Just like that, summer is over and we've had our first day back with students! I'm excited for a new school year. I love the opportunity in this career to have a blank slate, meet new students and give them new experiences in art.
Here's how today went: I woke up at 5:45 am. I got out of bed at 6 because...snooze button. By 6:15 my hair was done. 6:20, dressed and ready to walk the dog. 6:30 dog is walked and my hair is back to being as flat as could be because....HUMIDITY. Today was GROSS. So much for presentable first day of school hair. I got to school around 7:20 and inside the building was already bustling with activity.
My schedule this year includes first period hall duty, and I teach 3 studio art classes in a row, and then I have my Drawing and Painting class and AP Drawing electives later on in the day. For the first time in 11 years, I surprisingly didn't feel super stressed or nervous because my technology was actually working, I had back up rosters printed up and figured out how to do the attendance on the new E-School platform. I felt prepared.
Starting off this school year with the MacBook that was provided to me by the school made things easier for sure. The past few years, utilizing the iPad for first day items was stressful. In past years I had to upload my rules video to YouTube in order to play it correctly from the iPad, sometimes with slow internet on the first day, it would not go well. This year since the MacBook has a larger storage capacity, I was able to play it directly from there. I show this video to each of my classes, and pause it to go into more detail as needed.
I find that it helps switch things up since most teachers are reading their class rules or doing index cards or something else. I prefer to put together this compilation of silly snapchat videos of myself using iMovie and make a 10 min presentation. Next year I will also probably include a personal biography about myself to let the kids know a little bit more about me, this is also something I can ask students to do now that they'll all have iPads to film with and use iMovie on. The video definitely helps my voice for the first day, but I still always end up feeling like I leave work with a sore throat and end up with laryngitis by Friday.
My other first day items include providing students with a Grade Expectation sheet, which our district utilizes across each school and discipline. It keeps things consistent. It includes the rules, supplies needed and how the class is graded. Parents sign on it so they know what the expectations are. I also ask students to fill out an "about you" survey, I read through these to get to know my students better. I used to ask for parent contact info and all that stuff but I stopped since most things are very up to date on E School and I don't need to accumulate more paper. The grade expectation sheet gets scanned and turned into a class PDF via the Notes app on my iPad, and the About You sheet gets taped into the students portfolios- at the end of the year when they get them back and see what they wrote on day one, they usually are shocked at how different they are already.
New for this year is the addition of a cell phone holder that my colleague brought in, she uses it with her other school and it's been effective. I'm asking my studio art classes to keep their phones in there for the class period so they aren't a distraction. If they keep their phone in there every day for the marking period they get an instant 100 quiz grade added to their average.
I've included a copy of what our grade expectation sheets and what my About You sheet looks like for studio. I hope everyone has a great year ahead! Can't wait to share what's going on in the art room!