Many thanks to my parents for spending at least a couple of these past five days helping get the room ready. A new room means new routines. I tried to reflect that in the set-up, including getting rid of the teacher desk and trying a new student desk arrangement. Bring on the students! (…but next week, please, because I’m not done with the paperwork, yet.)
It’s no great secret. Ask any teacher what their least favorite time of the week is, and they’ll most likely reply “Sunday Evening.” It’s the day before the start of a new week and a repeat of writing more lesson plans, grading more papers, observations, testing, and, heaven-forbid, another fire drill. And for many teachers, those will be the easiest things they deal with in the classroom.
But, it’s also in the hum-drum of the every day, the snail’s pace of progress that makes a teacher question the difference he or she is actually making. I questioned it of myself this past week. This morning, I found myself talking to a friend who was doubting the same.
I think it was no coincidence, then, that one of our scripture readings during the church service included Mark 4:26-27.
And [Jesus] said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.
So it may be that the daily scatterings of knowledge, patience, discipline, and love in the classroom will sprout and grow, whether the teacher sees or knows how. It could be that the late nights and early rising will later be blessed with a harvest that the teacher cannot judge now.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
Teaching isn’t the only profession that is tiring, but it is tiring. Teaching is not the only profession that requires self-giving and denial, but it does require those. Teaching is not the only profession that is time-consuming, but that it most certainly is. The bright hope for tomorrow, even as I may be laboring late tonight and then again early tomorrow, is that my scattering of the seed, seeking to do kingdom work in the place God has given, will produce a harvest, even if I know not how it takes root and grows.
Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
I have successfully spent the last morning of 2015 sniffing Sharpie fumes… I mean, making anchor charts for the classroom. Along with getting organized for the semester, I also wanted to create some reading and grammar resources for my kiddos to use in the classroom to help retain previously taught information. Anchor charts are a helpful visual aid for introducing a topic. Sometimes I bring a completed chart for the lesson. Other times I create a chart while I’m teaching the lesson and hang it up later. The students like to copy the chart in their notebook for note-taking if I’m making one during the lesson. We also discuss information that could be added to the anchor chart (or information that shouldn’t be added) during that lesson or as a review activity. During small groups, students can complete or create from scratch an anchor chart about the lesson, which I also display. (That’s evaluation, application, creation, and synthesizing, for those keeping track of higher order thinking skills.) I have seen my students use these to help answer questions and guide discussions in table groups. They have grown in confidence as a result. Over time they depend less on the chart as a result of repeated exposure to the information. Since I have ESL students, I tend to go for charts that are rich in vocabulary words, as well as grammar. Here are some of my favorites I made today. (But seriously, anchor chart crafting should be done in a well ventilated space. Sharpie-induced headache is a real thing.)
Others include Pinterest inspirations:
What are some anchor charts you use in your classroom?
Giggles: Miss W., M- was looking and looking for his pencil. He couldn’t find it anywhere and it was in his hand the whole time!
– 2nd grade