At day #9, we are still newbies this year. We have barely scratched the surface. Yet, on behalf of seasoned-teachers, I know that in only 9 days, we know a lot. We can see a lot of academic, social, and behavior strengths, and we already have the wheels a-turning on how to shape or polish anything we might see cropping up.
I look at my own personal 9 days, at my own li'l "green" school... and I'm a bit amazed at the items we've both tackled and accomplished here in this "4-day-week-topped-with-a-5-dayer." In addition to getting into the groove, figuring out class routines and expectations, and building stamina (the teacher's!!), we're already hitting the academic regime with gusto!
I am proud to say, that in these first 9 days, I've already done a nice job of hitting both the #edtech and the #eco side of life. My 3rd graders have learned the difference between asking if they can "play" on the iPads or "learn" on them. (There IS only ONE right answer!) They've used the iPads for building their math facts, and building a motivational poster (using the Motivational Poster app--which I love) for our school-wide first quarter theme of "Kindness." They've been busy on the computer taking the Scholastic Reading Inventory to discover their Lexile. They've created both a "word tapestry" using Wordle and a personal Timeline using "Teach-nology." They've watched (and begged for more) the animated video of the Bayeux Tapestry on YouTube. I've given learning style assessments and reading assessments. We've counted classroom collections of Capri Suns as part of our weekly upcycling program with Terracycle. We've sent our class compost to the 5th graders who weigh and carry it to our campus compost heap. We've gone outside more than just recess--we've gone on outdoor scavenger hunts (or "Campus Quests," similar to the many Maryland Park Quests my family has done throughout the years) to work on team-building. And, we've taken part as a school for the 4th year in a row to haul oyster spat to our neighboring Magothy River as a future pick-up spot for the Marylanders Grow Oysters project.
Not to mention, my daughter accompanied her 4th and 5th grade peers to Echo Hill Outdoor School for a 3-day outdoor education/community building annual field trip. Tonight, she couldn't wait to show us how she had learned to build a fire, all on her own!! Not a "fake fire" (as she called it, with lighter fluid), but a "real fire" (with "timber, kindling, and true fuel.") And what a "real fire" it was!!
Day 9?! In some ways, it's hard to believe, when you look at all we've done. Yet, I think that is the beauty as a 21st Century Teacher. Even more so, when you are given the autonomy to do what you need to do with your class of visual/hands-on learners, who are largely "Nature Smart" (as determined on a Multiple Intelligence inventory that I have the kids do during their first week of homework).
As teachers, every year we are reminded that our students come to us from many different places, at many different levels, with many different sets of expertise, and many different needs. It is up to us to take that ball and to run with it. Teaching through the environment, and teaching through technology are two great ways to capture that momentum, and show our students what a true love of learning is all about!!