Today was the first day of the 2011-12 school year, and I was greeted with 28 anxious and intelligent 5th graders.
We started off the day by creating various items to place in our Time Capsule. These items included a paragraph about their summer in their best handwriting (they’re always amazed at how much their handwriting changes in a year), a tracing of their hand, a colored self portrait, and a questionnaire about their “favorites”. We sealed them up in plastic bags, packed them in a box, and I “buried” it in the back of a large cabinet in our room.
We then took a tour of our class website, which is the guiding hub of our classroom. Linked on the site, I opened a Powerpoint which led us on a tour of the classroom and various procedures. Then it was on to the “Serious 17”! Ron Clark would be proud. After reading his new book this summer, The End of Molasses Classes, and re-reading, The Essential 55, I decided to choose 17 non-negotiable behaviors that would be required for success in our room. After a lively class discussion about them (they are all posted above our front board), the kids finally got their laptops. We are a 1:1 county, and this group of kids first got their individual netbooks in the spring of last year. I was anxious to see how tech savvy they were.
To assimilate the rules into their thinking, they were asked to create a PowerPoint with 3 slides. Each slide was to contain one of the 17 rules they thought was most important, a reason why it was most important, and a clip art picture that would demonstrate the rule. I know creating a PowerPoint is not a great measure of “tech-savvy-ness”, but these kids have not had much experience with the online tools my previous class used daily, so it was a good starting point. They LOVED it, as supported by the comments on their first blog posts.
To end the day (which went extremely quickly) I introduced them to Kidblog which we will use often throughout our year together. They were very excited to create their first blog post! We found out that evening however, that Internet Explorer (which had been this group’s browser of choice) does NOT play nicely with the new Windows 7 that was included on the new image installed over the summer. Oh well, they were great sports, and re-blogged the following day. You can read their first posts HERE (they’d love comments if you have an extra minute!)
What a GREAT first day!