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Monday, August 18, 2014

Kids Say 2.0: Starting Over

Our district superintendent says it best:  "Teaching is the only profession where you get to start over again, year after year."

Had a rough group of kids? You get to try again next year.

Didn't like the way certain things went? You get to try again next year.

Had a perfect class and everything went smoothly? You can loop with them and start over learning a new grade! :)

This was my 9th time to "start over" and it was a great day!  But I am also currently wondering if 7:48 is too early to go to sleep... {not kidding!}  My precious husband has learned how exhaustion the first two or three weeks back can be and even bought me chocolate to get me through the week AND offered to buy groceries yesterday!  Man, I'm lucky to have that man around!

I start every year off reading First Day Jitters.

This year, when we were talking about what the word "jitters" might mean, I asked {as I usually do} who all had jitters in their bellies this morning?  Several kids raised their hands, some said that they didn't have any, but for the first time in 9 years, I had a boy say,
 #priceless

The first day always seems to be filled with rules, rules, and more rules.  As I told my intern this morning, I try to make the first day as memorable and fun as I can, but there are just so many procedures to go over.  I seriously feel like I talk for 7 hours straight!  And I feel so sorry for my sweet 6 year olds by the end of the day!  We went over rules in the cafeteria, rules for the playground, rules for the hallway, rules for our own class, how to do morning procedures, how to clean up to go home, how to transition between desks and carpet, bathroom rules...and the list goes on.  

This book makes going over rules a little more exciting for the kiddos and they love inferring about what David is doing wrong in the story!  It's a great text to get some high-level thinking going on from the first day.

After we read the book, we brainstormed rules for our classroom.  Then, they each wrote their own rule for our class.  Later this week, we will be making a David craft to hang in the hallway with our writing.  My personal favorite rule this year...

We read through everyone's rules and then fit them together to make our 5 rules for our classroom.  We have motions that go with each of our 5 rules and we practice them 5,342 times a day...or at least it seems that way!  They were already becoming pros by the end of the day today!  {You can find my rule posters plus the rest of my classroom management materials HERE.}

Other than procedures and introductions, the biggest part of the first day of first grade is making sure kids get home!  We graphed how we go home {from this packet.}

....and *slapped* labels on kiddos this afternoon! Ha!  I just about did the hallelujah dance this afternoon, too, because all but 3 of my bus riders already had their bus number memorized!  It's the little things, people!

Maybe it's because I always remember how mentally exhausting it is to go over rules all.day.long.  Maybe it's because I feel sorry for 6 year olds having to listen to my voice so much during the day.  Or maybe it's just because I want my firsties to have a special first day with a little bit of fun memories to take with them.  But whatever the reason, I love sending home a treat with my kiddos on the first day of school.  And for my ELL babies learning English, it's a perfect opportunity to talk about what the idiom, "piece of cake" actually means.

In the midst of all of the craziness of lining up to go home, and passing out cakes, one sweetie said to me as we were hugging goodbye,

Oh. My. Word.

This group has my heart already.  But who am I kidding?  Nine years later, no matter how many times I "start over," each group seems to steal my heart in their own way by the end of the first day!