I had two different classroom experiences today.
My first was with my own kids. I was particularly pleased with the way the lesson turned out. On Friday, I had provided each student with an index card that had the name of something written on it. The "something" was different for each card. The student's task was to decide if the item on his/her card was alive and then provide a couple of supporting statements for their choice. But I didn't give them very many straightforward items: prion, virus, unfertilized egg, etc. Each kid had to wrestle a bit in their thinking. Today, I drew a line on the board with "not alive" at one end and "alive" at the other. Students took turns going up to the board with their card, placing it along the line where they thought it was a best fit, and then talking a bit about their choice. Afterwards, we had a discussion about the continuum and some suggestions for changing up the order of things. I then worked with them on a Frayer model for the term "life." By the end of the discussion, they needed to write their own definition for the term. After that, we moved on to classification and review from last week.
Second period, I joined a group of other teachers on a classroom observation protocol. The idea here was to watch the class for a bit and then go and reflect on what we saw. We were not there to judge the teacher or class---just think about how this related to our own classroom practice. I found this interesting because people saw such different things in the lesson. Or in some cases, others seemed to observe things that I didn't. My guess is that with more practice with this strategy, the more likely it is that people will agree on what they did and didn't see. But again, that's not really the goal.
It is still the September honeymoon period and I continue to be excited about life in the classroom. I hope the good buzz lasts for awhile longer.