Monthly Archives: September 2012

4 Down, 34 To Go

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This week was rough, and for only one reason: it was back-to-school night. Ugh.  Back-to-school night is when parents come, listen to you talk, and ask you questions.  All the questions are about how you conduct the class, so you’re predisposed to be defensive about it.

I had a parent who kept saying there wasn’t enough time for math. I said that I understood (I really do!), but that if we add time to math, we have to take away from another subject and we need to have time for all four core subjects.  She just kept shaking her head saying that we needed more than an hour for math.

Then, 20 minutes later the same parent said that we needed to have art integrated into the school day. I was a bit speechless because I’m sure that if I had art listed as one of the periods, she would have suggested cutting it to make more time for math.  I was so confused!

The other thing about back-to-school night that’s rough is that all the parents are asking questions about their child. Parents can’t help it. They don’t care how the rest of the class is doing, they care about the issues that pertain to their child. But, I can’t answer questions about their child for two reasons

1) The principal doesn’t want me to talk about personal matters. It’s about school policy and class rules.

2) If parents really thought about it, they wouldn’t want other parents to hear private information about their child.

For instance, if a parent hypothetically says that he notices his child never remembers his homework and what am I going to do about it, does the parent really want every other parent to hear: “I have 21 children and your child is the one that consistently forgets his homework”?

Of course not!

So, I’m stuck in this weird limbo situation where I can either answer that person’s question and embarrass him (not good) or fumble around and give a non-answer so as not to embarrass the parent and embarrassing me in the process (also not good.)

I almost always opt for the latter. So, the parents go home thinking that I’m an idiot, I go home thinking that I really don’t like back-to-school night and feeling bad about all the questions that sound accusatory to me (because I feel defensive about the way I do things).

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Ironically, the situation will swap in a few weeks. Parent-teacher conferences will be in October and the whole subject of THAT discussion will be the child, not me.

So, the parents get to feel scared and defensive and I ask questions and talk about their child.

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3 Down, 35 To Go

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I know I’m late on this post, but this weekend was craaa-zy busy. Friday was a dinner party. Saturday was errands, hiking around Wild Basin and a dinner party. Sunday was church, more errands, and family dinner. So, I’m late this week and if you’re offended, you can stop reading my blog. I understand.

Things are finally calming down at school. The kids are sort of getting in the school habit, and I’m not having to spend as much time discussing rules and procedures. It feels so much better to be me, rather than grouchy, mean, rule-meister me.

In language arts, we began learning about character and setting.  We also began our literacy groups.  It worked well having the students between two different activities, but I think I’m going to have to tweak it a bit because I have so many chatty children. 

In math, we took our first quiz and the average score was an A, which is always nice. We then began our second topic on comparing numbers.  The kids really get “less and least” but have trouble with “greater and greatest” because they want it to be “more and most.”

In social studies, we kept learning about maps and the sequence of days of the week and months of the year. Unfortunately, math keeps bleeding into our social studies time and we have very little time to actually work. Oh well, it’ll get better. 

In science, we finished up our unit on the scientific process skills. Students made a packet on each skill used in the context of seeds. We measured using seeds, compared seeds, described seeds, categorized seeds and finally define what a seed was based on our five sense. 

 

2 Down, 36 To Go

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This picture pretty much sums up my school week. There were some highs, some lows, but it ended up OK.  I had this fantasy in my brain last year, that when I got to my second year, I would make many fewer mistakes because not everything was new to me.

I was wrong. I still make mistakes. Lots of mistakes. And, I already have some parents complaining that their child thinks school is boring. I have to, very gently, tell them that if a six-year-old spends two months doing whatever fun thing they please and getting immediate attention from mom and dad, then suddenly is told that they are not going to do whatever they want and will have to patiently wait, sometimes for a long time, for me to come over…they’re bound to think it’s dull!

We practiced reality and fantasy this week in language arts, as well as writing complete sentences that begin with a capital letter and end with appropriate punctuation. We also practiced our reading stations and hopefully will be ready to work independently next week.

In math, we’re reviewing numbers 1-12 and recognizing dot patterns, like those found on dice.  The main goal this week was to get students used to the first grade workmat and learn how to work more independently.

In social studies, we are discussing rules and consequences, and also learning about how time happens in a particular sequence of days, months, and years.

In science, we are exploring our scientific process skills through seeds. Students examined and sorted objects into categories: “seeds” and “not seeds.”  Then, they had to explain how they knew which were seeds and which were not.  Students then looked at giant lima beans, both dry and wet, and observed the differences between the two.

1 Down 37 To Go

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Well, this week was only 3 days, but it felt like a full week. The first day is so boring, and I have to spend a great deal of time shuffling around trying to label, sort, put away, and count school supplies.  Also, our textbooks came in that day, so I had to haul books for about 30 minutes.

I could barely stay vertical by the end of the day.  I was driving home when I realized that it was Wednesday—Bible study day. Fortunately, I was 1 exit away from I-35 and could easily get back going the correct direction. Thank goodness I noticed then, and not once I got home…

There are more kids this year than last year, but not as many as I thought there would be. I originally had 24, but 1 left and 1 was supposed to be in second grade all along. I now have 22 enrolled, but 2 are still on vacation, so I only had 20 the first day. Also, the beginning of school started with a bug; a 102 degree fever, vomiting, sniffles bug to be exact. So, I ended up with only 18 on Thursday and Friday.

I’m excited to start learning next week now that we’ve got policies and procedures down!

Also, I posted pictures of my classroom here.