And We’re Off!

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Well, if you have been wondering where I’ve been…school’s started.  Enough said?

I returned to school, hoping to find some way to convince my administrators to let me keep my room.  You know, the room that I moved to last year and lovingly decorated and organized in anticipation of teaching ESOL?  Then, I was reassigned to a computer lab teaching Rosetta Stone French.  I got to keep my stuff in the room, but only used it to serve breakfast during advisement and as a refuge during my planning period.

Then, I was told that (good news!) I would again be teaching ESOL (8th Grade), but I would need to move to the room that is set up with computers for the Read 180 program (don’t ask). I decided not to think about it for the summer time.  I had a plan to explain to my powers-that-be that my room would accommodate the Read 180 computers without any great expenditure by the school.  This plan worked, but not until half of my classroom had been moved next door…  After it was moved back (willy-nilly), I spent two days getting my room organized again.  It looks good!

Then, I had a training day and a half on MYP Assessment.  There was some worthwhile stuff there, but it was still too long for a training session.

Okay, they will always be too long.

Our new principal has actually been great about allowing us time to work in our classrooms.  We had an open house Wednesday afternoon so that the kids could locate their classrooms.  We got our rosters, and that was the first sign that the times they are a changin’.

You see, our school system just got approved to become a charter school system.  All of the positive angles were emphasized, and I was even motivated to read the charter proposal to make sure that tenure was still going to be honored (for what that’s worth).  Well, so far, I found out that being a charter school means that we don’t have to follow the state guidelines that limit the size of ESOL classrooms.  In the past, a class was limited to 11 students per teacher – 14 students if we had an aide in the classroom.  Well, I found out about the change last week and added 3 more desks to accommodate 15 students.  I just looked into I-Cue, and I have one class that could possibly have 19 students.  Great.

I also found out that I will be teaching Georgia History to the International Academy students.  The IA is for new arrivals, so their English is limited.  Very limited.  I have counted two so far that were unable to speak English at all.  I won’t go into how annoying it is to find out that, just because a random certification in Social Studies mysteriously appeared on my teaching certificate that doesn’t mean I am “highly qualified” to teach Georgia History (hello?  I am from Louisiana – give me LA history!).  It will all just have to work out.

So far, my kids are great.  I have more Brazilian students than I have had in a while, and two students from Africa (one from the Gambia and the other from Kenya).  I spent some time looking for Brazilian folk art and folk tale resources and found a few.

For the first two days, I gave my students writing, listening, and grammar assessments.  I need to find a reading assessment.  I also showed them how to fold an 8 page booklet from one piece of paper and had them fill it with anything they wanted.  Some wrote a story, some did a picture book, one did a dictionary – it was pretty cool.

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