Sunday, August 26, 2012

Getting Ready for School

You will see a lot of blog entries with this title at this time of the year- Getting Ready for School. As you all know, in the Northern Hemisphere school starts in September. The majority of edu-bloggers are from the US and, as expected, all of the bloggers I follow are discussing classroom layout, parent packs and display ideas.

Here in South Africa, school starts in January. The big summer holiday is December - January, with a smaller (but significant) winter break June - July. This fact also makes a lot of beautiful calendar and planning resources useless to me, they are often decorated and planned seasonally and our seasons are opposite here! Let's see some love for the teachers in the Southern Hemisphere! Gecko at The Red Pen of Doom is a South African teacher, hi Gecko!, but I wonder if there are any more out there? If there are signs of life, maybe we could get a Southern Hemisphere linky-party started.

 The emphasis on starting the school year at the moment is beneficial to my own plans, though- I start my final teaching practice in two weeks! I've met my host teacher and discussed our plan for the first week of term. I'll be at Queenspark School (as usual, not it's real name) for 5 whole weeks. My class, Grade 2 (age 7/8), will be starting third term with me there from the first day. I love this because it helps to cement my authority if I'm there from the 'start'. There are 16 students, with a 50/50 split between those who are home-language English speakers and those who are not. It's my first time in a private school, so I'm excited to see the contrast between Queenspark and Sandlot, which was a well-supported government school.

My host teacher said that she wasn't happy with her current method of classroom discipline, which was grouping rows of desks into teams. This wasn't working for two reasons:
  • The students are young and not very assertive, meaning members of Dragonfly Group didn't feel they were brave enough to tell other Dragonflies to be quiet/behave.
  • My host teacher often changes the seating plan to accomodate her students' needs.
We discussed this and I mentioned my Clip Chart which had worked so successfully at Sandlot School. The result: I'm going to make another Clip Chart and bring it into my new Grade 2 classroom! I'm excited to have the opportunity to create another Clip Chart so soon, and I hope that my class will like it. I have 1 week before school starts, so with luck I'll have more pictures up here of Clip Chart #2 soon.

As a side note, I finally realised I didn't have the "Follow My Blog" gadget installed- whoops! If you read my blog, please sign up and follow me. There will be cookies! Virtual cookies.

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