Back to School!

So this week was the first back at school with the students. We had a few teacher only days last week, which I was VERY grateful for. I managed to spend some time prepping my classroom in between planning meetings, which means I am finally (almost) happy with the way my classroom is looking!

Some displays are improving! Still have a few empty walls… I teach general Science, Biology and Agriculture, so I am trying to include displays that reflect all 3 subject areas!

I am also looking to increase the literacy resources available to my students to help them improve their reading, comprehension of scientific writing, and ability to write in scientific contexts!

So in love with my new marine mammal corner! I used the dolphins that my year 13 students used in their end of year ‘prank’ last year. To be honest, I got a beautiful marine theme pranking… Lots of teachers got toilet papered/cling filmed rooms! So I am counting myself lucky!! The posters are from Project Jonah, a wonderful charity based in NZ that deals with marine mammal stranding events. They offer this educational pack to schools, so I jumped on the offer last year.

For the first few lessons with my junior classes I though we could spend some time getting to know each other. The year 9 students have all come from a mixture of local intermediate schools, so they do not all know each other yet. I decided I would do a STEM themed team activity to get them talking and working cooperatively! So we did the pyramid of cups challenge. Each group gets 6 plastic cups, 4 pieces of string and 1 elastic band.

Prepping each teams cup challenge!

The rules: make a pyramid of cups, working as a team (every member must be physically involved) without touching the cups at all.

This activity worked so well! The students were put into alphabetical order, so not necessarily working with friends, but despite this, they got involved and all the groups successfully made their pyramid. It took some groups more time than others, but they all persevered!

I first came across this activity as an ice breaker during some PD at my training school. As far as ice breakers go, I actually enjoyed it and found it fun! So I hoped the students would respond the same way, so far so good!

Now it is my job to work on remembering all their names! I have met 105 new students this week. With another 30 to meet on Friday, my brain is not feeling too receptive to all the new names and faces… But we will get there!

Grateful for the Waitangi day break that has fallen in our first week back. Busy, full day of teaching tomorrow and then a well earned weekend. It is always difficult to get back to the normal teacher pace after the summer holiday, but give it a few weeks and I am sure we will all be back to normal!!

Thanks for reading 🙂

– Kayla

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