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Monday, January 04, 2016

First Teaching/Learning Day 2016

Our Big Goals for 2016.
It's amazing to note how much happens in one school day. That fact won't surprise any teachers. We had a terrific first day back to school with few surprises.

The new furniture arrived, but the desks were too low for students. Our wonderful custodian came to our rescue and corrected the error by making all the desks high enough so that students' knees fit comfortably beneath them. He also moved all the big pieces of furniture into their places. That was a relief. While he worked, the students had some extra time to play and catch up with one another at recess.

The year's first assembly was one of the best by far. The fifth grade emcees did a fantastic job leading our 400-student school in the pledge, a kindness rap, announcements, service learning projects, a super first grade roller coaster STEAM project presentation, a skit about New Year's resolutions, our school song, and the performance of an original composition by a fourth grader clarinetist. Wow! And, it was only the first day of the year. What will follow?

Back in the classroom students had time to think about 2016 academic goals, discuss class goals, talk about optimal protocols and routines, set up their new desks (everyone got to pick where they wanted to sit and everyone was happy!), and the viewing and discussion of the amazing Austin Hatch story shared by Shawn Storm (@sstorm01) an educator in Quakertown, PA this morning via Twitter. I told students that if they're ever feeling down, they can gain strength from Hatch's incredible perseverance and attitude in the face of tremendous adversity, and I also added that if a friend is ever ready to give up, they can pitch in and help like so many of Hatch's relatives, friends, and associates did.

I don't think I've ever smiled so much on the first day after a vacation. I know this was true because of all the positive events as well as the fact that our new shared model of teaching is making success and a good job more possible than ever before and this is good news.