This year I have made the transition from 6th grade to 8th grade Language Arts. My school splits each grade into 3 sections (A, B, C -yes, education folks, you may recognize these as tracks). At the beginning of the school day, students have a homeroom they go to for attendance, and then 15 minutes of Oral Communication practice. Following Oral Comm, they stay with their homeroom teacher for their first period of instruction. Each grade has 3 different classrooms, so over the course of the day, each teacher is visited twice by the same group of students. In the middle of the day, students have a 15 minute "lunch break". After 6th period, students return to homeroom for a 20-minute health and nutrition class. My schedule looks like this:
8-8:15 Oral Comm
8:15-9 Section B Reading
9-9:45 Section C Reading
9:45-10:30 Section A Reading
10:30-11:15 Section B Writing
11:30-12:15 Section C Writing
12:15-1 Section A Writing
1-1:20 Health & Nutrition
A huge advantage that sections give us teachers is smaller class size when students need them. My Section A has 18 students, B has 15, and C has 12. On days where my coteacher and I have a detailed plan and are really prepared, this means the students are getting a great amount of individual attention.
One of my recent obsessions is teacher blogs. Sundays are low-key here in Kosrae and keeping myself "busy" usually means napping in my hammock all day, finding a good book to read, or watching episode after episode of tv from my external hard drive (I've recently gotten into Breaking Bad). Lately I spend my Sundays reading blogs of teachers around the US and Canada. Not only am I getting great insight into fun activities other teachers have used, but I am also learning from their mistakes. Sometimes I am also a little mystified by (jealous of) all the technology US classrooms have these days. (Smart board? Whats that? All I have in my classroom is a chalkboard. No, but really, I would kill for an overhead projector, which seems to be a relic of the ancient past in the US)
Reading Olympians is a program I stumbled upon recently that helps students learn affixes and root words. I am a Greek Mythology nerd, so I've been super excited about this and hope it goes over well with my kids. This program divides affixes and root words into sets of 10, and each set is given the name of a Greek God or Olympian. The first set is Nike, which covers a- anti- bi- bio cent -less post- pre- sub- and un-.