Sunday, July 31, 2016

It's Going to be a SUPER Year!

The theme for our school this year is that it's going to be a SUPER year, so for Meet 'n' Greet, all the teachers had to dress as their favorite superhero.  I'm not sure that Wonder Woman is my "favorite," but I already had the stuff, so it was an easy decision.  

Ms. Danna drew hulk and decorated the door to make it look like he was punching through it. How much do you LOVE the way it turned out!? We kept brainstorming a slogan to go with it and eventually decided on "Smashing into an Incredible Year!" And those "Bam," "Pow," "Kaboom" bubbles? They have been sitting in my filing cabinet since my FIRST YEAR teaching. I did a superhero theme my very first year and spent all this time drawing various comic book characters and action bubbles, only for them to go unused for the remaining five years. HOORAY for being a teacher hoarder and still having them!

Now, all teachers know that some years are better than others.  Depending on class size, schedules, student behaviors, etc., there's a lot of variation from year to year.  After our open house, I told my administration to "Ask me again in a month, but so far I absolutely LOVE my class."  (It's rare to say this at the beginning. You know why? Because typically at open house, some of your kids are off the walls. They're tearing stuff apart or drawing on something they shouldn't. Some are crying, others are climbing. And, for a brief moment, you wonder if you're supposed to be in this role.)

NOT. THIS. YEAR.   This year, everyone was calm and under control. 
Plus, my roster is sitting at 17 kids. That's lower than I've EVER had.
PLUS, we got to make our own schedule this year. Something else I've NEVER had.

With a small group of well-behaved children and a perfectly tailored schedule, DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU CAN DO? You can have a truly SUPER year!  

And let's talk about the first day.  The first day you usually go home, trying to forget the series of things that could have gone more smoothly.   I am not kidding when I say that THIS GROUP listened and followed directions so carefully, I frequently turned to Ms. Danna and mouthed "wow, for real?" to which she smiled and nodded. Yes, we had a few hiccups, but they're five.  Of course they won't be  at 100% immediately.

We learned how to come in and unpack, clean up, walk to the carpet, choose a seat, line up, walk in the hall, behave in the cafeteria, take a restroom break, use pencils and crayons properly, use math manipulatives, stay safe on the playground, and go through dismissal.  (Oh, and when we colored? Almost everyone stayed in the lines. No one scribbled and said "I'm done!" within seconds.)

Everything is modeled.  Everything is repeated.  Everything is modeled again.  Everything is repeated again.  And each time students model the correct way to do something, they earn a sticker.   Sure, the first days of school are tedious and full of procedures, but once they've got 'em down, the rest of the year goes so much more smoothly.  

One of my favorite read-alouds for the first day, read just before the first bathroom break, is Time to Pee! by Mo Willems.  It's hilarious, but it also teaches kids how to avoid having accidents and promotes a discussion on when/how to ask to go to the bathroom and what the bathroom rules are.  This is really important, since I let my students have a water bottle.  Sometimes having easy access to  a water bottle equates to mindless guzzling which results in .... a lot of accidents.  

I'm pretty excited about those pillows readily accessible at the front of the room this year. I liked sitting on the floor with the kids for story time instead of in the rocking chair. Plus, they'll be able to use them once we start independent reading & writing.

Our first full week begins tomorrow!  I can't wait to get some assessments done and find out exactly where this group is at.  I've organized some progress monitoring sheets in language arts and math to keep in student binders so parents will ALWAYS KNOW exactly where their child is at/what they need more help with.   (Parents, get excited about this!)

I should probably get some sleep now; even superheroes need their Zs.

1 comment:

  1. So glad to hear all the variables have come together for a great year! I so appreciate you sharing their assessments as well as so many other things in their take-home binder. You are making our first school experience a phenomenal one! Also, Camden and I had the sweetest moment together as he described a certain Gingerbread hunt that took place and I was able to tell him about a very similar experience I had when I was in kindergarten. Thank you for making his transition as smooth as butter!
    P.S. Miss Danna has some awesome artistic abilities!