The first week of school is behind me. Four days. Twenty-two homeroom students. Eighty-six history students. I’m probably at 70 % for name recognition.
Last year, my expectations going into the school year were really low. I was amazed that sixth graders could think of things besides snacks (still probably one of their favorite muses), write in cursive, and write in complete sentences. This year, I know what sixth graders are capable of. This is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I have the knowledge that those green gatorade water bottles will squirt out a puff of mist if squeezed in the right way. It took me about half the school year to figure out how distracting these were. At the same time, I’m not as amazed or appreciative of their genuinely good behavior. I’ve gotten spoiled, and now when there are attention issues I’m much less forgiving than I was last year.
This year I decided that I would campaign for healthy snacks. Do I love healthy snacks? Not particularly. But do I relish the idea of students downing potato chips and funjuns at 10 am. No, I do not. So healthy snacks. The odd thing is, that in this case, the students love being policed. By the end of this week they were competing to out-healthy each other. Yesterday a student was gnawing on a wedge of raw red cabbage. No dressing or seasoning. Just raw cabbage. A student ate popcorn without salt or butter. Just dry popcorn first Thanksgiving style. Raw potatoes have also made an appearance. This is what I love about teaching sixth grade.
At this stage in the game they also carry out name tags to prop on their desks so I can desperately try to learn names. Most of have embellished their name tags. They draw mini Bibles or crosses or other religious symbols. This is Colorado Springs, after all. My favorites so far have been two students in my second history block. One student was so into designing his name tag that he completely forgot his name. There’s a minute scrawl in the bottom of the corner. Now when I see this student I think of the battle drawn on the name tag, but can never remember his name. My other favorite has a name and legos. Not legos built as anything. Not lego people. Just legos in their purest form.
We’re also learning French this year. Or at least some French words. It was another challenge. Learn french words and earn the privilege to free draw in study hall after all homework is completed. And this privilege lasts a week before you have to learn more French words. Sadly, I did not make these rules. They came up with the whole thing themselves.
So year two has a different flavor already. If last year was cotton candy (all sweetness and light) maybe this year is split pea soup (which I love, but is very different than cotton candy).