Monday, September 8, 2014

Marathon Days

With the third week of school steadily approaching in a few hours, I finally feel like I've had a moment to breathe.

The first week of school is always jammed packed with teaching procedures, establishing classroom culture, setting up notebooks, and integrating fun activities.  I think I did a pretty good job of that this year, but man was I tired!

Luckily we had a three day weekend (Labor Day) followed by a staff development day.  

However, I think my grade level (myself included) tried to plan a week's worth of instruction into three days.  It didn't go very well.

We overplanned, which was far better than the alternative.  We had a conversation about clarifying our expectations and I think this week will go better.  There were two 12 hour days, one of them due to my date with the copy machine and the other due to open house.  By Friday afternoon, a rather unpleasant migraine hit and I was beat.

My students must have been feeling it too.

I had a low turn out to open house, but I appreciate those families that did come.  One wanted to have a conference, which we held after school on Friday.  Because the open house was shortly after school ended, our administration bought us dinner so we wouldn't be hangry.  (Side note, hangry = hunger plus anger. I suffer from this affliction frequently) The fact that dinner was Olive Garden was a delightful bonus!  We had three rotations and a fake announcement about a staff meeting was made at the end to get the parents to clear out so we could go home on time.  It's so nice to be at a school where I feel administration has my back.  I got home and was most definitely asleep by 7:30 that Thursday night.

Friday, 4 of my students were absent. Two more went home in the afternoon from being sick and a third left for early dismissal.  GATE kids were gone and there was an announcement about turning off the technology because the server was getting too hot.

So, with a third of my class being gone, I made a judgment call not to teach the writing plans.  Yes, it puts me behind. But it didn't make sense to me to teach new material without my students.  I am more than happy to teach if a few are gone (obviously, we do this daily) but when I have ten students out of the room for various reasons...that'd be a lot of reteaching.

So instead, we built up our reading stamina with an extended silent reading time.  I got through all my conferences for Reading Rangers and my students all set up their data folders.  

With the remaining time, I started reading aloud The Lightning Thief. I had my class split up into 4 categories and keep track of character details while I read.  They did a pretty good job of listening for information about Grover, Mr. Brunner, Percy, and Mrs. Dodds.  I haven't explicitly taught this standard, nor did I have them make a graphic organizer.  I just wanted to see how they'd do and I was pleasantly surprised.

My weekend was spent looking over their pre math tests, which confirmed what I saw in classroom observations.  I had a rather long math training Saturday morning, but lunch with my mentee made it better.  I texted frantically with another teacher as we tag-teamed the math lesson plans for the week, which was a lot of prep work.  I'm pleased with the end result because I think it's broken down enough the students will grasp the material.  Add in some laundry, some football, and some napping and that was my weekend!

Week three brings a counseling lesson, the start of Aimsweb, hopefully getting at least my teacher iPad (for Aimsweb), modeling fluency and buddy coaching with Reading A-Z passages, place value, our Native American reading/writing unit, and possibly a schedule change for rainy weather.

Sigh.  I've had some marathon days.  I'm ready for things to calm down and me to be more on a schedule.  I've been getting to work early and staying late. I'd prefer to do only one of those!

Bring it on week 3!

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