Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hello, 2012!

I'm getting student #24 tomorrow. Technically, this will be the 27th kid I've had this year. 28..including our sweet friend who pushes in from the SpEd room.

I really have no idea how you teach 24 first graders in one room. It's 24 vs. 1. I realize I'm the teacher, but sheesh. Those are some crazy odds.

I feel like I'm going to be forced to pick and choose who I teach. How nutso is that!?!

We had a quick little grade level data meeting today to discuss our Early Star Literacy scores from December. The Superintendent of Elementary C & I said that our kiddos should at least fall into the "Transitional Reader" category at this point in the year. I still have 6 that are below that in "Emergent Reader". HOWEVER, just one month ago, I had TWELVE!! I cut that number in half! Woo!!

In looking at those 6...2 are ELL and 2 receive Tier 3/Title 1 instruction. So, really...the last two are my biggest concern. Is that not picking and choosing or what? Makes no sense to me.

Common Core Math is whoa. Whoever set the pacing for us this year was on some kinda crack or something. The windows for each unit are incredibly short. And with CC we HAVE to teach the skills to mastery. I have to fight the urge to roll my eyes every time we talk about it. I swear the people in positions of "leadership" have no common sense.

We read "How Full is Your Bucket?" yesterday. I had my kids draw another kid's name at random and then write or draw something to them that would fill their bucket. I heard lots of "I like his/her shoes". We got lots of new shoes for Christmas. :) Two of my favorites were "_____ is my hero" and "_____ is really funny". So sweet. One girl asked if she could write one to me. She said that she thought my nails were pretty. They're currently hot pink. haha! I may or may not be using the line "you're emptying my bucket" for my kids that won't stop talking or interrupting me. I've also had a few kids tell me they felt their buckets were empty, so we brainstormed why and how we could fix it. If this gets them to think about how their behaviors effect each other, then I have definitely succeeded this year.

Ooo...I can get them little buckets as an end of the year thing. Gotta remember that.

We're also writing New Year's Resolutions. Two of my sweet kiddos want to be better spellers. One wants to drink more milk. One wants to get better at driving her little play jeep. Quite a few want to be better helpers for their parents. We talked about ridiculous resolutions vs. realistic resolutions. Sky diving and driving cars are ridiculous resolutions for a 1st grader. They loved hearing that. I think this group is a lot more realistic with their resolutions than my kiddos were last year.

We also made a patchwork quilt square to make a classroom quilt. We talked about how each of us is different and unique but together we make a beautiful masterpiece....and how it takes teamwork to accomplish this. I surprisingly feel like we're pulling ourselves together.

I am going to try to figure out what to do with my life after this year. I am looking at gaining certification in another state to be closer to my parents. I also heard about a program there that works with children who have autism. They work with the students and families outside of the classroom. I have decided that the part I love most about my job is coming up with creative solutions to learning issues. It's rather daunting to do for 24 students. I feel I am most effective, creative, inspired and on my game when I work with less kids (as I'm sure most people feel). I am definitely going to be looking into this and consequently pursuing a Masters in Special Education.

We have a little more than 70 days until State testing. No snow days in sight. I still haven't decided if that's a good thing or not. I'd like at least 1 or 2.

I am extremely thankful for the grace to teach. I am even more thankful that these first two days back haven't left my bucket completely empty at the end of the day. :)


  1. Our kindergarten teachers all have 27 and our 1st grades all started at 30 this year!

  2. Wow. That's insane. In 3 years, I've only had 20 max. I realize this is nothing. I just feel like my room is closing in on me. Finding center/station space is the biggest challenge. But we make it work. I have nothing but awe for teachers who make it work.