First Day Jitters

Hi all

 

I am trying to figure out how I can encourage the kids to talk about their feelings, worries, concerns, excitement, happiness, wonderings and all sorts from day one. 

I found these two snippets on Youtube that showcase the nerves and excitement of the first day.

and

and I really love this one…

I’m thinking of using these snippets to start a conversation about their feelings about being back at school. 

What do you do to ease nerves on the first day?

Photos of my classroom

So I got into the classroom last week to get things organised and arrange some stuff. 

I got about 15 minutes into it and I wanted to cry! I had to make LOTS more mess before I could make it look any better. 

The room still had lots of things in it that didn’t belong to me, or resources that could have been mine but I wasn’t sure. Turns out that the resources were all for me to use, but needed a bit of tidying up.

There was also no one that I could hear around the school. It felt very eerie and strange. I tried a bit of music for background noise but it was still far too quiet for me to feel comfortable and ‘at home’, so truth be told I left much earlier than what I should have in order to achieve everything. 

These are the photos of the room before my final tidy up this week, but I am pretty happy with it all. There are still a few things on my to-do list that need to be done to be put up in the room also. 

ImageThese are where I am asking the children to keep rubbers, glue, scissors and pencils. Image

 

Desk organisation, credited to http://littlelovelyleaders.blogspot.ch/2012/08/classroom-complete.html

I like the idea of organising the ‘horse shoe’ groups so that I can physically ‘reach’ each child if need be. My classroom also doesn’t have any ‘jellybean’ or ‘kidney’ tables for guided reading so this ensures I can take guided reading groups also. ImageImageImage

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I love this, as even at a young age, my students will take responsibility of their learning and discuss their learning. 

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I am ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

 

 

First day

My emotions about starting school went from wanting it to start yesterday and to get in and get my hands dirty, to utter dread. I was so nervous and just lost all interest in it all together. 

My first official day at the school was on Wednesday (23rd January). I met all of the staff and they were just lovely. I felt a little caught in the middle though. I was in a room full of lovely people, who are so kind, but they did not know me at all. They were all so excited to see each other and I was caught in between conversations they had with each other, that I knew nothing about. So many people came up to me and introduced myself which I was so grateful for, however, I cannot remember the last time I was in a room, being the only new person. That’s who I am, the new girl. Being quite young (in comparison to the people in the room), I also felt like I had to prove myself a little, as I just felt so out of place. 

Recently, I found the TED app for my iPad. I am HOOKED on watching the speakers, I really am. This video, 

Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are 

is what significantly changed that mindset. Watch it, it will get you thinking, and you’ll understand this next part. 

Before I went to school on Friday, I stood in the mirror and acted out the ‘power’ poses. I stood with my arms in the air, as I ate my breakfast, I sat relaxed and opened, not hunched over the table, scooping up my muesli and drinking my coffee. 

Wow. I joined in on conversations. I asked more questions. I approached new people and said, ‘Everyone seems to know my name but I haven’t met you properly yet, what grade do you teach?’ I got a little angry with myself as I worked in retail for years and had to walk up to strangers on a daily basis and find out all sorts of things about them. In that environment, though, I ‘owned’ the space, it was ‘mine’ and they were ‘guests’. In this environment, while I am not a ‘guest’ and I work there just as much as my colleagues, I’m not familiar and they have a very tight-knit community.

Either way, that video made me think about how I was presenting myself. As Amy Cuddy says, you don’t need to have the same body language all the time, it’s more about having the body language for a short while to trick your brain a little. 

I am proud to say that Amy was right. “Our bodies change our minds, and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.”

I think for a little while longer I will need to keep up these ‘power poses’. 

Stay tuned for photos of my classroom!

Jemma

Classroom organisation

So my focus has shifted a little to the organisation of our classroom. This did arise from thoughts about the first day of school. To be truthful I didn’t get too far, as I stumbled across the school supplies list that will be at each child’s desk. Once I saw that, I started to consider how the supplies and resources will be organised. 

 

I stumbled across this blog, which has great ideas about classroom organisation. The colour coded baskets this teacher has are a great idea and I love them. It also fits quite well with the fact that the children are coming from Prep, and will not have had much experience in having their own resources to be responsible for. If I can ease the children into this slowly, by giving them a group basket to be responsible for, it should work quite nicely. 

 

I am considering making  one child each week responsible for counting all materials so that they are kept track of and that the ‘responsibility’ aspect of having personal items is established fairly quickly. I am thinking of linking the leaders into the weekly job chart.

I apologise if it seems I am ‘thinking out aloud’ a little too much, but this is the beginning of my journey at I’ve not had to do any of this for myself before! I’ve never been in a Year One Classroom! If you have any suggestions or tips please let me know! 

Jemma 🙂

Literacy stations

I am currently in the process of getting my head around literacy activities for Grade One. The school I am at follows the ‘Magic Words’ sight word lists (new to me) so am in the process of familiarising myself with them and creating activities based on these words (to work within the literacy program). 

 

I just discovered this blog, Mrs. Kelly’s Kindergarten, Another Round of Literacy Work Stations, online and am stealing a few ideas. 

 

Any literacy work activities that you use in your classroom that you’d like to share?

Classroom preparation (part one of what I think will be many!)

So the Christmas rush is over, my partner and I have secured a rental apartment for 2013 and we move in just under two weeks! I’ve packed just about everything that needs to be packed and am now onto arranging resources for our classroom next year.

I have had lots of ‘First day of school’ anxiety and questions that have popped up all of a sudden so have tried to be really proactive.

On K-3 Teacher Resources I have found so many useful resources. I paid about $25 for a year’s membership and it’s come in handy a whole lot. I downloaded a huge puzzle with 30 pieces in it. They are blank pieces for the children and I to decorate to put together as a whole-class puzzle. I will have 23 in my class, and I’ll make 24. Ideally, I’d like the children to think of 6 things we need to do so that the class can work together well. I’ll group the children to work on the last six pieces together so that they’re decorated. I think that will make a great first day activity for us to work on.

I’ve also seen on Pinterest, a treasure hunt to work through for all of the school supplies. I like the idea of that as it makes it a bit of a game and the children can collect ‘treasure’. I’m working on the list I’ve been given that they’ll have and how we can make it a fun experience!

How do you work your first day of school?

Regards
Jemma

Warm Fuzzies

Like I posted not long ago, I’ve been thinking lots about behaviour management and how ‘good’ behaviour should and could be rewarded. One idea I saw on Pinterest was a ‘Warm Fuzzies’ idea.

 

Warm andFuzzy

 

Like I said I was taking into consideration the idea from Harry K Wong that rather than having rules, where children are rewarded for following, I planned to have more procedures. Ideally procedures do not have consequences should children not follow them. The only thing the teacher should have to say is, ‘What is the procedure?’. If children choose to not follow the procedure consistently, the procecdure then has a rule, which has positive and negative consequences if not followed.

I really thought about this, and I figured children always need positive reinforement to keep them motivated as a group to learn together, take responsibility of their learning and to be kind to one-another. Harry K Wong also says that children should not be rewarded for following a procedure (and I don’t think they should be rewarded for following a rule, as it is an expectation, not something they should do just to get a reward).

It’s for these reasons, that I like the idea of the ‘Warm and Fuzzies’ Jar. Each time I see a child trying their hardest, being kind to another person or following the values of the school where I am at, I’ll ask them to put a pom pom in the jar.

The reward of this jar is also something that follows the thoughts of Harry K Wong, who states that children shouldn’t be given a tangible ‘thing’ for doing something ‘good’, rather they should have ‘time’ to celebrate. He suggests that they should be given free time to complete unfinished work. I quite like the idea of this, but wouldn’t mind having a prize jar, with different rewards in it that can be drawn out when the jar is full.

Some ideas for this prize jar include:

  • Free play outside in a different playground that they’re used to
  • Ball game outside
  • Free time inside to complete unfinished work
  • Board game afternoon

I like these ideas because they still ensure children’s learning in a different way.

What are your thoughts?

Jemma

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