I spent my first day at my new school – Eisenhower Middle in KCK. This past Thursday, I arrived in a rush of kids, with 3 buses unloading around me as I walked up to the door. We stood in line together, and as I looked at all of the new faces, I wondered which ones I would get to meet. It turns out, I met all of them.
Well, not formally. We had a tornado drill in the afternoon, so I was introduced to the hands, hair, and sneakers of approximately 68% of them. The rest (i.e., all of the 8th graders in earth science), I got to meet in person. Six full classes every time I go. This will be a welcome difference from last year, when the block schedule meant that I only got to see half the kids every other week. I’m hoping the added visits this year will help me connect more quickly.
In the big picture, I’m also excited about a lot of other things. First, I get to work with a teacher (Mrs. Loeffler) who wants to build on the collaborative water science projects that we both worked on last year. Second, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to carry some aspects of the earth science class into the math class and vice versa. Hopefully the added context will increase students’ understanding of both the science and the math they’ll be learning. And, I’m very excited about the positive reinforcement the kids are getting, not just in this classroom, but from the other teachers and the administration as well.
I should also say that I really like Mrs. Loeffler’s room. I mean, I really like it. Sure, it has pictures and posters and rocks and chairs and windows and lights and doors and air conditioning (woo hoo), but it also has dispersed tables, periodically changing seat assignments, and twin projectors facing opposite walls so that everybody can see regardless of where they are in the room. Twin projectors, how cool is that?!
Now, you may be concerned that this sort of seating arrangement could be awkward, even difficult. You may be right. Still, it works. “How would I know where to sit?” you wonder. “How could this possibly make sense?” To assuage your fears, imagine if you will the following scene, which was entirely fabricated by me just now:
You: So, where’s my seat?
Me: Did you see the projectors?
You: Uh… yeah.
Me: Your sneakers look really familiar.
You: Ok. <roll eyes> Umm… where do I sit?
Me: What’s that? Huh? Where’s your seat? Don’t know where to sit? How about right here in the center of learning! BAM!
What, too much?? I told you I was excited.