Every single thing that a student touches in my class

I stand outside my open door as students trickle in. I have my clipboard, and I mark attendance using a pencil. A few students opt to fist-bump me. They go inside to find their seat.

I realize that I made copies of a handout for the day and the copies collated but did not staple. I ask one of the first students who arrive if they would so kindly grab the stapler and staple every two pages together, so that each student will get both pages. They happily oblige.

The bell rings, and I grab a box of small-pack cheese crackers and stand at the front of the room. Students take out their Mary Jackson Dollars, and give me three if they would like to purchase a cheese cracker pack and eat it during class. One student buys a pencil from me for one MJ. Another student buys a mechanical pencil from me for five MJ. Three other students don’t have pencils in class, but they don’t want to buy new ones, so they go to the supplies desk at the front of the room and pull out the drawer of lost and found writing utensils and grab one. Before they go back to their seat, they help themselves to some lotion from the communal bottle on this supplies desk. Another student gets a pencil from their neighbor. Another student asks for a bandage, which I grab from one of the drawers and hand to them. My phone timer rings after five minutes, and I walk over to close the classroom door, and put the box of cheese crackers away.

Students have two minutes to complete the warm up on the board. It’s a Which One Doesn’t Belong? I walk around during these two minutes and write a quick piece of feedback on each student’s warm-up paper. Two students did not retrieve their binder from the boxes in the back of the classroom when they walked in. One of the students gets up and goes to get both their binder and their friend’s binder and comes back, handing off one to their friend. One student wasn’t here yesterday, so they don’t have the warm-up paper for the week. They go to the communal storage bins for this class and find the warm-up paper for the week and return to the seat. I hand a whiteboard marker to three students who had separately made a justification for why A, B, and D don’t belong. They know this means to go to the whiteboard and write their justification for the class to see. I take their markers back before they return to their seats. I call the class to whole-group attention. We make a justification for C, which I write on the board with one of the markers, and I start to describe our first activity.

One student walks in late. Because the door is closed, the student opens the door from the outside and leaves it open. I ask another student close to the door to close the door. While students speak I have one student who is the teacher helper for the day keep track of participation points / MJs earned on my clipboard using my pencil, which I had just used to mark students present at the door. The student who stapled the handouts together now walks around and passes them to all the students. I hand a plastic shoebox of compasses to one student, a stack of rulers to another student, and a box of patty paper to a third student, and they pass out all the materials for today’s lesson. While we are completing the first activity, I circulate and help students use the compass and fold the patty paper. Students help each other with the compass. They switch patty papers at some point and help each other make sure they completed the construction correctly.

The next activity takes place at the group whiteboards. Students move to their designated vertical whiteboard in the room, and grab one of four markers stationed at the whiteboard. They point to the problem they are doing that’s attached to the whiteboard, while discussing. One of the problems falls to the ground, and they reattach it to the putty that’s sitting there. One student makes a mistake and asks the other student to hand them the rag to wipe off their work. I realize that we need calculators for this activity, so I run around and hand each group four calculators from the yellow bins that hold my class set. After most teams have finished working, I have the teams rotate one whiteboard over and give feedback by writing on the board next to the work from the other team. Then everyone returns to their original whiteboard and sees the feedback they received. While this is happening, I pick up the compasses and rulers sitting on students’ desks. I pass back a few quizzes for students who were absent yesterday and did not get them back. Students wipe off their whiteboards, and leave their calculators and markers at their whiteboards in two nice piles. They return to their seats.

While students were at their whiteboards, a student asked to go to the bathroom. I said yes, they may leave, and they walked to the front of the room, signed out on the clipboard using the pen that’s attached to it on a string, and took the bathroom pass lanyard off the wall, and put it in their pocket. When that student returned, a student who was waiting for them, signed out, and took the same lanyard.

At students’ seats whole-group, I ask for a student scribe to come to the board and write down students’ reflections on the whiteboard activity, handing them a marker. I high-five this student to thank them as they return to their seat after the discussion.

It’s time to transition to our restorative circle to close out class. Each student grabs their chair and pulls it into a circle in the back of the room. Some students use this time to put away their binders in the communal boxes in the back. Some students arrive to the circle a little later than others, so students have to shuffle their chairs to the left and right to help others fit into the circle. I hold today’s talking piece and reiterate the norms and ask the first question. I pass the talking piece around. Each student hands the piece to the next student, regardless of whether they say anything. We pass the talking piece around the circle three times, and my alarm goes off to remind me to clean up before we leave. Students get up to put their chairs back to their desks and return their binders to the back of the room. A few students who came in late ask if they can buy their cheese crackers for the day at this point. More MJs exchanged for a pack of cheese crackers.

The bell rings. The first student to the door opens it, and the rest exit after them. I collect the pencils left behind and put them in my lost-and-found drawer. I go around and collect my calculators back up and put them back into their bins. I collect the worksheets the students left on their desks.

Published by Xi Yu

Twitter: @xyu119

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