Thursday, September 10, 2009
Class Day Today....
Today our private home schooling group, Heritage Christian School, hosted one of their half dozen co-ops across San Diego County: East County II. We will meet at a large church eighteen times from now until June, an average of two Thursdays per month. Moms help set up, clean up, help with lunch, or be on a teaching team for two of the three periods. We arrived at 9:30 AM for a twenty-minute Opening with the whole school, but almost every other Class Day we have two Openings, one for elementary kids and another for junior/senior high students. First period started at ten in the morning and lasted 50 minutes; second period began at 11 and lunch at noon until 12:30 when third period started. At 1:20 we started cleaning our third period rooms, and at 1:30 Class Day was finished. It sounds a great deal less exhausting that it really is.
We first started Class Day in 1997 with a Kindergartner, a preschooler, and an infant. I was helping the founder of Heritage Christian teach a writing course for grades 7-12. I had to slip down to the nursery halfway through the two-hour class to nurse J. T enjoyed the pre-school and E felt so grown-up in Kindergarten. This year E is a senior taking Oral Interpretation/Theatre, Choir, and American Goverment/Economics. Last byear during lunch and after third period she has been selling her jewelry quite successfully and hopes to continue selling her work. T as a freshman and J in junior high are taking the same classes: Basketball/Volleyball, Chess, and Basketball/Volleyball. B in 4th just shifted classes yesterday as a space opened up in his first choice class, so now he is ecstatic, taking the Boys Adventure Class, Cooking, and PE. They have been looking forward to a new year of Class Day, and we managed to actually survive it.
I have been looking forward to it also, in a strange way. I taught the 4th-6th grade Poetry/Research Class first period, was free second period, and taught my usual 10th-12th grade college prep expository writing class, Intermediate Writing third period. I love teaching writing courses, and teaching poetry is my real passion, so I enjoyed being back in front of the whiteboards, dry erase markers in hand, too, although prepping a new class and a new age group was challenging. This is my youngest Class Day class ever; 7th grade is the youngest I've taught so far. It was a bit strange to have 14 ten-year-olds staring at me as we were cramped into a room far too small, but they enjoyed the poems I read to them and were excited about choosing a poet for their semester-long Poet Project.
I have a couple of children's poetry books I took along to read poems from: The Children's Classic Poetry Collection and my favorite poetry book, Talking Like the Rain, edited by X.J. Kennedy. I only had time to read from the latter, but the kids really liked the poem and interacted with them well, laughing when they "got" them and asking good questions when they didn't. I felt quite encouraged by the kids ... this class may actually work out.
I'm going to love the Intermediate Writing class as usual. Some really great kids are in there, kids who like writing and some kids who don't. But that's okay. We're already building a solid rapport and are going to be great partners in the writing process.
It's going to be a good year. A very good year.