Friday, September 14, 2012

And so it begins...

I have had my first 3 days teaching first grade and I am pretty certain I am going to love it! My mind is racing and I have so much to figure out. I am going to use this space to track my journey. So if you end up here expecting to find some might want to keep going, at least for now.

And now here I am looking at this draft. This was over a month ago. The good news...I am still loving it. Not sure I will have the time to blog this journey, I sure would love to.

Here is what I am loving.....

Morning work: Reader's Theater....I did this with second grade and wasn't sure it would work. It is working beautifully. Today we had a standing ovation for my curly haired little pistol! Each group is sharing a script or poem. They quickly understood the routine and come in and begin the practice. The room is a buzz of the noise of first grade voices reading...and it is purely beautiful. On Friday they perform. The students give compliments...and today listening to them repeat my words, "great expression" "you read at the right speed" is a precious time and motivating practice.

Morning message: A full letter to students every day. We get so much out of this letter. It is about 20 minutes of gold first thing in the morning. I used the Beyond Morning Message book to get me started. Each day has a bit of a theme.
Marvelous Monday: just a time to share about the weekend and what's ahead for the week.
Tangled Tuesday: Many familiar words are tangled up and the students help to untangle.
Wacky Wednesday: focus on spelling and punctuation.
Thinking Thursday: focus more on math and problem solving
Finish-up Friday: Leave the ending of words off and students help to complete.
I use it a great deal to review, repeating patterns so they begin to recognize words, use highlight tape to focus on sight words, and review science and other content as well.
The letters go home with a student and they love it!

Writer's Workshop: We just got started this week. It is off to a fabulous start. They ease into routine smoothly. They are busy and quiet and writing their stories. I am floating around and catching quick conferences and taking notes.

So now...I trying to improve the centers and small group instruction. My schedule is settled in for the most part. I want the whole day to be as special as the above time chunks. When we start moving and being pulled into small chunks I feel like we lose some of what we have in the learning environment. I want to find ways to hold that feeling as we sit in small groups.

As far as the kids and the classroom...the sweetest bunch of little ones ever. They love to learn! Their faces light up when I call them readers.

First grade is a magical place...and I am loving it here.