Monday, September 7, 2015

The First Week with Team EPIC!!!

Well the first week finally arrived and do I dare say it was the best first week ever?!  As Carrie mentioned, our kindergarten trio has split up, and although we no longer teach kindergarten as a team it is WONDERFUL to have these ladies on my side to celebrate our successes and to figure out our failures.  Fortunately for me this first week was full of successes.  I am teaching in a 4th and 5th grade multi-age, personalized learning classroom with the talented Hannah Barry.  Most of our 4th graders have experience with personalize learning as they had Hannah last year, while most of our 5th graders have little to no experience with personalized learning.

After a summer full of classroom renovations and planning the kiddos finally arrived with their families on Monday night for our open house.  We had great responses!  I couldn't even count the number of times I heard, "wow, I wish I had this when I was in school!"  Last year we tried to educate families throughout the year about personalized learning and what multi-age means at our school, so luckily for us most of our families knew what their child was going to be a part of.  For our 4th and 5th graders we only had a few families that were new to the school who were completely blown away by the classroom and multi-age.  Hannah and I had decided to create stations for the families to take part in and therefore we were able to meet with each family as they came into the room and were able to explain our room and personalized learning, we were also able to answer any questions they might have.  The first family that I talked to who did not know that their daughter was a part of a multi-age class had many questions.  My immediate thought was oh no, how are they going to respond.  By the end of our little mini question and answer session they were one of those many families that said, "wow, thats cool, I wish I would have had this."  Overall it was a great night and we were even more excited to start our year on Tuesday morning!

For the first week we decided our most important task was building our relationships as a team.  We did a lot of getting to know and understand you activities along with team building activities.  We decided as a group on a team name, EPIC, and then had our kiddos design a logo.
Our learners created learner profiles and then linked them to their individual Google site which they will use to better understand themselves and how they learn best.  This coming week we will have our first goal setting conferences where we will meet with each individual learner to discuss their goals for the year and then to set their first goals we will be working toward.

Our week was full of many other activities but what stands out most to me is the reactions and interactions we had.  As an educator my goal is always to make learning exciting and to create an environment where each child feels safe, important, and successful.  This week was so rewarding as I continuously saw and heard kids and parents excited for school.  I saw our 4th and 5th graders working together, encouraging others, and working out conflicts together.  I am not saying that we didn't have our fair share of challenges, but what I am saying is that each day at least 5 times a day we looked at each other and said, "this is amazing!"