Yesterday was the 59th day of school with my first first grade classroom. We have been working so very hard to become a community of learners, thinkers, writers, scientists and classmates.
It hasn't been easy, but it hasn't been impossible.
The students come every day with smiles. They bounce into the room with rosy cheeks (it's been freezing!), bright eyes and pure excitement. They can't wait to see what we will do today.
I try to keep the morning moving. We are working on an integrated unit comparing the past to the present. We are talking about pictures, writing our ideas, and learning from historians.
Sharing our ideas is noisy. There are those that don't wait their turn. There are arguments and tattling. They demand personal attention. Some are shy. Some are bold.
We talk it out. We unfold our arms. We sigh. We cry. We dance it out. We snack.
We read aloud. We share our thinking. We calm ourselves.
Then we tackle reading, writing, word work... independently. Students treasure this time to work on their own. Notebooks are filled, books are devoured. Not everyone understands that it's independent work time, but we are getting there.
LUNCHTIME arrives... woo hoo!
After lunch students line up to share their complaints. Left out at recess. Scraped knees, frozen hands. Scowls and tears. We take long drinks and run hands under water. We come to the carpet and talk about goals.
More work, more reading, more learning. Kids whine and groan when the timer rings and it's time to change centers. They are building their stamina. They are hitting a groove.
BUT THEN IT'S SPECIALS TIME (excitement ensues: stop pick that up I can't wait for gym I have library I have to change my shoes let's go let's go)
When they leave, I sit. I eat a piece of chocolate. I breathe deeply. I regroup.
WE ARE BACK! It's math!!! Calendar, number of days in school, number of the day. "Can we PLEASE play mystery number again!?" Let's talk decomposing numbers, number bonds, turn around facts. Lots of math games, individual help, I KNOW HOW TO DO THAT! Counting, learning.
WHAT? It's time to go home?
Groans. Clean up, find folders, pick up gloves, herd kids to the bus, chairs go up, tie shoes, find lunchboxes.
BYE! SEE YOU TOMORROW!!
Yesterday was the 59th day of school with my first first grade classroom.
What a roller coaster of awesome.