BEWARE: RUN-ON SENTENCES AHEAD
Not yet started
- posting an inspirational & world-changing display on the bulletin board -- but only after getting 4 deep paper cuts from the colorful paper from the cart of rolled paper which I started searching for 3 hours ago, and it shouldn't take so long but I saw about a dozen co-workers during the schoolwide quest and engaged in about a dozen very similar conversations about "How was your summer?" before I finally found the cart and amateurishly ripped off a few sheets of yellow/green/navy blue -- because if you don't post inspirational and world-changing displays then your students will fail, right?
- arranging all 24 desks and chairs, which also involves sticking blue painter's tape on the tiled floor in strategic locations to make sure those desks can always go back to the same arrangement because I'm persistent about that kind of things, and also requires swapping 3 or 4 wobbly-legged pieces of furniture with those in a neighboring classroom (shhhhhh, don't tell!)
- staring at the two tall bookshelves on the back wall and plan to do something about them this year, asking myself "Why do I keep all those fiction books that nobody reads?" and walking away for a little while only to decide "Well I should probably keep them anyway," then spending 15 minutes to restack them in a slightly more appealing way
- writing and rewriting my welcome-to-school message on the whiteboard and also revising the 1st day schedule that I wrote before we got the URGENT email about the crucial time changes
- draping & taping a long extension cord from the side wall socket around the hallway door across most of the front wall (which has exactly zero sockets for some reason) so I will be able to plug in the projector cart without getting complaints from the fire marshal
- setting up the microwave and Keurig coffeemaker because oh dear god without them I will die
- doing about 19 other tasks that I have forgotten about, but will remember pretty soon after returning to room 212
- writing my welcome letter to parents. After revising the same piece year after year since the Bush administration, I started from scratch. It looks too long, so I may need to cut out some pieces. This year, though, I really want to ask explicit permission to photograph/videotape class activities like discussions. Also I feel it's important to comment on my approach to current events, because the intense political climate has a serious impact on my teaching and relationship with students/families.
- slightly revising my grading policy, especially the impact of quiz grades. This is a philosophical quandary, and I want to align my decision with my content partner.
- prepping the #first5days of activities, including a "promotion checklist" that's similar to the way I end the year during the Civil War unit. I will blog about this next week when it's finished.
- I re-scripted and produced the three "regions of the American colonies" video lessons. In 2013 we used a text-heavy narrated slideshow. In 2014 I tried a "color the map with me" video that seemed cool but failed because students struggled to follow along and they couldn't see the dividing lines on the screen. In 2015 I made an OfficeMix video that was pretty good but too long (14 1/2 minutes) for the first official video homework task of the school year (after my "How to Watch a Video" assignment). Now we have three shorter videos (6 or 7 minutes each) -- one for each region: Northeast, Middle Colonies, the South/Backcountry. I hope they will work much better.
Oh no. I thought I was doing so well! Only one task is actually finished?! And I just spent most of an hour writing this blog post??!!