We've just finished our first FULL week of school. I figured we were due for a discussion of how it's going. I have 4 Algebra Honors classes, and a couple of rotating, once a cycle Math SAT prep classes. I'm enjoying my kids this year. I'm still struggling with all the names. Yesterday I gave them a worksheet to work on (operations with integers) while I stared them down and tried to memorize their names. (Though I wish I had thought of that in time for first period!!) By the end of my 3 later clases, I was able to walk away from the seating chart and name everyone by first name. I think that some of the quieter kids were surprised that I knew their names as well as the ones who answer more often. I told them that I might get confused in the hallway, and that I wasn't promising I would get them right on Monday, but for this brief shining moment, I knew them all. It's something I'm really not good at, but I realize how vital it is for every kid to know that I recognize him or her as an individual identiy. So I'm working on it... I'll do it again Tuesday as they take their first test. In terms of behavior, I haven't had anything close to an issue. They're a delightful group of kids. My Junior SAT classes tend to know me, so they're kind enough to laugh at my jokes. And they already realize that I know my stuff, so that class will once again be fun to teach. I have a Senior study hall, composed of all Honors kids half the time, with an additional group of the lowest level Seniors on alternating days( and the lone 7th grader in with the Honors kids.) They've also been a delight. (One kid complained yesterday that he was hot. I agreed that "I imagine all the young women think so." They laughed, and I made some lifelong friends with that comment. I'm going to enjoy them.) I think my biggest challenge for this year will be continuing to find ways to keep the material fresh for my Algebra kids. I do want to incorporate videos for homework once or twice a week... not a total "flip" but more of a "slow rollover." I'm working on finding resources. They were thrilled when I assigned a Cyberchase episode on Wednesday night. (It was 9/11, and I wasn't sure what was going on at home. I know that several have dads who are FDNY. So I was going for light hearted. And it actually did involve the topic I was teaching Thursday, though on a very elementary level.) Over the summer, when my prep was changed from Geometry to Algebra, I went online and found a couple of teachers who had "flipped" their Algebra classes. Both were kind enough to get back to me with some suggestions... I still have to go through that stuff. The other day, in mind-shattering hot humidity, I gave them group work to do.... with one caveat. I told them they HAD to work with someone they didn't know last year. (Up to 2/3 of some classes were in our school last year. I told them that I didn't want it to be "US' and "them"--- there was no more "them." It hasn't been an issue, but I wanted to address it anyway.) So they made some new friends, and didn't have to listen to me in the heat. All I could think of was the teacher in Peanuts... waaah, waaah waah... I'm someone who adores hot weather, but Wednesday had to have been one of the top 5 worst ever teaching days. I want to find topical, fun, interesting ways of supplementing what's in the textbook. I haven't taught Algebra in a couple of years, so I don't have anything from last year. NHS started off with a huge gaffe-- I got the date wrong for an assignment. I think (and hope and pray) it's all settled. The kids involved were very understanding, and we should be good to go. We have inductions in 2 weeks, so at that point I'll have a full compliment of about 600 kids to assign. Since I already know who will be inducted, I want to spend some time this weekend doing the year's scheduling. So.... how's it going for you?