Well, Ben went on another cross-country adventure. I'll let him tell the story as soon as he can, but this picture is a little sneak peek.
We're getting very busy now that school is fully back in swing. It is very challenging to prepare 5 different courses each day. Even though I have 7th-11th grade English separated into just two class periods, all 5 grade levels are doing their own separate grade level's literature, writing, grammar, etc. When we started this "one room schoolhouse" model, I think the intent was to teach the 7-8th graders the same things, and the 9th-11th graders the same thing (just 2 lessons each day), but I felt strongly that it was best for the kids to continue doing all that they were supposed to learn for their specific grade. For instance, the 9th graders are supposed to read Romeo & Juliet. Practically all 9th graders read R & J. I remember reading it in Mr. Patterson's class vividly. So, if I throw the 9th graders in with the 10th and 11th graders, and we read something higher-level, the Freshmen will skip R & J, possibly never reading it! I can't have that.
So I'm struggling to teach 5 classes at once through a rotational system: From 11-12 am I have the 7th and 8th graders, and each day one grade level will do in-class silent reading while the other is having a class discussion with me in another area, and then the next day they switch. Now it all hangs on whether the kids are mature enough to read silently while I discuss with the other half.... we'll see. Today's the first day of the rotation plan.
Yesterday in chapel we played a really fun "beach babe vs surfer dude vs wave" game (spin-off of rock/paper/scissors or gorilla/man/gun). The kids were laughing, smiling, engaged.... it was a joy to watch. Corrigan, our fellow teacher, said later that that silly game might've been the most spiritually significant, "life-bringing" thing we did yesterday.
"If you tie, you die!". Championship round.
Corrigan plays a game with some seniors before lunch. He's teaching them as a group for all subjects except math- its a really fascinating project. They're studying geography and cooking together as one elective. This falls under the category of "Things you can do when you have 5 seniors".
With so few students (we're at about 65 PreK through 12th) we're really getting to know them very closely. Students and teachers eat lunch together more now than before the quake. I had a college talk with the girl in the pink - she's looking for strong science programs in Georgia or Florida. The boy next to her in black borrowed my copy of Screwtape Letters over the weekend. They're such great kids.
What a wonderful and strange road we're walking down.