Sunday, September 7, 2014
Reflecting on the First Week
This is my 5th year teaching and it feels like the first!
Meeting my new 5th and 6th graders has been so much fun! I've known most of these kiddos since they were in Kindergarten and 1st Grade! Still its hard to get names right. One of the advantages of teaching two grade levels is I usually knew all of my 8th graders very well and had to only get to know my new 7ths. So this year is a little bit of a challenge, I could tell I was getting better by Friday, and yesterday we had our back to school BBQ and could remember their names and even which class period they were in! Oh and a bunch of my students from last year came to visit too! I really loved that group of kids and I hope that they stay in touch.
I spent the first three days teaching routines and procedures of course and used games and iPads and started my INBs! While I tried to make this fun (its hard to tell because they are all so happy and eager to please, unlike 7th and 8th where they just stare at you most of the time LOL) I did stress that I'm very serious about learning, classroom community, and being able to feel comfortable making mistakes. I've heard that last year some of the 4th grade girls were a little mean and did laugh at kids when they made mistakes. I was sure to look those girls right in the eyes when I was explaining my thoughts on it and they did look wide-eyed like "Oh bleep, I better watch it!"
They really responded well to my "Class/Yes" procedure which 7/8 also did well with, but I think it fits better with the younger crowd anyway. I'm using the scoreboard game with them in conjunction with our school's Battle of the Homerooms. So the way Class/Yes works is when I say "Class", they say "yes" and they have to say it however I say it. I have to try to remember to mix it up a little, I tend to get boring the way I say it. The scoreboard is a chart I put on the front whiteboard and if they do the class/yes procedure correctly -everyone says it, stops what they are doing and does not talk after, they get a tally mark under the column with a smiley face. If they don't do it correctly they get a tally mark under the frowny face. Their goal is to get more smileys than frownys. If they do, I give them 100 points for the day. 7th/8th could care less about the Battle of the Homerooms (well until the day the winner was announced each month) but 5th/6th still take it very seriously!
Every class won last week, but starting this week I'm going to kick it up a notch and add tallys for expected behavior.
I also introduced them on Thursday to our Number of the Day do now. I can already tell it is going to be a big help in my classes. Right now I have both 5th and 6th doing the same sheets, but I think I will be changing it up in the next week or so to really focus on which skills they need the most practice on. I think 5th is going to need some multiplication and they are both going to need fraction stuff.
I am looking forward to this first real week of math to get started!
If you would like to link up and share your first week or first day reflections click HERE to go to Sherrie's blog and join us!