Saturday, August 9, 2014

First Days in First Grade

I plan on bringing this blog to life this year and write regular posts. I know I need to start now and create the habit. I am certainly feeling the first-days-tired!

Tuesday I was ready and excited to spend my first few days with students. The classroom wasn't as ready as I wanted it ever? But I was excited! Students would be sprinkling their magic dust (I gave them at Meet the Teacher night) under their pillows. We would all be trying our best to sleep and dream of  Wednesday when 19 new faces would come into my room!

Our first week was 3 days long. I love having that short week to begin getting to know the students. I get a peek into their personalities, and let them know it will all be okay. This is my third year teaching first. The difference this year is I do not have an intern. I had an intern the last two years as I began the school year. I miss the help, but I am excited to try new things and grow and learn daily. That is harder to do when you have someone watching and learning from you.

It is funny how much we plan those first days, and how little of it is accomplished.

We spent a lot of time on rules and procedures of course! Our Friday art project included a response as to why they are so important to our classroom and learning. I'll take a picture of theirs when I get them up on the wall. They are too cute!

We spent a lot of time talking about how we would become readers, writers and mathematicians. Some were quiet and shy and others were chatty and full of questions. We toured the room, read books including one of my first day favorites, First Day Jitters. 
I found out a little about what they thought of First Grade and created this chart. I love getting inside their heads and finding out what they think. 

The routines we set in place these first days were our morning meeting, which consists of calendar, songs and a daily letter. I love this time so much. It really helps me to do some observation and introduce some topics and vocabulary. I also pull a name the following morning and that student brings the letter home. I'll take a picture of one of our letters next week. 

The other routine we attempted is our math daily routine. As I mentioned in a previous post I had some amazing learning this summer for math instruction. My math instruction will go through a complete overhaul this year. I am anxious and ready to see how it goes. We are focusing on the number of days in school and is was very revealing to ask them, how many ways could they show that number. Here is an example from day one. Day two was just as interesting! I even had one of them give me a word problem! We also did Guess the Mystery Number, Mental Math and Dot Cards. I plan to video tape this routine next week and will try to share that as well. Next week I will also do a beginning of year assessment. I have a feeling I have a wide range of abilities in my room for math! 

Friday we had a rainy afternoon. Just what we wanted! This allowed me to introduce one of my favorite rainy day activities, Cosmic Yoga. A perfect way to deal with a rainy day! The week could not have gone much better. Next week we will continue to build community and add routines to our days. I'll take more pictures!

I believe I have an amazing year ahead and I hope to share my experiences, my learning, revisions and love I have for teaching first grade. I am not only changing a lot in math, it is my hope to connect to a global community as well using all we have available to us! It is a year of change!