Presently all of our Kindergartens are full or nearly full - I was overloaded for most of the week, actually - so at least we don't have class collapse fear. Overall for the week things were fine: no accidents even. Alas, on Thursday one child was absent. She returned Friday only to throw up, in which she was joined by several of her peers.
I was hanging up the rainbows the kids made Friday and I realized that they were probably the best set a class had produced yet. Almost everyone used all six color strips and got them in rainbow order (I number them to help them out a little bit...if they know their numbers). Yet at the time they were making the rainbows I was feeling totally overwhelmed by child insanity, adult insanity, noise and trivial misbehaviors all adding up to SYSTEM FAILURE.
I think this is a little bit feedback from the start of last year, when our classes were small and we were stressed. And I started last year with a student who was entirely out of control: body memory, I guess. Anyway, it's a good reminder to chill out and care less about the small stuff, or the times when sixteen kids need my total attention at the same time and two other kids are throwing bits of paper at each other. Even when they don't all get the attention and the paper bits collect like snow, the rainbows still get made and I don't need to be all tense and grumpy and join the paper fight myself.
In other news, I wore this the first day of school:
|Got it at a thrift store, new with tags.|
For readalouds, I stuck with the excellent-yet-brief/audience-participatory favorites: Tickle the Duck, Knuffle Bunny, Z Goes Home - stuff like that. We also made Texas Snowflakes (but haven't turned them into hats yet), had a garden lesson, two parachute PE blocks and one visit to the Imagination Stations (the play kitchen is popular, but still nothing compared to the Dress Up Bureau). I made new alphabet first-run sheets this year and broke out the Handwriting Without Tears letter building blocks and magnetic boards (which as soon as I have a slot on Donors Choose available I am begging for more of. Hmmm, awesome syntax there.).
Skillwise my class is all over the place. I have only three students who need to learn how to use scissors and several kids who can write their names. Two kids are reading a little and one can do a little phonetic spelling. Several will benefit from the letter/number sorting game we will play on Monday. The behavior patterin is interesting; I have very little hitting/pushing/shoving overall but a lot of issues with kindness/sharing/negative self-talk. We started Caring School Communities on time and I think it will make a difference.
Procedurally, we have made a good start at composting/trash/recycling, walking in a line and respecting personal space. Friday we started on work completion expectations. Scissor safety is going well; glue use not so well. I did a poor job of glue stick demonstration. Also, my hypothesis around mechanical pencils (that massive lead wasting would not occur if we had them on day one) has failed.
My general teaching philosophy is that it is useless to teach all policies on the first day, because the children cannot learn them all and the teacher cannot reinforce them all. So I introduce a few at a time. This seems to work.
Resident-wise, my resident is confident and can give directions, lead a table group and read Tickle the Duck (which allows for two daily reads, since I refuse to read it more than once a day). With her first week schedule I don't really think we had any feedback time, so I am trying (not too well) to use the method I saw Adria Klein use: you're there and you pop in as needed. The kids like her a lot.
One of my students had a bedwetting incident last week, which is possibly a school stress because my teacher is mean thing, or a sleeping so heavily because of the rigors of all day Kindergarten thing, or part of the coming of the virulent fever and flu with which this child was afflicted shortly thereafter. This makes me sad. On the positive side, I have not yet had many children disappearing into waitlist schools with no goodbye. I can say that that behavior makes many many many teachers feel rejected and mean. (I know because it comes up at lots of trainings when Kindergarten teachers sit together.) So far, only one student has left for another school, and I was keeping that child an hour after school because she was on the after school program wait list and her mom had no way to pick her up before then - clearly a case where a wait list opening was a blessing.
In the best news of the week, I am not going to school this weekend. YAY!