Today, being Friday, marked the end of the first full week of school!
This week has been, overall, fantastic! The students were almost always focused on the tasks put before them, most of which involved establishing expectations and routines. There are definitely areas for improvement and we will keep working on them throughout the year. We got a lot of the administrative tasks of the class set up, such as putting together the C.O.Y.O.T.E. homework binders and our math binders.
The C.O.Y.O.T.E. binders are an idea first cobbled together by one of our 2nd grade teachers. The acronym stands for Carefully Organising Your Own Things Every day. (Our building mascot is the coyote, which is why she chose that word in the first place.) The binder contains information about our school, especially the homework policy that was created by teachers and parents last year. We included a teacher-parent communication log and a “Today’s Topics” sheet that the students will use each day to record some of the events of the day. (No student in my class will ever be able to say that they don’t remember what they did in school each day!)
There is a folder for students to keep track of homework that needs to be returned and papers that need to be kept at home after being seen by parents/guardians. The back section of the binder contains our district’s “I Can” statements for progress report items for math and English/language arts, character trait vocabulary terms, and several sheets of lined notebook paper. Some students also have a zipper pencil pouch with at least two sharpened pencils. (I would encourage every student to get one, but I also want to be sensitive to individual family budgets.) I love the C.O.Y.O.T.E. binder concept and think it will really help students keep their papers organised. I have emphasised that each student is responsible for bringing his or her own binder to and from school each day!
Today was the first day the students used their binders, as I sent home a letter of introduction to parents, the first PTA newsletter, and a Box Tops for Education worksheet for families to use as desired. The students’ mail was put into their folders in the binders, and every binder was placed in a backpack, so every parent should receive the mail that was sent home!
And now that the first week is over, I am looking forward to the weekend!