until last Monday, that things would be different. Eighth grade students leave for the summer and don’t return. It made their last day a bit more sentimental and from the hugs I got in return, I think they felt the same way.
I had the challenges and successes of the average teacher in this 21st century classroom. My class list favored boys therefore I like to say that I had students who “kept me on my toes.” While frustrating sometimes, I think I learned much more. Motivation, a sense of community, a hands-on approach, these things were equally important to teaching the standards.
In no particular order these are the things I found to be true.
- Sometimes it’s OK to allow students to chew gum; it helps to dispel energy.
- Everyone LOVES “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton.
- Trying to make grammar interesting is a challenge.
- Pandora and Rhapsody are fairly inexpensive ways to bring all kinds of music into your classroom.
- Even though you teach in a lab filled with eMacs, its fine to own and write in a paper journal.
- Goodreads is a wonderful way to share a love of reading, what you are reading, and meet new friends.
- 8th Graders LOVE to be read to. You MUST be an interesting reader though.
- What looks like play may be actually wonderful work – see blog entry
- I need the summer to read all the professional literature I have accumulated to try to undo the mistakes I made this year.
Off to my bed to read….