In this very special, 2-part episode...
Not to go all 'after-school' special on it, but it's been a bit of a wild 2 weeks or so. That, more than anything, was the main reason I wasn't able to get an update written last week. Two weeks ago, much of what I wrote about was how amazingly quick the past summer seems to fade once the grind has set in...the two weeks from workshop week until then really feeling like two months. This may come as a surprise, but that sensation is even more visceral now, one month into the year.
The last couple weeks have flown by at an even faster rate than the first two weeks of school. It helps to be into your curriculum and past the days of going over procedures, expectations, grading, etc. Another plus is getting to the point where I comfortably know all of my students' names. Between having more students every year and getting older, this seems to be more and more of a Herculean task. While daunting, it is also an enjoyable & worthwhile endeavor. Kids know when you've put the effort in to get to know them and connect with them; after all, they're not stupid, and I think everyone values people knowing who they are on some level.
As far as what we're doing in class, I couldn't be happier! This is by far the earliest in the school year where all of my students are writing on their blogs, accessing the online textbook, and completing work on the Moodle Course. I am very encouraged, and it's exciting to know that even when we have a crazy week like the one we just finished - 2 different days with kids at camp - my students back at school are able to work and collaborate, while students who missed class can catch up after school. We are probably a little under a month away from starting our first novel, and I'm pumped for all of the possibilities that lie ahead.
Final thought: it's been great to start dabbling in my first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), OOE13. This past Wednesday evening, there was a Twitter chat centered around getting started, engagement, and utilization. I found myself somewhere in the middle among my extended PLN colleagues, having started and done quite a bit with tech integration, yet not nearly as awesome as others. Even though I didn't have too many cogent thoughts to offer that evening, I did read one interesting blog on the possibility of Twitter making students better writers today.
Have a great weekend!