As we know, this marks the first week of classes for the District’s public schools. And as Frazier O’Leary (a long-time English teacher at Cardozo Senior High) explained in the Washington Post: “The first week of school is probably the most important. It sets a tone.” Moreover:
To kids, this day might seem like a rapid-fire series of introductions and ice-breakers. But really, it’s about teaching routines — for entering the classroom, storing backpacks, going to the bathroom, moving around the room, turning in homework, joining in group discussions, using shared markers and glue sticks — that the kids will soon do automatically, as if breathing.
“These systems are not meant to limit them — they’re just to help them understand how to navigate their world, navigate the classroom,” Harrod said. “This way all they have to focus on is learning …”
And as we discussed a year ago at this time, this first day of routines (from packing a backpack to planning homework) can pose particular challenges for low-income students and their families. So do check out our 2011 list of Catalogue nonprofits that assist local students with their essential back-to-school needs! That list can be found right here, plus we have some important 2012 “wish list” additions: