I have spent the final days of summer going over how I will start the year as we all normally do during those last sunny days. This year will be a different experience for me as I start planning September. I ended last year with the CIA training and completed one unit of study (Shiloh). This year I will be starting the year with CIA and I plan on completing 3 units of study (Shiloh, Castle in the Attic, and Streams to the River…). For the most part, my previous planning for my first couple of weeks of school has stayed the same. I use this time to try and build as much of a class community as possible. This is crucial for building trust with my students. I make sure I have time planned for students to share their stories from the summer, play team building games, and complete several “getting to know you” activities. This is very important for our class chemistry and it provides the foundation of our partner work and Turn and Talks. This year I have made it a focus to start the year teaching about Turn and Talks knowing how much I will be using them in future CIA lessons. During the first few days I assigned students with Turn and Talk buddies. When we need to work with a partner, have a question, or share our ideas, I have been using Turn and Talks. We came up with some “guidelines” of our expected behaviors during this activity. My students have fun acting out the “right way” and “wrong way” to do this. This also reinforces what the expected behaviors should look and sound like during a Turn and Talk.