So far we are having an excellent first week of school. It has been a mellow week, but we have accomplished some things that will stay with us throughout the year. We have played quite a few games, as well as going on two walks on the trails near the school. Additionally we have come up with a Bill of Rights that is now posted outside our classroom. We have taken both a math and english language arts assessment, and today we will present a short paper on who we are.
Next week we are jumping in academically, by beginning our geography block. The block will start with a week on physical geography, a week cultural geography and a week on mapping before culminating with the place report. A grade specific rubric for this report will be sent home next week; expectations should be pretty clear. Each week (physical, cultural, mapping) will end with a “test.” This small quiz will be very cursory, the goal being to get the students used to the idea that they may want to remember what happens in class rather than a high stress, high stakes test.
Mathematically the fifth and seventh grade will have a review of last years material before commencing with their regular curriculum. In particular I will review algebraic expressions, the relationship between fractions, decimals, and percentages, and multi-digit multiplication for the seventh graders. The fifth grade needs some work on long division and fractions. I think I will spend about a week on these items before moving on. It is important for everyone to remember their old material before starting on the new.
Seventh graders: we are going backpacking next week. I was thinking that we could meet at the school on Friday and leave in as few cars as possible. We would probably stop in Arcata to pick up food before heading over 299. We could camp on the North Fork of the Trinity near Helena, where there is good free camping and great swimming holes. Saturday morning we would head up Canyon Creek. Sunday we would come down and drive back to Salmon Creek. I suppose I need to know which parents are going and if any of you are willing to drive. I can take three in my truck, but perhaps we can be more efficient than that. Anyway, you can let me know through courier (student) or by email who is going and any other concerns. Emi, I have a good backpack for you, that I will bring next week.
All in all, the kids have been a joy to work with this week. All of them have predominantly positive attitudes and a willingness to participate in all activities. I have begun to get to know each one, and this knowledge has allowed me to vary some of my planning to accommodate individual and specific interests. At this point I foresee an enjoyable year, for me and hopefully for the students.