Saturday, August 26, 2017

First Grade 101

I'm back!

Not much has happened since I left off in April...let's married, honeymooned, spent time with my new grandbaby, changed grades and classrooms.  Nope!  Not much at all!  To say that I've been busy would be an understatement.  Every second that I wasn't planning a wedding or playing with a baby, I was planning for a whole new school world.  Let's just dive right into the first week of first grade, shall we?

I'm going to state the obvious.  First grade is very different from third grade.  Let me break it down.  The first week of third grade we played get to know you games, we read books, we did art projects, and we learned how third grade works.  It's a very fast week and it's hectic, but falls into place pretty easily.  Life with the younger kids goes a little differently. We didn't do any of those activities this week in first grade.

Here is what I've learned in the few short days I've been with six year olds:

Not all first graders can tie shoes.  They can, however, tie knots.
First graders have zero concept of time.  Asking at 8:30 if it's time to go home is a bad sign.
All first graders need to go to the bathroom at the same time.  Never at break time though.
First graders are terrible liars.  
I need to say more than once things like "erasers aren't food" or "we don't eat paper."
First graders have no idea what bus they ride.  
First graders feel sick until they know the iPads are coming out.  (Actually not exclusive to first graders!)
Sometimes first graders just want to cry because they miss their sisters, or moms, or dogs.  In the middle of the day.  For no apparent reason.  
I would say that I hear crickets when I tell jokes to these youngsters but there's no way a person would ever hear a cricket chirping in a first grade classroom.  They are never completely quiet.  Never.  Ever.  
I was worried my new name would be a problem.  I thought I wouldn't get used to it after having a different name for so long.  I'm used to it.  Trust me.  The kids know my name.
First graders need to know what's inside their desks at least once every minute.  I'm looking into desks that lock.
I've learned to count heads quickly and often.  
Most first graders don't read and don't know what year it is.  That's why they didn't notice the sign they were holding on the first day of school had the wrong year on it.  Sadly, I CAN read and I missed it.  24 times I missed it.  

One thing I'm learning is that every day is better than the one before it.  After day one, I realized that I needed a bus rider system. (They really have no idea where they are supposed to go!)  Now I know how to get them out the door in an orderly manner (well sort of) and get them to the correct bus and correct parent. After day two, I figured out that we needed a better morning routine and now we make it to music almost on time!  (Almost every time!)  It took me a week to figure out how I want to do my behavior system but I tweaked it and now I know how it's going to work.  I'm even going to use addition and subtraction with it so it's a win win for everyone.  But it's almost like being a first year teacher.  No one can tell me how it's going to go.  I just have to jump in and see for myself.  Every day is a learning experience.

One more thing I'm learning:  There's zero down time in first grade.  I think writing this blog is the first time I've sat down for more than five minutes in a week so I might be a little tired for awhile.  I'm pretty sure I'll know everything I need to know by retirement.  

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