Monday, September 01, 2008

Back to School . . .


Actually, ever since last Friday I am kind of excited to go back. I'm excited to see my students (though I won't be teaching them for a few more weeks), to put the finishing touches on my classroom, and to organize and plan my schedule for this year.

Getting my groups organized is my favorite part of getting ready for the new year. Friday I printed a report that showed me how my students did on the NYSESLAT last spring. From that I can see which of my students will be returning, who moved up a level in proficiency, and who tested out of ESL. So far it looks like I'll have a very small group of kids in the upper grades (just 4 fourth and fifth graders). I have many more second and third graders than in the past so that group may become two either based on grade level or proficiency depending on the students. As for Kindergarteners, I have no idea yet what that will look like.

My big task for Tuesday will be going through all of the new admits to see who is eligible to take the test to enter the ESL program. After I do that and then test the students I will finally know which students will be in the program and then I can start to make my schedule. I usually have five groups of students (based on proficiency and grade level). The tricky part is organizing my schedule so that it doesn't conflict with the prep schedule, lunch schedule, math classes, etc. As of last year I've sort of taken a more relaxed attitude toward planning my schedule. I have 40+ kids to organize into 5 teaching periods a day and all the obstacles of the lunches and preps to get around. I can only do what I can do with my schedule. Not all the teachers will be happy with when I am taking their students out and not all students will get their full mandated time, but I am just one person with a tight schedule and I can't make everyone happy. My schedule was much more consistent and organized with this new attitude that I took last year and I plan to do the same this year.

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