Saturday, September 21, 2013

Scenes from my room

I transferred positions from Wood River High School to Silver Creek High School (a.k.a. The Alternative School) as their new science teacher this year.  Consequently, I have been very busy unpacking, moving, designing a new website using Edline, ordering, creating a curriculum for three new classes, and learning the ropes as the new kid on the block.  The kids are tough, but respectful and I have improved as a teacher in the few weeks here.  Silver Creek High School recently received a five star rating and accreditation this past year and the faculty and staff are very caring and nurturing.  Our school board decided the school should be more autonomous and begin severing ties with the main high school, WRHS.  I will still keep some ties to the students so I can keep funneling students into chess, however.

The chess class is available to both the SCHS and WRHS students, which get to travel to SCHS, rather than the other way around.  Previously, students would have to take science at WRHS or on Idaho Digital Learning Academy (on-line science with no lab component).  Needless to say, students were not very successful in either venue.  It made perfect sense to me - provide the kids with a highly differentiated, skill-based, hands-on science class to breed some success and build confidence.  My new course load includes Botany (see the green house in the background of the picture?), Biology, Forensic Science, Environmental Science, and Chess.  I also adopted a "Leveling Up" concept for curriculum organization and it is successful, so far.  My renewed enthusiasm is very clear to my colleagues at my previous location.  I do miss visiting my wife's classroom, however, and I already miss some of the familiar and friendly faces of some of my colleagues and students.  The grind at the main high school with the cliques among the faculty, the frantic pace of meeting change with change, and the lack of appreciation or acknowledgement will not be missed.

I now reside at a small school, with three other faculty, a para-professional, a get-the-job done secretary, and an outstanding Principle that visits my room every day with a pleasant smile and a understanding.  Principle Mike Glenn was a former colleague at WRHS that taught Social Studies (an avid civil war buff) with an open perspective and a whole-hearted love of children.  He used to visit my classroom at WRHS and steal a coffee, a joke, and a laugh.  I missed him when he became an administrator at SCHS.  He is the same and better, and I am his underling now.

When the maintenance crew met with me last spring to discuss the room modifications to create a science room, I quietly asked the project director if they could make a chess board with tile.  He excitedly said, "absolutely."  And I now have the best looking floor in the district!  When I finally unpack the giant chess pieces, the kids will probably be fighting to play on the floor.  I picked a red boarder with black and white squares (of course) to convey the classic and royal nature of the game.   My new digs is sweet and look for some great games from these unique and creative students!  (intentional grammar violation).

Real Weatherly and Luke Moses 

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