Just finished my first week with STUDENTS...and it ended MUCH better than it started...thanks to several of you who offered some good suggestions for my "mixed level classes".
My problem was that for the first time ever, they put beginning students in with advanced students and I felt "pulled in all directions" with many of them coming in the door asking questions all at once and me not knowing what direction to go in first. I have to have a routine at the beginning of class. Several of you have asked for information that was sent to me by others...but no one's problem was really similar to mine.
After a long night of thinking on Wednesday...I came to a solution that seems to be working. What I did was to give ALL students (regardless of level) a warm-up kind of drawing assignment for them to start on as SOON as they walked in the door. These assignments will be ones that could last for 15 to 20 minutes or more. I will have them on the overhead EVERY day. The first one was to design a CD cover for their favorite music or band. I gave them blank CD covers to draw around. They really got into it...and some even added color!
That way, while they are drawing...I can get myself headed in the right direction with them, take the roll, and then begin answering questions, one by one...instead of all of them coming to me at one time. Then, I can check with the advanced students and make sure they're on the right track for the day or start them on a new assignment. I am giving them their assignments in writing so they can't later tell me I didn't tell them something.
Then I have the rest of the period for the beginning students. Also, I can step from one room to the other and check on all of them. Lucky for me, I have two large rooms (old shop room), an office, two storage rooms, and a balcony that I can use for storing large items or items we don't use all of the time.
Another problem I had...was the custodians moved all of my stuff during the summer and crammed it in both supply rooms and stacked up to the ceiling..and after asking them to move it...I finally gave up...and had some students do that on Friday. I still haven't found everything yet. When I left school in the spring, I had everything ready to begin for the new year.
I'm ready for a new week tomorrow. Good luck to all of you who have students coming this week!
Like Linda, we start tomorrow. We had four days last week for meetings (oh, yeah!) and getting-ready-in-our-rooms. All three photocopiers quit by Friday afternoon--students had their schedules, teachers didn't have theirs, so we're not sure who is getting who, but it will work out.
There's got to be a better way, though. Any ideas on how we can make start of school easier on all of us? My vote is to get operating machinery!