F is for…
Well this one is easy. Due to my stellar procrastination abilities, I end up with F on the First Day of School!
I’m sure that there are tons of teachers out there who end up teaching a student in more than one class/ year/ grade – however you want to say it. In my case, I teach the same kids (basically) for 4 years straight. This is one of my favorite things about my job. I love the relationships that build from when they are adorable, enthusiastic 5th graders until they are adorable, snarky 8th graders. However, it also presents a different challenge for starting the year.
Last year I started with Robert’s In N Out lesson with a focus on the Standards for Mathematical Practice as discussed by Hedge. It was the perfect way to start the year! I was the new teacher, but the other teacher and I kept all the kids in one room and taught them together (ok, I did the teaching…). It was so fun. It was a great way for the kids to get to know me as a teacher and kick off the year with fun and excitement. So when getting ready for this year, I wanted to do the same thing. But wait… these are the exact same kids! The kids also have been together (for the most part) since Kindergarten, so the need for ice breaker-y things is just not there. Sure there may be a new kid or two, but in their homeroom class they can do all that stuff. We do split the kids in 2 groups, so any norm setting really can wait until then. So I had a hard time getting ready for day 1. I felt like my bag of tricks was all used up!
Anyway, it ended up being an easy day. That was a blessing because I had (as usual) a terrible night’s sleep, and a bonus headache. I arrived at school around 7, hoping to print and make copies of a variety of things I found thanks to Jami’s blog about her first few days. She’s a goddess and a lifesaver! I was going to use some of her stuff in combination with some stuff from youcubed.org.
I went down to the Kindergarten room. One of my dearest friends from my previous school was hired to be our new Kinder teacher. It’s so fun having her there. I’ve been down to the other end of the school so much more in the past week than I did all of last year 🙂 So I checked in with her, then went back to my room and was trying to get stuff done while texting a conversation w/ Kathy.
We began the day outside for announcements, introductions, prayer, and flag. By the time that was over, there was only about 15 minutes before 8th grade came. They came and crowded in my room – there are 36 of them, but my room is really only equipped for 24 comfortably. They won’t all be together for the year, so it’s fine. I talked to them a bit about splitting into groups – they are used to it, but I wanted to stress the high school angle of things (one group will do 8th CC and mine Alg 1). Mostly I just tried to stress repeatedly that the important thing was for them to be at a level where they would be successful.
I told them that they should all know me well enough to know that we were going to jump right in and do some fun mathy things. One of the kids, said, “oh, are we doing Mathalicious?” Loved that comment because I associate that with fun, too! But alas… We did a dot card talk and I thought it went pretty well. I was happy with all the representations that they saw. Then I gave them a handout from the book Well Played. It was actually from the 3-5 version and was something I had printed for tutoring over the summer. I didn’t want to give them anything crazy hard, and stressed that while the math wasn’t necessarily difficult, I really wanted them to think about the process. I had written 2 questions on the board – What does it mean to be a mathematician? and What behaviors are necessary for us to learn? I told them that whatever we were doing the first few days, I wanted them to keep those 2 questions in mind. Most of them completed the activity pretty easily, but I told them that their reflection on the process was the important thing. Some had to finish for homework. Yep, turns out I’m *that* teacher. Oh well.
After that 6th grade didn’t come to class because the other math teacher (who is the 6th homeroom teacher) wanted to do homeroom-y type things instead. Then it was recess and then the whole school went to mass (today was the feast day of our school’s patron, Our Lady of the Assumption). Then it was dismissal.
So basically, it was a super easy day, and all the stress I had yesterday was for nothing. As usual. It was fun to see the kiddos. I didn’t feel great, so that interfered a bit. Hopefully I will get a great sleep tonight (the 2 hour nap may not have been advisable), will get rid of my headache, and will get to enjoy seeing everyone in all the grades tomorrow 🙂
16th First Day is officially in the books!