Oh, how I love HIMYM. I hope you all caught that reference. Sometimes I fancy myself as the NPH of Northern Virginia. Only not gay, not a man, not famous, and not practically perfect in every way (wait, I think that last one was Mary Poppins).
Anyway, school is still a month away, but we all know that in teacher time that is like 7 seconds away. And usually this is the time when I try to get my head in the game and start planning out the specifics of the year. At about this time every year, I sit down with my county’s standards, the readings lists, the scope and sequence, and
a glass of wine pad of paper and set down to create the world’s best lesson plans for at least the first month of school. Then, after about 30 minutes of confusion planning, I’ve come up with 8 different things I want to do in the first week, none of which are feasible, so I throw my paper on table and leave it for another day. This happens on and off for a week or so, then it’s time to go back to school for the week of meetings and back-to-school teacher stuff, and I’m in a complete panic because I still don’t know what I want to do on the first day, let alone the first month.
But not this year.
I’ve already admitted to my addiction to Pinterest, and I can finally say that my addictive personality has benefitted me well this time! I know what I want to do in the first week of school! Ok, it’s not the first month like I originally planned, but it’s a heck of a lot better than what I usually d o and it’s a good place to start. Don’t get me wrong. My first day and first week plans are always stellar (cough, cough) but I’ve managed to save myself some grief this year.
I usually start out with some sort of goal setting activities. This year, I’m going to incorporate something I saw on Pinterest. Haaaave you met TED? I love TED. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click on this link. The rest of us will wait because we know how great it is. Go now. Back so soon? Great, right? Ok, so I am going to show a clip from Amy Purdy, a professional snow boarder who lost her legs several years ago to meningitis, on the first or second day of each class. I think the kids will like it and it’s a great way to introduce goal setting and overcoming obstacles or even using them to your advantage (perfect for my special education students). I tried to link it directly to this page but it’s not working, so go here to see it. Honestly, it’s great. AND it comes with a built in writing prompt (her very first sentence)!!
So, we’ll begin with the prompt. Watch the clip and discuss. Then I’ll talk about goal setting (they are high schoolers, they’ve heard it all before so it will be brief), then I’ll have them trace their arms and hands on butcher paper, cut them out, write their goals on their paper arms, and create a bulletin board that says “Reach For the Stars” above their hands (with some decorative stars, of course). That was another Pinterest find, BTdubs.
So, I get a video clip, a craft, a writing prompt, and a bulletin board out of it!! It’s totally brill. I can’t help it. I’m a genius. Ok, genius might be a stretch. No, I think genius covers it actually.
But I don’t want to pat myself on the back too much. I know there are hoards of you out there that have the whole first semester planned out, even the whole year! Cheers to you all, honestly. I’m just excited to have a plan for the first couple of days 🙂