Greetings friends. Yes, I am still alive. I don't know about you, but man the beginning of the year is killer. We just wrapped up week four. Four weeks sounds like a long time but it really has went by fast with minimal sleep for sure. I have wholeheartedly thrown myself into the success of building my class family. I firmly believe that if you spend the first month of school earning trust, building relationships, and instilling structure..the rest of the year should be a piece of cake.
This year I have 14 boys and 8 girls. Y'all, that's a lot of boys and they are 100% boys. They want to chase each other and kick under the table. They are always looking for a party and I keep telling them that the party is on the playground. Ha! They are all good kids though. We are just experiencing a few growing pains. One day last week I wrote in 14 folders. Yes, you read that correctly, 14. I gave warnings and then they had to immediately bring me their notebooks. I won't hesitate to stop what I am doing and call a parent either. It's super important that they understand that I mean business. There is a time to work and a time to play. The next day (after writing in 14 notebooks) I invited everyone who hadn't gotten a note on their calendar to have lunch with me in our room too. I think it's important to reward those great choices immediately. Children don't have a great concept of time and need immediate feedback to make connections. Needless to say, things were much better for the remainder of the week. I don't share this because I want anyone to think I am a hard butt (because I am totally NOT) but because I don't want you to feel guilty about standing your ground. It is way easier to soften than to try and all of the sudden become strict when you lose control. My students know that I love them and want what's best for them. We have loads of fun but nothing can be accomplished if we can't maintain control and focus.
This year my parents are AH-MAZING!! I think we have enough donated snacks and Star Jar treasures to last a few months. Y'all, that never happens. I don't know what to do with myself. AND, our book order was big enough for me to get enough points to get each student THREE books..as in they get to take them home and keep them forever and ever. My teammate (who I want to be like when I grow up) does that. She tries to give each student a book each month. I didn't think it was possible but it totally is.
So much has transpired in the last month and I have tons to share, but too much for one post. I wanted to share a few pictures though.
On the 10th day, we celebrated with Zero the Hero. My kids LOVED him. I forgot to take a picture but he brought five circle puzzles and five straight whistles. Together they made the shape of the number ten. We will celebrate the 20th day tomorrow.
Here are some of our first sets of centers. I always start with NAME and FINE MOTOR activities. To me, it's a great way for me to assess their fine motor skills while focusing on minimal academics to limit stress as they learn to participate in centers. Just because they are not completely academic, doesn't mean they aren't meaningful. It takes lots of practice for students to learn how to work with partners, share, communicate their needs, help one another, take out and clean up their work, etc. All of that takes time. If they can learn these things now before I add an academic expectation, future centers will work so much smoother.
In this picture, she is using pipe cleaners to thread buttons.
In this picture, the student is trying to stack the mini dice with plastic tweezers. It's much harder than it looks. It takes great balance and concentration.
Here the student is working with nuts and bolts. These are made out of eraser material but you can buy real ones from a hardware store too. They love this work.
In this work, students are using these special tweezers to pick up and transfer one bug at a time. Patience grasshopper!
Name centers are always a great starter and students enjoy them. In one center, students are putting small stickers on their name. Essentially they are tracing their names with stickers. Fun, right? The other center is using colored glue to trace their name. I took three bottles of glue and food coloring. Each bottle was a different color (red, blue, green). Students picked the colors they wanted to use to trace their name.
In this center, students use watercolors to paint their name as many times as they can. Easy, purposeful and fun.
In this center, students are playing the Backyard Phonics Adventure app. It's pretty awesome. You should totally check it out!
My kids love using our TAG READERS. This is great for non-readers because the TAG reads the book to them and it helps build one-to-one. It's great for Listen to Reading too.
This last fine motor center allows students to put toothpicks in a salt shaker.
I had to make two garters and a mum but I've had lots of practice. I can't believe this will be my girl's last homecoming. I. Can't. Even. (This cabinet is new so that's why it's empty. Ha!)