“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. There is no thunder, no relieving rain. These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things…”
This is the beginning paragraph of Natalie Babbitt’s book Tuck Everlasting and seems to come to the forefront of my mind every August 1st. When I was a classroom teacher, it was the time for me to start preparing my class for the new school year. August is the time that “people (especially teachers) are led to do things”…
Last month, it was my hope to lead people to reflect on the past year in my blog called “JULY! A Time to Reflect on Practice”. This month it is my hope to lead people to use August as a proactive time to plan and prepare for the new school year. I was thinking similarly in last year’s August OCM-RC blog post when I wrote “Planning for a Successful Year…Give Yourself a Gift”. In this blog I tried to lead people to give a gift to self by using the month before school to plan out the first six weeks of school. This year I am doing the same but encouraging Responsive Classroom teachers to check out the newly revised version of the Responsive Classroom Classic The First Six Weeks of School, now in its second edition.
In this new edition you will find:
- Streamlined format for easier navigation, featuring a separate chapter for the crucial first day of school
- Each week organized into 3 new sections:
- Flow of the Day
- Teaching Academics
- Teaching Discipline
- Concise information about key Responsive Classroom practices used in the book
- Tips for special situations (new student, substitute teacher, field trip, indoor recess)
Being “led to do something” in August, like planning out the first six weeks of school, is truly a gift you give yourself and also your students. It allows you to be truly present those first weeks of school to establish a positive learning community that is effectively managed, developmentally appropriate and filled with engaging and joyful academics.
OCM BOCES – Staff Development Specialist
Certified Responsive Classroom® Trainer by the Center for Responsive Schools (Developers of the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching and learning)