I have the class this year that I imagine many teachers only ever dream about. They listen. They read. They are decent to each other. They do their math homework and study their spelling words. It's my 7th year teaching and I sorta feel like the universe has given me a sabbatical year---very low stress. No rough diamonds. Nobody who needs to sit often in a private office. Just hard working, earnest, good, good, good kids.
The most exiting new thing I've been doing this year: poetry. Every single day we've read a poem together. I'm so glad I spent time over the summer getting this ready. My "roughest" boys love poems. They see the connection, I believe, between good poetry and the process they are all in the very middle of: figuring out their fledgling identities.