Monday, September 10, 2012

"Hurry up and start ..."

We survived the first week! A mere four days of schooling has passed, and what I find fascinating is what my students have already started to ask for (and in some cases, demand). In order of frequency and urgency, here is a list of things my students have requested:

1) Book Exchange

"When does book exchange begin?"
"Can I come after school to get a book?"
"Can you save me THAT one?"
"Why can't book exchange start sooner?"

Actually, I'm not 100% sure why we can't start borrowing books right away - I suspect it has something to do with settling the class lists and including the new students. I'm bending to popular demand and starting book exchange this week, at least for my students in Grades 1-8. (Each kindergarten class has 30+ kids, with many new to the school with no English speaking skills. We're going to take it a bit slower so we instill some firm rules and good habits.) When the new students heard about our credit system and how they can earn the privilege of borrowing large numbers of materials on the same day, their eyes gleamed and I swear some started to salivate.

2) Just Dance Club

Just Dance Club began last year and is a simple club to run. Every Friday at noon, my colleague and I would gather by the back doors and if anyone in the junior grades was interested, they'd follow us in. We'd go to the Dance-Drama Room, where a TV with a Wii was already set up, and we'd all play Just Dance together. It was a drop-in club and we didn't take attendance. It was meant for us to have fun and get a bit of exercise. When kids became too busy and the teachers were too inundated with meetings, we ended the club. Kids want us to expand it to Grade 3s; we'll see if this is doable based on some of the songs we use.

3) Library Club

 My school library is clean right now. Really clean. Of course, this is because we haven't begun book exchange and I spent the week before school started cleaning it up. My dedicated high school volunteer came in this week and was so desperate to work that we began tackling the Scrapbook Club supply bins and the file cabinets in my office - so now at least my office looks like it usually does.  He's not the only one keen to shelve books. Several students have asked me when I'll make the application forms available. It's a pretty rigorous process and not all applicants are accepted but many people, especially Grade 4s who are in their first year of eligibility, are eager to try their chances.

4) Minecraft Club

Intermediate students don't gush and they don't beg, so when they make a request, even if it's half-whispered and as an aside as they're leaving the library, I need to pay attention. I've had a couple of these "so, uh, when's Minecraft Club startin' Miss?" queries already. Combined with the "We get to be in it again next year, right?" and "WHAAAT? Whaddaya mean we might not be in it?" comments from the late spring, I know that there will be a large list of interested players for this popular club. I hope the TDSB Minecraft server will be ready for us to use soon.

Do you notice a pattern to these requests? No one is asking me when I'll start giving homework. These are the activities that mean the most to the students. The specter of "work to rule" may be on the horizon and I hope things settle down before it reaches that point, because in a work-to-rule scenario, clubs and teams are not supposed to be available (am I right?) and this will disappoint both me and the kids. Hurry up and start the good stuff, Mz. Molly!

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