As all of the kids were lining up for recess, I noticed that one boy from our class was still on the playground. You know that twisty thing that kids can climb up or down? It kind of looks like DNA? Well, when he just looked at me after I told him to get in line with the rest of the kids, I realized he was stuck! It took a few minutes, but I did get him out. I have no idea how he did it and I don’t think I will be able to walk past that thing again without smiling.
This morning, while trying to get my son ready to drop off on my way to work, he spotted a frog on the living room window. Crazy! Can you say major distraction?
We use Responsive Classroom, an integration of social and academic learning. One aspect is logical consequences and positive time-outs. We call them “breaks” and teach kids to use them to regain self control.
While some kids are often in the break chair, others seldom if ever go there. However, when we first introduce the concept, each child takes a turn in the chair. (Just to experience it and practice expectations.) And the kids with the most self control, the ones that never get in trouble and always obey the rules, are always super excited to go to the chair. I absolutely love the huge smiles they have when they are sitting in the chair that first time! They practically leap out of their chairs with smiles from ear to ear as soon as we say “Take a Break” to them.
I think, other than time with my son, I might miss naps the most. Summer is over and I can’t just lay on the couch and nap whenever I feel the least bit tired. Why is it I thought they were so horrible as a kid?
That brings me to the weekend, the three day weekend. Time for naps, hanging with my favorite little man, and seeing Ghostbusters in the theater! Yes, I know I can watch it on Netflix, but I am still excited to experience it in the theater. With popcorn! Thank goodness that my wonderful friend is also willing and eager to pay money to see it in the theater too! With popcorn! You can’t forget the movie theater popcorn!
The first day of the new year has come and gone. That first day I kept looking out at the kids and feeling like I was a substitute for someone else’s kids. These weren’t ours. These weren’t the faces that were supposed to be looking back at us.
It was a hard transition to a new group of kids, but each day I find more and more things to love about these new kids. Last year’s group was very special, but these kids are special too. I just need to give myself time to see it.
These kids sit down on the carpet for a read aloud without making me claustrophobic. They leave just enough room at my feet.
They can get ready to go home in less than 5 minutes! (We keep forgetting that they can get ready so fast and start getting ready way to early.)
And, possibly most importantly, as they were walking out the door yesterday and I was laughing one girl said, “I love your laugh.” This was a shocker for me because for the last five years kids have always said that I laugh like a witch. (This idea was of course encouraged by the big black cauldron that I had in my closet until this year.) I told her that kids always say I laugh like a witch and they all quickly assured me that my laugh was nothing like a witch. (Awwww!)
So, while I see last year’s group pass in the hallway and miss them dearly, I am feeling more attached to this group by the moment. Slowly, they are becoming “our” kids.
I really enjoy writing these letters to inanimate objects, but today I am feeling lucky for all of the wonderful people in my life.
Dear Marvelous Co-teacher,
You are a talented and dedicated teacher and I am lucky to be working with you again this year.
We are going to have a SUPER year. I promise to try to keep my stuff off your table so that you don’t feel the need to cut it in half again! (Ha ha!)
I love you more than words can say. You are so smart, funny and considerate. I can’t believe you are starting third grade soon, but I know you will be successful. Don’t forget that it is alright to make mistakes and not everything you do needs to be perfect.
Dear Ma and Pops,
You are the best grandparents a girl could ask for! I don’t know what I would do without you two. You are wonderful role models and people. Thank you for always being there for me, even when that means a last minute adjustment to a very horrible shirt!
Since the kids are coming, we had to be ready. Our classroom reveal…Superhero theme. I am a theme person and I love making the environment I spend 8+ hours a day in pleasant and inviting. Crafting and Pinterest are my relaxation.
Sitting in a PD the other day, the presenter said something about teaching being special because we get a “do-over” every year. It is sticking with me because the kids will be back in less than two weeks, but it is a whole new group. I have a chance to start over and do everything better. What will I do differently/better this year?
Although we did a lot of interactive modeling regarding behavior during indoor recess, we didn’t focus enough on putting the games away. Yesterday the game cabinet was a mess. My son came to school to help, but after taking everything out he quit and started playing instead. I was left to tape up the boxes, sort through the games and reorganize by myself. Not totally done, but I’m thinking we’ll add a picture of how it looks to remind the kids.
More consistent conferring and small group work during writing workshop. Last year was my first year with writing workshop. Now that we have a better handle on the mini-lessons and units, I want to work on shorter more consistent conferring with students. I also want to work on pulling small groups with similar needs to do reteaching/strategy work. I found myself spending the whole work time with one student some days and I know I need to work on that.
Math! After spending four years as a reading teacher, our reading block was pretty solid. LC helped getting the writing workshop going. However, math needs some work. Throughout the year I gained more confidence with my math instruction, but I know this is the subject that I need to focus on the most. My first step was to create this bulletin board (green one) where we will place clue words for word problems. Each triangle will be for a different operation: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. We will add words as we discover them as a class.
Yesterday morning my sister texted me with a brilliant idea – coffee delivery truck! You know like an ice cream truck, but the target would be mothers. Mothers with sleeping children or housework that needs to get done. Mothers that could really use some caffeine, preferable in the form of mocha iced coffee. So, just think about it!
Considering the technology of today, I really think that the past tense of text, as in on a phone, should be in your dictionary. No I don’t be tested or textured, I mean she sent me a text yesterday. Please stop with the red dot dot dot under the word.
Dear Elusive Orange Folder,
I didn’t give up and I found you! I couldn’t send my son to school without the complete supply list, exactly right. How embarrassing for a teacher’s son to have incomplete or wrong school supplies! You were a challenge plastic orange folder with prongs, but I found you.
1. I love school supplies! I know, I’m nerdy! I get excited to see them up in the aisles and walk through them multiple times. However, my son’s supply list generally results in a little stress. There is always something that requires trips to 3-4 stores even though I shop in July! This year it is the elusive plastic ORANGE folder with prongs. I will find you plastic orange folder with prongs!
2. Speaking of school supplies, it drives me nuts when kids draw all over the class erasers, especially the giant ones I buy. So this year Bob the Eraser will be standing guard…
3. My son and I started listening to Tuesdays at the Castle in the car this week. We were really enjoying it, but we didn’t finish it before we had to return it to the library. Unfortunately, we couldn’t renew it. Luckily there was a copy of the book in print available, but now the British accent will only be in our heads. 😦 (The lady reading the story had a British accent! How fun!)
The characters are the prince and princesses living in a magical castle. Every Tuesday the castle changes, a tower here, an extra room there. How awesome! Right now the king, queen, and oldest son are missing. The remaining siblings are working with the Castle to find their family and keep their kingdom safe. I can’t wait to find out what happens!
4. Exactly two weeks from today will be our opening Institute Day for the school year. I have mixed emotions. While I can’t wait to start teaching again and applying everything that has been filling my brain all summer, I am going to miss spending all day with my son.
5. Finally, my birthday is coming up next week. 28. That is way close to the big three zero. I know that I am still young and have so much ahead of me, but I keep thinking of that Tim McGraw song, My Next Thirty Years. When that came out I think I was in middle school and I remember thinking, “Gosh, that is really old.” Now I know better, but it is still hard to believe I am this old! It’s freaking me out a little.