Saturday, August 31, 2013

First Week Reflection :)

The children & I have survived the first week of school for 2013-2014!!  I can hardly believe it.  Haha!  I have been so spoiled by looping with the Munchkins and keeping my precious babes for 2 years... I forgot what it was like to have a brand new crew!  Plus, we are a bit over-crowded.  LOTS of firsties this year.  I maybe should have opted to keep that 5th table in the room.    Because we are overloaded, we don't have enough folders, textbooks, planners, materials, etc... but we will work that out! That's an easy fix. 
 
I'll tell you what, though... they are crazy sweet, crazy smart, and LOVE to share everything that they know.  Once we get used to each other and get all of our routines firmly established, this is going to be an amazing year for all of us.  I am excited about the possibilities!
 
Some things that worked for me this first week of school:
Badges for Dismissal
Remember these lovely little badges I used for Camp Munchkin last year?  Well, they've saved my life again!  I don't have a picture of what I did, but seriously.. they are a life saver!
 
The first few days of school I completely stress over dismissal.  I am THAT teacher who wants to be sure all of her kids get safely home.  I am meticulous at finding out what bus they ride, what stop they get off at, and what daycare they attend.  But, it doesn't matter.  Something always goes wrong.  Bus numbers get mixed up, we get the bus stops wrong, somebody falls asleep on the bus and the driver doesn't see them, you know how it goes. 
 
Before they even showed up on Day 1 (because Meet the Teacher was the week prior) I printed their dismissal directions on Avery Labels, stuck them to a piece of cardstock, stuck the cardstock inside the badge, and voila!  They even wore them home!  Only 2 students didn't wear them back the next day.  Those odds are incredible!  :)  Of course, I had to edit a few with new dismissal procedures & bus changes and whatnot, but boy... this worked!
 
These labels are amazing for everything in the classroom. Click the pic to find them at Amazon.
 
 
Badges for Leadership Roles
Same badges as above only I stuck a copy of their Leadership Role (class job) in the badge and they remembered their responsibilities without me having to figure out who's what where and when! 
For the leadership roles I use in the classroom, clickety clickety here to go to that post where you can download a set for free.  The kiddos love them.  I need to get a little more creative and find more roles, though.  We will rotate role once a week.
 
 
Simple Bucket Rotation Before Stations Roll Out
I'm not at full station rotation just yet.  These guys are a lot on the noisy side and it's taking us a bit longer to get them independently working than I'm used to.  Again... I am so spoiled!  Right now we are up to about 4 minutes of quiet voices (oh my) and about 15 solid minutes of independently working without needing assistance.  That's not going to work when I need a good solid hour for small group guided work.
 
Using simple buckets with a variety of maniuplatives for word building, independent reading, and letter-sound correspondence is really working for training them to work cooperatively with others, remain in a station, and use soft voices to communicate with each other.  I have a feeling this will be my greatest challenge this year.


 

 
Big Schedule:
Please excuse my thumb & terrible handwriting, but this really helped.  It's not a complete schedule & things will get shuffled around, but it was a lifesaver.  I'm working on a picture/word schedule that should help us maneuver through our day even more smoothly!
 
 Some things that didn't quite work:
My Classroom Printer
Ugh!  It worked on Day 1 & now it's possessed with some sort of back to school monster.  I'm thankful for it all the same because at least it works part of the time.  Focus on the positive, right?! 
 
Gator Hour
Out intervention block is set for first thing in the morning.  Kiddos are not yet ready to work independently for any extended length of time.  This first week, we were supposed to be doing baseline assessments so that we would be ready to place kiddos in groups.  Well... give me another week or 2 and they'll be set.  :)

That's all folks!  What worked for you?  What would you change?  What would you do again next year?  Now it's time for a 3 day weekend full of rest, rejuvenation, and I'm hungry.  What's for breakfast?

♥With happiness,
Jen :)

1 comment:

  1. Loooooove your math and literacy rotation chart!! please share!!:) amytcrockett@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete