Thursday, September 5, 2013

I can see Friday! :)

Happy almost Friday bloggers! We've nearly made it through the first week of school here in Michigan. It's been gloriously warm and I'm very thankful we have air conditioning in my building, especially after walking up three flights of stairs in a sun-filled stairwell! You walk into the upper hallway and a blast of cooling air hits you. Bliss!

I am LOVING being back in 4th grade, not being in a split. LOVE.IT. The 3rd/4th split is dissolving to become a 4th/5th split (yes, my very job that they claimed wouldn't exist this year...ha!) and the interim principal asked me if I would take it since I had it last year. I said absolutely not. No way, Jose. I even went so far as to point out that if they made me do it, I'd quit (and I knew they couldn't make me anyway). I took that job last year when no one else wanted it and how was I repaid? I had to apply for and interview for my own job, which I didn't even get, then got jerked around all summer just to end up back where I started. Not doing that to myself again, thankyouverymuch. (Plus it would be totally unfair to make the same person have the split twice in a row. Share the wealth people.)

Besides, I would not be able to part with any of my 4th graders. Even my "toughest one" (and he isn't nearly as tough as he thinks--I give it until the end of September before I "break him" so to speak) isn't worth giving up. In fact, I got a new kiddo both Wednesday and Thursday (late enrollments from other schools) so I had to rearrange my tables and groups because I had way too many (I prepared for 30 just in case) so we had enough room for my 25 kiddos but weren't moving around tables we didn't need. I put this "tough guy" at a single desk on his own and today was A MILLION TIMES better in terms of helping him control himself. I really hate putting kids in single seats like that (especially so early!) but apparently that's what this little guy needs so I feel okay with the choice. He isn't so far removed from everyone that he can't work with a partner if needed but he has his own space and that seemed to help a lot today. 

I really love my class. I do. They are talkative but what kids aren't? I always seem to get the low kiddos too. I'm not sure why that is. We started MAP testing today and I emphasized to the kiddos that they didn't have to finish the test today but several did and their scores are VERY low (early 1st grade!). Yikes. Alas, this isn't terrible because it gives us TONS of room for growth but its still overwhelming and a bit terrifying to think of the level of work we have to do to get the kiddos up to par. But I have had this happen every year I've been at my school and my lowest kids always end up making a ton of progress so I'm hoping that trend continues.

They are super sweet and they get my silly so its quite fun going to school. :) In 3rd grade they have this huge project in cooperation with a local art museum and in 4th grade, we continue on with that project for our first writing unit. It's a SUPER fun unit wherein the students look at art from varying perspectives and then do some writing about it (both informational and narrative). I loved teaching it last year and was very much looking forward to working on it this year too. We started today. There is a picture the students look at with animals on it and we focus on details and descriptions, what they see, what they might hear if they were there, what they might smell (and yes, one kid hesitantly said..."poop?" haha!). To make it more fun and memorable, I asked them to think about what the animal might taste (or want to taste!) and said, "Maybe that Lion sees Mrs. Wood and notices the lil bit of extra flesh around her belly button and decides she's going to make a tasty meal", all said while patting my tummy. The kids giggle like crazy so I turn it up a notch and say, "well, that Lion decides he needs some dipping sauce so he's going to have Mrs. Wood with some {student name} dipping sauce" and they're roaring. But I can promise you that when we review descriptions in a week, every single one of those children is going to remember that lesson because I turned my silly on. :)

During reading this morning I told them that I was going to give them a present and they all gasped in delight. I pulled out my Total Participation folders and they were so happy! What could be better??? I mean, honestly. It has taken them a bit to warm back up to school mode but every day they are more engaged, more willing to share and are getting more comfortable. I know this year is going to be a long road in terms of the amount of progress we need to make, but I also know it is going to be one of my best year's yet. I can just tell by how amazing this first week has gone (a miracle in and of itself with all of the transition our school has gone through with changes in staff and getting a new principal). 

All of that said, however, I am looking forward to a weekend with my family. We are taking the girls to see a dinosaur exhibit (its Middle Child's current obsession). It will be awesome to spend some time with my family without worrying about all of the school work I need to do because I'm almost entirely set for next week's plans and just have a few grades to finish up from today. Love that! :)
The Caffeinated Teacher


  1. Yay! I'm so happy your first week went well-especially not knowing where you would land all summer. Good for you for standing up for yourself and saying no! I think you'll take these kids so far, people will be amazed at how much progress they've made by the end of the year. Hope your next week goes as well!

    :) Kaitlyn
    Smiles and Sunshine

  2. glad you stood your ground! hope next week is awesome. can you give me some more info on MAP testing or point me in a direction to find more? thanks, amanda