First Week of School

It’s the end of the First Week of School, always a test of nerve for both students and teacher. Leaving behind our lazy habits of summer and trying to resist late-night Olympic viewing, we try to get going again. Last year’s fifth graders have become the sixth grade class leaders. Last year’s fourth graders are experienced fifth graders now. New fourth graders come timidly into our midst. As the teacher, I introduce activities designed to ignite interests and generate enthusiasm: pictures of Olympic champions scattered strategically across the Map of the World, a handwork project that invites the boys to sew soldiers’ haversacks, color wheel designs that made use of new colored pencils, a group lesson that generates lists of things to learn in the categories of Art and Science and Mathematics and Geography, all written neatly in new “Language Arts” journals with brand new pencils. I tell the students that this week is “On Your Mark,” next week will be “Get Ready,” and then on September 1st, after the three-day Labor Day holiday, we will be ready to “GO!”

At the end of the day in the Teacher Handbook I find a calendar of “Assessment Events” and learn that the first Benchmark Assessments will be given the week of September 1st – September 5. Thus begins the contest between teaching and testing.

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