Monday, August 27, 2012

1st Day of School!! Plus my SALE!!

Today I begin my 7th year as a teacher! WOW!! I can't believe how far I've come both as a professional, a person, and even the physical distance from where I started. Seven years ago I was a very nervous young teacher in Phoenix, Arizona. I remember a few extra read-alouds those first few weeks before I learned how long it took students to complete different lessons and assignments. Years later, I've learned that no 2 school years are the same. I never do my lessons exactly the same way and everything is adapted to meet the needs of the kids that year. Sure, I have my favorite lessons, but they are never an exact copy of the year before. I'm beginning my 4th year at my school a little south of San Francisco. The kids I have now are nothing like the kids I had when started teaching in AZ, but they're amazing just the same. While I started my career at the best school ever, I've learned to love some of the amazing differences at the school where I am now. I love looping with my class. It's like a little family and I never have to sugar coat things when I talk to parents. I work with them for multiple years and it puts us at ease with each other. If something is a mess, we work together to sort it out. We talk about their kids' amazing talents, and shed a few tears together over their heartbreaking challenges sometimes. I have a student who changed schools this year, yet his mom and I still email each other I send her things I think will help make her life easier.

This is the first year with a completely new set of kiddos, no looping ones, and I can already see how our relationships are starting to bloom. At the Back to School Picnic, we already joked about the challenges I have in store for me this year. Just the fact that they accept their kids for who they are, and are able to joke with me about them, makes me love them even more. I'd much rather a parent be honest and real by saying "my kid can be a challenge sometimes" than be in denial and think, "my kid is perfect." I can't help perfect, but I can work with families to help make challenges a little easier. Cheers to a new year, and a new little family in my cottage!

Here is my first day of school plan:

Before School
*  Showkids where to hang backpacks
*  Giveparents Welcome Letter and Level System Information

*  ReadAloud: First Day Jitters
*  WholeBrain Rules
* Name mosaics (I'll post pictures later)
*  Bathroom/drinksrules
*  SchoolTour
*  RecessRules
*  The Day the Monster Came to School (FREE behavior expectation lesson from Growing Kinders)
*  Picturesort for monster behavior cards
*  ChooseClass Dojo avatars (so excited to use this!)
*  IntroduceLevel Chart (school behavior system)
*  LunchProcedures

*  Teachprocedures
o   Beginningof the day, when school starts
o   Liningup
o   Puttingbelongings away
o   Usingthe bathroom
o   What to do during progress monitoring testing or when the teacheris busy
*  Goover daily schedules
*  AllAbout Me Posters
*  ReviewLevel System and the expectations. Refer to the monsters for behaviors at eachlevel
*  Discussgroupings and that students will not all be doing the same activities
*  Showhow we clean up and line up at the door
*  KissYour Brain song

I may not get to everything on my plan, but I've learned it's always better to have too much rather than not enough. The day also includes PE and Art time, so I know I probably am WAY over planned, but we'll see how much we get done. I don't mind if some things run into Tuesday. Also, this order is very vague, and even as I look at it, there are a few things where I may change the order around, but the overall plan stays the same.

Don't forget about my ONE DAY ONLY First Day of School Sale today!!!

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