Friday, August 28, 2015

Week 1: Here in an instant, gone in a flash!

WOW!!! What a great first week of school I had here at Laguna. I met so many amazing students and am excited for this school year. This year, I'm not only lucky enough to teach four seventh grade English classes, but I'm also lucky that I get to teach the AVID class for seventh grade as well.

My students started their first week as seventh graders with a tour of the campus, stopping at eight different locations to hear about Laguna Middle School in a nutshell. I really love the first-day tours because I know how the incoming seventh graders feel. Last year, I was just like them and new to the school. Touring the campus and hearing about the different aspects of middle school life with my homebase class really calmed my nerves and made me excited to be a Lancer. I hope that all of the new seventh graders felt the same way.

On Tuesday, my classes had their first informal presentation where they met one of their neighbors and then introduced each other to the class. I learned a lot of cool things about my students from sports and hobbies to travel and family. What a great way to get some talking in early!

Wednesday was our "Syllabus Speed Dating" day where I had the students get into "speed dating" rows to comb and decipher the syllabus. I mean, we could have listened to me drone on and on about the syllabus and class policies, but I think that, combined with the rising heat outside, would have put my classes straight to sleep. The students really enjoyed "Speed Dating" because they not only got to take control of their learning, but they also got to meet new people in class through formal and informal conversation. We only got halfway through the syllabus, so we'll be "speed dating" again on Monday.

Thursday and Friday were spent in the library with Mrs. Schwoerer; the English department each gets two days talking about the library and book check out (Thursday) as well as the wonderful world of technology. Mrs. Schwoerer generously donates her time and library to introduce our new students to how the Laguna library works and does an amazing job.  When the students were asked to check out books for KBAR, Mrs. Schwoerer brought up an amazing point: choosing a book is making an investment. If you choose a book you like, you've made a good investment and you'll enjoy reading (the whole point of KBAR). Make a bad or hasty investment, and the joy of reading disappears with wasted time. Wow!

Friday was spent back in the library, but this time in the air-conditioned computer lab. Talk about perfect timing!!! In the lab, students were introduced to the Google platform, which most teachers on campus will be utilizing this year. I love the Google platform and was impressed with how much background knowledge my students already had (shout out to our amazing elementary teachers). With this knowledge, we'll be blogging, building websites, collaborating online, and turning in our assignments digitally. I'm excited to teach my students this technology and to learn just as much from them.

This has been such a great week! I'm thrilled to be a part of my students middle school years and I hope they enjoy the year as much as I know I will. I am incredibly lucky to be a part of such an amazing community. I look forward to a great school year!!!

Don't forget to be awesome!!!
Kevin Laffin

Thursday, August 20, 2015

And so begins the 2015-2016 school year!

Hello Lancers! Welcome to Mr. Laffin's class, Laguna, and the 2015-16 school year!

One of my goals this year is to get my students blogging so I figured I'd give it a try and learn something in the process.

Stay tuned for updates!