Saturday, August 17, 2013

First Week of School

     I survived my first week of teaching, and we didn't burn the school down yet. My class tried though. Yesterday, one student randomly threw his water bottle in the air, which hit a light. The light then started smoking, sparking, and became a very small fire before dying out. I quickly got the kids out of the classroom and found help, and it was fixed in no time after spending one of our 20 minute Daily 5 stations outside.

     It is certainly different starting some procedures with fourth and fifth grade then with first grade last year. My students quickly picked up on read to self and read to someone, so today we moved on to a new station. This year, my plan is to do stations similar to Daily 5 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday we don't have enough time so we will do other things like literature circles. Last year, starting Daily 5 with first graders took them weeks to be ready for three stations, but my students already (for the most part) have the stamina built and were ready to do three stations all of next week.

     We are also doing stations for math, since it will be easier for me to meet with my math classes in small groups. This week they learned the At You Seat/Carpet station, which will be a Daily Math review sheet. I'm sure that I'll talk more about my math stations in the future. I am really liking what I have decided to do, but might change a few things around from my original plan to make keep my low fourth graders with me twice, since they will need more than fifteen minutes to understand a new concept.

     Well, now that I've talked about academics that were on my mind, let's go back to the first day with pictures! The picture above is my classroom ready for students. I still didn't have things like bag hooks and our schedule hung on the wall (I finally had that done yesterday). Other things like my computer weren't ready either, but we did fine without it. There was a message on the board, telling them what to do, and a blank nametag on their desk. In the morning, the students came in with their parents and most of their supplies. Some of my students had been hanging around school the week before since their parents worked at the school, so I put them to work. One helped me by making signs for where all of the different school supplies should go. Our spots quickly filled up and overflowed with supplies! Once we sent the parents to their meeting, the students and I dealt with the rest of the supplies that they will keep in their desk after giving me a few more things.

     In the morning, I had a circle time, where each child said one thing about his/herself and his/her name. We talked about the beginning of the year and what some of my expectations were. We also had an elementary school meeting, where we talked about school rules. Between this meeting, morning recess, and lunch/recess, most of the day seemed to fly by, except that I never had time to myself since everyone was on duty for everything.

     Later on the first day, I had students write classroom rules. I told them to come up with any rules that would help us work as a class. They did a great job and came up with seventeen. I then told them that seventeen was too many, and I would narrow it down to three big ones. We now have: 1. Follow directions the first time. 2. Do your best work. 3. Respect yourself and others. On the second day, we found how each of their seventeen rules fit into these three big rules. I also sent a sheet home about the rules to the parents for them to sign and send back.

     Another thing we did was write things we wanted to learn on the board. Why it looks like a graphic organizer, I'm not sure. The students are apparently well trained in using those because when I circled our heading, that it what they did. I have one boy who loves technology and making videos, so I will certainly incorporate a project sometime where he could make a video since that will engage him. We had a lot of science questions, so I'm excited to hopefully look at those.

     Well, this is probably a long enough post. I love my new students. We still have lots of behaviors to work on, but I can already tell they will be a great class. This week was fun, but very hard. Here in Venezuela, even walking home from school is difficult and makes me want to collapse as soon as I get home since I live up a huge hill. Actually, I walk uphill both ways to school, sometimes in the rain. I am so glad it's the weekend, and I can breathe. Maybe I will actually be able to plan for all of next week or make some longer-term plans. Hopefully, I will be able to at least.

     One of my students brought me a flower and a lovely note on Monday, which warmed my heart and kept me going all week, even when things were tough. I hope all of you are having a great week, and I can't wait to share more. I'm excited to have upcoming posts about our nametags (which I love!), math stations, economy system, and more. Have a great week!


  1. Congrats on surviving your first week! You'll probably never forget about the boy who accidentally started a fire the first week of school. :)
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. Sounds like you're having a very great experience. I'm sure that once you've settled into a routine, both in the class and personally, then the pace will start picking up and before you know it, the school year will end. Can't wait to find out what other shenanigans your class gets into :)