Our first week of school is only 3 day; thank God.  This year offers new opportunities; I am teaching one section of 8th Grade Social Studies under the We the People Civic Education program, I have a student teacher for the first time in a LONG time (but it is someone that I know), and my six 7th grade sections are squished into five sections.

2014-08-15 12.59.52I was motivated to start a We the People team to our FJH after traveling with the Fishers High School We the People team to Washington DC to compete in Nationals.  It was not without some challenges; establishing a program, finding kids, getting approval, making schedules work; you know just a few challenges.  Thankfully, our building is led by Crystal Thorpe and opportunities for kids are always encouraged.  Jackie Wolf, our guidance director, made the schedules work and the BFM helped recruit and identify kids.  In the end 31 kids took the challenge.  Our first week was about setting the tone; we played, we got to know each other, and we got ready for the next grueling month of building a foundation.

2014-08-14 08.47.12I am excited to have student teacher; not because I like giving up my students, it has everything to do with WHO is my student teacher.  Rachel came through our building and she was in NJHS, a student-athlete in our building, a 3-year Camp Tecumseh counselor, and my cadet teacher during her senior year.  She burns to be a great teacher.  We will work on her journey of honing the craft and art of teaching.  She also gets the added benefit of having me as her classroom aide in a couple periods where our kids need a little more classroom support.

2014-08-16 09.33.37All my Summer Lions were recognized and they have their own place in my classroom.  Thanks to Dave Broviak for helping teach me how to make buttons.  In all 17 kids took the challenge; which was terrific for the first year of the idea.

2014-07-12 17.29.42This year is also about technology.  I have added Remind to both of my courses, Edmodo into my 8th grade class, and I built a green screen (Chinese lanterns are not pictured; they provide diffused light) to create “enhanced” classroom videos.  I am also looking into writing a grant to create a Google Chromebook lab for my We the People class as we use Google Docs to collaborate on the writing of papers.

2014-08-16 22.46.50I was glad to finish my summer challenge of writing 30 “Summer of Thanks”; it was a lot of writing, but worth it.  I find myself wanting to write more of them because of the people that I did not thank; like Steve Baney, Brent Farrell, Mike Beresford, Tom Quellhorst, Robert Heinlein, and a couple others.

2014-08-12 17.13.07The first week was filled with challenges associated with the start of the school year; anxious parents and kids, a little drama, and more than a few stuck lockers.  But I end this week with hope and optimism; now on to our first full week.