Sunday, September 4, 2011

Back to School Shuffling

What a week! I return fatigued...a victim of the back to school vortex!! Many of you blogged about the exhaustion felt during the first week of school. You'd think I would remember this feeling after so many years of teaching. Did I listen? Did I heed your warnings?! Noooo! I guess I just had to feel it for myself!! Every year, I am also surprised that I don't remember how little bitty the incoming first graders are. I am definitely grateful that the first week of school is over. But, most of all, I can say that it was successful.  
Our first week of school was all about procedures. The importance of practicing classroom routines and behaviors can never be underestimated. This year, I was so excited to teach procedures using materials created by talented {and famous} teachers! 
You can’t mention the start of the 2011-2012 school year without talking about Abby Mullins’ “Fun with Firsties” activity download! On the first day of school, you know we enjoyed some “Jitter Juice”!! We washed our butterflies away {right before we headed out to recess}!!! 

I also incorporated Kathleen Pedersen’s “Teaching Manners-Monster Fun” download. She shared a cute story called “The Day a Monster Came to School”. The kids were shocked {and seemingly appalled} that the monster in the story was throwing things in the classroom, dumping toys on the floor, and screaming at the top of his lungs! It was a great story to emphasize that we don’t want any “monsters” in our classroom this year. We also sorted monster-themed behavior cards to identify and define “superstar”, “classroom” problem, and “principal’s office” behavior. Once that “naughty monster” behavior was defined, students contributed their ideas for classroom rules.

The class really enjoyed Abby Mullins’ “Find-a-Friend” activities. I loved watching students internalize all of our discussions on speaking and whole-body listening behaviors. It was also a great way to emphasize that we need to embrace everyone, whether they are similar to or different than us! Using various thinking maps, we also defined characteristics of Kindergartners versus First Graders. Students described Kinders as being little. Whereas, First Graders were viewed as "smarter" and able to play on the "real" playground. Though cute and funny, the activity allowed me to gain some insight into the class’ perception of themselves. Their statements hinted of insecurity {and a strong desire} to read and write proficiently.
You want to know the best thing about these two downloads? They integrated and were supported by great children’s literature. Prior to launching into a topic, I was able to activate and build schema. Our first week of school was full of meaningful activities, where students were active participants. It was a fantastic way to kickoff the implementation of the new Common Core Standards, where a large emphasis is placed on the development of listening & speaking skills, language, and collaboration. 

But, there is no rest for the weary. I am off to learn about the magic of my classroom's new Smart Board. I am excited to use this 21st century teaching tool to support the Common Core.


Jess said...

You have a fantastic blog and I have nominated your blog a top 10! Go here to get you award and check out my post here:

❋Karen❋ said...

I too had a fantastic first week thanks to all of you talented teachers who so generously share your techniques and ideas! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Anonymous said...

I loved all of Abby's activities, too. They were tons of fun! :)

The Sharpened Pencil

Jennifer said...

I just listed you as one of my Top 10 Blogs! Check out the post here

Then head over here to grab your button

Rowdy in First Grade

Alicia Lochridge said...

Thanks Jess and Jennifer! You ladies are sweet and amazing!

First Grade Factory

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