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Thursday, August 23, 2012

And we're back...

So I started school this week.  I had in-service Monday and Tuesday, then kids for a half-day Wednesday and first full day Thursday.  I always get nervous, just like the kids, for the first day, wondering how the group will be.  Then the day is upon me and the kids come in, most of them with their parents dropping them off and the day has begun.  Once all of the parents leave, it feels like old hat, even though it's a new bunch of kids.  All last year my team and I kept hearing, you're going to want to take next year off, do early retirement, switch grades, this group is a doozy!  I kept saying, don't worry, you'll whip them into shape before you give them to us, lol, but the group was higher needs.  I still really didn't sweat it all summer as I know that kids change and that the whole dynamic of the class can change with different students and a different teacher.  I also knew that I was getting the student who needed the most help and was going to be pulled a lot and that he didn't listen well to his resource teacher (which is why she was giving him to me, because not listening to me is not an option.  I'm firm and let them know that they need to do things just like everyone else).  Then as the summer went on I learned the other student who had a one-on-one aide was switched to my class as well.  Again fine, no biggie, I always get the special ed. cluster in my room.  Then finally my class list came out, a little over a week before school started.  I looked up their pictures (since their names meant nothing) and saw the one student who made me nervous for the start of the year.  lol  This student last year, in first grade, used to scream as if she was being stabbed or was watching her parents get stabbed, at the top of her lungs, for HOURS (I don't know how she could do it), and would have to be taken away by the social worker.  Little things would set her off apparently.  She got better as the year went on and by the end of the year at least, she wasn't screaming anymore, just crying.  So needless to say, I was not too excited about that.  Then school came and people asked who was in my class and I told them and they would say, you got all 3 of them?  In one class?  Again, there is no room that has an escape from high need kids.  I felt lucky that it looked like the rest of my kiddos were great and bright.  So after the parents left and we were settled in, things were good.  Then I asked the students who hadn't finished the scavenger hunt (a way to learn about our classroom, really those kids just didn't do the hunt) to come see me to get their first day prize anyway.  That's when the friend I was nervous about, came up to me crying because she had started coloring and had not done the scavenger hunt.  I told her it was okay, not a big deal, but to her it was a big deal.  I told her she shouldn't be upset, I wasn't upset with her, mistakes happen.  She replied that she does not like making mistakes.  I told her that everyone makes mistakes, even I make mistakes.  We will make mistakes every day, but that's okay, it happens to everyone.  She did not care because she does not like to make mistakes.  Then I told her, she had 2 options: 1, she could fix her mistake by doing the hunt and getting her prize, or 2 she could just go back and finish coloring her picture.  Either one was fine.  Then she just kept saying she didn't know.  I repeated my directions to her and she said she didn't know which one to choose.  I told her I was not making the choice for her, that she needed to make the choice.  She refused so I said okay, just stand there then, and I walked away and did everything else I needed to do and "ignored" her (although I was completely aware of her the whole time).  She then calmed down, caught my eye at one point and started up again.  I went back to "ignoring" her.  She calmed down, stayed that way and was fine the rest of the short day.  Today we had our first whole day, she was great all day.  No problems.  My other friend who does not like to listen to his resource teacher, did a fantastic job of listening to me all day.  The problem with that is that he needs a lot of one-on-one help, so him not listening to his resource teachers or assistants and swatting at them isn't an option.  Everything will fall into place and then things will be fine.  I know they will be!  I'm really happy with my class though.  They are a great bunch of kids and I'm excited to get to know them better.  It will be really fantastic once we have our routine up and running.  I'm so happy it's Friday already.  I give major props to you that have a full first day and full first week.  I like much better, our easing into it.  lol  Well I just thought I'd let you in on my first few days since I had the time.  I'll leave you with pictures of my classroom for the linky party by Teaching Blog Addict.  :)
A pic of the front of my room, with my reading chair, chart cart, calendar bulletin board, and bookshelf my brother-in-law made me.  
Moving to the right, we have my guided reading area and my desk.  
Continuing on clockwise, you can see my groups of desks and counter/cabinet area.  
That leads us into my book nook area.  
There is the view of the back of my room.  As you can see, those walls open up (we could have all of the walls open and pushed to the side, but we only open that section, the rest are locked into place).  My teammate on the other side and I do Daily 5 and guided reading together, indoor recess together, sometimes math, and other activities/celebrations.  I love that feature.  Not many teachers in our building do it.  They keep the whole thing locked tight.  
Then you come around and can kind of see my writing center, mailboxes, entrance, and lunch graph.  
That leads us to our final picture, as we complete the circle around the room, of our cubbies.  The picture frames on the bulletin boards hold photos of the students (currently last year's class) demonstrating one of the six character traits we talk about, as a reminder.  
Have a wonderful Friday!!!!  :)


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