Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Teaching Seventh graders is intense!

Last year was my first year dealing with the end of the year with seventh graders, the last year in our elementary system.  I mean I had taught them creative writing and French but hadn't been a grade seven classroom teacher.  One reason being that I didn't want to deal with all this transition "stuff".  I also loved teaching grade six.  I loved the Social Studies.  I could handle the math.  I just loved the age level-the beginnings of thinking more widely and the last year of real childhood.  Strangely when I went job hunting, after being a consultant, there were a lot of six/seven splits (no one usually wants a split of course and many people don't want grade seven).

Those of you who have followed my blog knew that it was quite a year but having ten grade sixes kept the energy a bit different plus I only had five girls of my 17 grade sevens so that made an energy difference as well.

This year I have a straight seven with 12 girls and 17 boys.  And it's been interesting.  And those 12 girls pack a punch!  They speak to Rotary clubs, they go on the radio.  They run assemblies.  They build schools in India...  Last year when it came time for our Grade Seven Assembly, I couldn't quite imagine the class doing valedictorian speeches.  The ones who liked to write hated speaking out loud.  I ended up using all their writing to create a  choral reading of everything and everyone they wanted to thank and they all did it together in the assembly.  This year they are all writing speeches and this afternoon we are going to hear them and choose who will speak for the class.  And as I write this I am getting an idea of another choral poem... hmm...

There is so much energy to contain.  I have to say I love my first periods when they actually get lost in their reading and I do get some peace!  In all my frustrations at times, I can assure you that this is a class that loves to read.  But this time of the year there is a lot of emotion as these kids get ready to leave their small elementary school (many of been here since kindergarten) to go off to high school.  Our grade sevens are going to 11 different high schools-some will be the only one of their friends going to their new schools so that it's both scary and exciting.  At this age your friends are everything so it isn't easy although they are wanting to go to the next step.

Yesterday they talked about their favorite places at the school and went there for a few minutes and wrote and drew about them.  This is my last "teaching day" this week.  Tomorrow we are off to Playland and Friday downtown for a graduation lunch and wander (well okay, try wandering with 53 kids).

Monday afternoon we had a great time with one of my students' dads who did print making with them.   Yesterday after school many were involved in a flash mob with their Me to We club at a Metrotown .  We have all been fascinated with the flash mob phenomenon so that they loved finally getting to do this.  It is so hard for me to imagine our school without our wonderful teacher-librarian who once again made magic happen.

This is kind of my meditation before I go off to school this morning...

1 comment:

K.Sidhu said...

Meredyth I must say, the grade seven speeches were fantastic to read. They were so thoughtful, and it was clear the students spent a lot of time to put those speeches together. The yearbook was also amazing! It is so great to see the grade seveners flourish in their writing, using different mediums. Through the "prezzies" online, the personalized yearbook pages, and finally the writing posted all around the school. It was great to see how students of all ages would walk around the school reading the speeches that were posted. I think you were more than ready to take on GRADE 7!!!