Ahhh it’s Sunday night and I have finally caught my breath enough to find time to sit down and write a quick blog post about my first few days in the classroom.
After my bout back to school jitters time passed rather quickly and I found myself infront of a classroom of Grade 4 students all looking at me their teacher. After I attempted to take attendance – rule of thumb your electronic attendance sheet with fail you on your first day regardless of your tech savyness. I said good morning, welcomed everyone into Grade 4 and pressed play on my computer to show them a video of what they have to look forward to this year.
I have to say this video worked great as an icebreaker! I tend to be a little bit awkward infront of groups of new people, so showcasing the year ahead from the start was awesome!
After the video and a short introduction about Grade 4 and who I was we convened on the carpet and I started off the by reading the students on of my favourite books “An Awesome Book”. We looked at the illustrations and then I gave them time to get creative and draw or write depending on comfort level. I think a few students were relieved that I didn’t ask them to write a paragraph about themselves but instead just asked them to create something for our classroom wall.
After recess I introduced the notion of the 3 R’s of Grade 4:
Respect this Place
Together we discussed what each of these looks like, feels like and sounds like. I also made it clear that our classroom is a safe place for us to learn and that everyone has a responsibility to keep it so. During the course of the week we referred to the list frequently when anything in the classroom arose that needed clarification. The 3 R’s has since morphed into the 5 R’s of Grade 4 with Respect others space and be Responsible added to the list. We talk about our expectations and classroom norms everyday at our daily meetings on the carpet.
After getting creative some students asked if they could read so I gave them the opportunity to explore our book baskets. You could just see they were excited about getting their hands on some books to read and by the end of the day each child had stowed away 3 books to read for the next day. We launched right into daily 5 as I could see they were so eager and ready to go! At some point during the exploration/reading time I asked the students if they thought they could categorize all our books. The happily said yes and off they went with their friends and started creating names for our book bins!
You’ll see that I tried to arrange my classroom books so they’d be accessible if all students wanted to browse at the same time. Granted I only have 13 students but I have found that the three areas helps keep everyone happy and movement flowing.
Lots of the mechanics of running a classroom has been up for discussion. Such as what classroom jobs we should have and whether I should assign them or students sign up for their jobs. The class decided they’d sigh up and for those who didn’t sign up for anything – I signed found them a job to do. Incidently I created enough jobs that each and everyday every student has a responsibility to carry out in our room. This video below highlights why teamwork is so awesome.
One last thing to mention is the importance of having an “Papers in” and “Papers Out” box. I’m the kind of teacher who if someone hands something to me I’ll put it on my desk and forget about it immediately. So in an effort to avoid losing important things I have taught the kids to put in any forms they are returning into our “papers in bucket” so at lunch/prep time I can go through the bucket and see who has returned what. As I am handed forms to hand out I place them in our “papers out” basket. Then at the end of the day I simply go through and hand out what needs to be handed out to the kids. I may challenge a group of students to create mailboxes for us at some point this year but alas we shall see what time allows.
All in all it has been a great few days in Grade 4! We are reading and writing and having lots of fun learning together! I can’t wait for the rest of the school year!