Recently, one of my students asked how many days are left in first grade. I replied that we weren’t going to think about that yet. She told me she just wondered how long until we will be sad!
I do a lot of reflecting in April, thinking about my class and their progress. The 29 charges with whom I’m trusted this year do keep life interesting! I enjoy their thinking and how they share that, and their perspectives on life. I’ll share a “visit” to our class, starting with the note I received this morning. “Miss Birt, I hope you have a good life. You get loads of stuff done. I hope the best for you! Love, Allie” These kinds of notes make my day and provide motivation to keep going strong.
I noticed Jonathan was hobbling as he went to the gym from music class, and I wondered what was going on. I called him over, and as he half-hopped to me, I realized that he could not walk correctly because his shoelaces were tied together—left shoe to right shoe!
“They got tangled up!”
Hmmm…. Did you ever hear of shoelaces getting tangled up on their own? I told him, “Don’t give me that. What were you doing?”
“I needed something to fidget with in Music!”
This teacher did not have the time or inclination to pick out very tight knots, so Jonathan worked on it, but couldn’t get them either. I said he’ll have to go sock-footed, but he can’t go out of the room like that, so his mom had to bring him other shoes for the day!
The 29 charges with whom I’m entrusted this year do keep life interesting! This morning, one of the first comments I heard was, “Yesterday was the best day ever!” I wondered why Elias said this, assuming it was something from last evening since I couldn’t recall anything out of the ordinary from school yesterday.
He enthusiastically answered, “Because of the play!” Oh, so it was from school!
I was very pleased with the students’ work on that project. We had read “The Gingerbread Boy” as a play, then I read several versions of the story and we compared the stories. I divided the students into four groups and each group was to plan their own “Gingerbread Man” story, determining a setting, characters, plot, and an ending for the story. After planning and practicing, they acted out their stories for the class. We had a gingerbread stingray in a beach setting, a gingerbread Eskimo at the Arctic, a gingerbread boy and a girl in the jungle, and a gingerbread cowboy in the desert. I was very pleased with how they worked together and planned their stories. As I circulated, checking on and guiding groups, I saw one group where the children had a foot extended and Brandon was saying, “Bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish…” to decide who would be the polar bear. Yes, that’s a good way to peacefully make a decision.
Three boys have mastered the use of our classroom computers. They type the password, get on the network, type spelling words, do math facts, and assist other children. One day Computer #5 would not turn on, and I worked with it a little, but didn’t take time to keep after it. The next thing I knew, it was running! I asked about it and they informed me that Daryl had got it to work!
Over here are children writing words with “Bossy R” on our Bossy R posters. This child is climbing up to add words to our “Soft G” Giant. These students are enjoying reading and are so absorbed in their books that they don’t hear me giving instructions. Two are reading books while they eat lunch! The child who told his mom, “I can’t read,” is now reading a nonfiction book about fish and figuring out some fairly difficult words. He is also doing research and has created a poster about fish.
Besides the excitement of learning, we also have the interest of first-grade comments and humor. Kim asked if she could tell something to the class, so during lunchtime she told us all about her weekend. She talked nonstop for about seven minutes! After she finished, Cole drawled, “That took a while!”
After Joel showed his show-and-tell item, he observed, “That truck I brought is REALLY old. It was made in 1999.”
The students were to find some facts at home, and Angie told me, “My mom can really help me with this. She’s on the computer all day.” I thought to myself, “I doubt that, since she has eight children!”
I have told my administrator that I don’t like to be bored, and I can definitely say I am not bored! I love first grade and working with the children. Hopefully this “visit” to our class will provide some inspiration to those who teach the little people, and spur on anyone who teaches!
CONTRIBUTOR: Arlene Birt