The First Day
5:30 a.m.- Yes, you read that correctly. Haleigh had an early wake-up our first day of school, which always heralds an off schedule for her and usually indicates her being out of sorts due to over tiredness.
7:00 a.m.- Breakfast included a slight meltdown by Haleigh. Not a really awful one, but enough of one to confirm my suspicions that this would indeed be an off day for her and therefore, us.
Getting dressed, it was Hannah’s turn. She switched into Turtle Speed and would not shift gears no matter what I said. I had to take several deep breaths and tell myself “There is no hurry. Nothing important is happening. Relax.”
8:15 a.m.- We finally made it into the school room (formerly playroom.) I had a brief recollection that I had decided during my planning phase that 8:30 was a good start time for school with how our mornings usually go around here. I felt much better considering this.
I had waited till the night before to put each piece of work on the shelf displayed on trays or in baskets, set up a dramatic play area, and wrote a blackboard welcome.
They were awed!
Opening the door to the school room was like watching them open a Christmas present! It made all the morning chaos worth it!
Scenes from Our Week
Here are some things we focused on the first week:
Classroom Management: Taking a material off the shelf and carrying it carefully to a table or rug, finishing the work, making sure I check the work before they put it away, putting work away on the shelf, the procedure for painting.
Math: Linear counting (number rods 1-5, counting objects), patterning.
Language: Letters a, and m (beginning sounds with objects and sandpaper letters).
Literature: “Miss Spider’s ABC” by David Kirk, “Arnold’s Apple Tree” by Gail Gibbons, “Fall” by Aaron Carr.
History: Seasons and the calendar.
Science experiment: Apple variety tasting. She got a special science journal for recording her experiments.
I have been keeping my planner with me and checking off the lessons I give and making observational notes.
Some observations I’ve made:
- When Hannah completed a piece of work that required great concentration (cutting with scissors, lessons with letters or numbers) she followed it up with a relaxing activity like dramatic play, or drawing in her journal.
- Haleigh’s favorite work has been scooping pom poms. This surprised me. I thought she would transfer them by hand, but she loves using the spoon. I will have to look for more work like this for her.
I’ve made some changes to the work on the shelves for the next week based on my observations of what worked and what didn’t, and their interest in the activities.
Always observe your children and make changes in the school environment and assignments to suit their needs and interests. It won’t be perfect and it doesn’t have to be. Your classroom is a living, breathing organism that changes on a daily basis. Follow your children, follow your instincts.
What observations of your children and your classroom have you made your first week (or two)?