Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Year Six, Day 1

The weekend before school started, I was a wreck.  I worked Friday night on various small tasks for my classroom, took all of Saturday off to spend with friends, and worked for a little bit Sunday morning before heading to B's family's BBQ.  Sleep did not come easily Sunday night and nightmares of past students and worst case scenarios flooded my mind.

I got to work about seven am on Monday.  Our start time is 8:26. My first task was hanging our classroom pom-poms:

 I had duty (bummer) and I struggled with undoing the folding gate.  See, the gate was run over by a (rude) parent, so it's bent in a strategic way.  This means it doesn't fold up nicely and has quickly become my new Monday/Friday morning nemesis. 

Luckily a parent helped me wrestle the gate.  I was also burdened with both a stop sign and radio, so next time I'll not carry those.  Or wear open toed shoes.

My other job at duty was to help direct drop-off traffic.  We have a lot of red curbs in front of our school and I had the unfortunate job of trying to tell parents not to park.  These parents were obviously very excited for the first day and taking pictures of their kiddos in front of the school.  I had to be the bad guy and ask them to not capture this precious moment.

I went to the wrong spot to find my class and our line got bisected when we were entering the building.  I forgot to collect lunch money and we were a few minutes late to specials, after I tried to take them down the wrong way.

Thank goodness for first prep!  I took a few deep breaths, calmed myself, and proceeded to tackle my to do list.

The rest of the day was smooth sailing :)

I had 27 students show up and they were talkative from the first moment.  They're responding really well to my positive classroom vibe, which is good.  Considering how frustrating last year was, I'm determined to stay positive.  I want my room to be a joyous place.

I didn't spend hours on procedures.  I gave them a first day treat.  We covered a lot (norms for read alouds and number talks), learned some procedures, and practiced structures like Kagan pair up and share.

We read First Day Jitters, which many of them had never heard before.

It's a cute picture book with a fun twist at the end. (Spoiler--the teacher doesn't want to go to school!)

Prior to reading, we went over read aloud norms:

I was a little worried about some of their initial responses.  I asked what my job was during a read aloud and the first response I got was "to grade papers." 


I clarified that during a read aloud, I was the one reading.  They were dumbfounded by this notion and asked when I would grade.  I told them they wouldn't see me grade in the classroom unless it was a one on one assessment (Aimsweb, Core phonics, etc).  They were bewildered and asked when I would get their stuff done.  I said at home, in front of the TV, or while they're at specials.  This seemed to satisfy most of them, but that does worry me...

A teacher shouldn't be known for spending hours of in class time grading.  Yes, it happens.  But that shouldn't be what your students expect you to do.

Instead of me giving a tour of the classroom, I sent them on a scavenger hunt:

It's way more fun when they investigate!  Plus it gets their bodies up and active, which is crucial.

I went over the hand procedures for number talks and then made an anchor chart about the strategies they used:

After we did our number talk, I had them create their fractional me sheets:

They had forms for homework and left with smiles on their faces.

The hardest part of day one?  Well, besides the rough start?

Wearing shoes the whole day!

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