Slice of Life: Begin at the Start (again)

Today will be Day Three. Already. We had students for two days, then a long weekend, and now a short week. In some ways, it’s a perfect way to start the new school year, with a slow roll forward.

It’s too early to get a good feel for this crew of sixth graders, but they seem a bit lively, a bit more social for the start of the year than usual, and a little less focused on instructions. I’ll need remind myself to slow down a bit, although we had great success the other day with activating all 70-plus Google accounts, getting them into Google Classroom spaces and beginning to work on a basic slideshow. There were quite a few steps to the process. Everyone is in! (high five)

I mostly have the names of my homeroom students down, and now need to begin to learn the other three class full of student names — this is always a challenge at the start of the year, but I find being systemic about it helps. Names are important. The sooner I have that down, the better I can begin to understand each student as a person.

This week, we’ll begin to talk about stories, and I will be reading aloud Rikki Tikki Tavi as a means to frame discussions around literary elements, as well as just letting them listen (and sketchnote ideas) to a story with a low bar entry point — my own reading, and our group discussions.

Over the weekend, I started to have a chat with a National Writing Project colleague from the West Coast who asked if we could connect classrooms this year for some projects, and I immediately began to think about the Write Out project for the National Day on Writing. I am hoping their classes and my classes can share images and stories of the spaces where they live, and get to know both sides of the country a bit.

It’s going to be a great year ….

Peace (in the classroom),


  1. It sounds like you have lots of great thinking here to push your work forward and names are so important…even with a bigger caseload – we had fun reading different name stories and thinking about how e got them and where they come from.

  2. I love Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and that you’re starting off with stories. I wonder what surprises await! An idea about starting again has been bubbling in my brain; I need to start pouring it out and dabbling in it to see what it means. Here’s to discoveries all around!

  3. Kevin, you seem well-prepared to start the year off by building relationships and having your students listen to a great story. Stories connect one to another. In my grad class this summer, we created what I call an interactive digital journal with google slides. Each of the secondary teachers left with the idea that they would have their students create them. The goal was to get the teachers comfortable with a tech integration to writing. Best of luck with your lively group.

  4. What a great idea, jumping into their Google accounts and getting them involved in a hands-on project right away! This librarian loves the inclusion of a classic story, too. Sounds like the year is off to a wonderful start!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *