I had my first 2 weeks back (1 teacher week and 1 week with kiddos). I can confidently say that this year may be the best year I've had yet. My team is absolutely wonderfully fantastic- and my students, well they are even better than absolutely wonderfully fantastic! It is funny to me all of the stories receiving teachers hear each year about groups of students moving up to that grade, and how many of those stories become an inaccurate description of those exact children. I think that shows how important it is for us as educators to allow them to come into a new school year (school day, even!) with a clean slate- we all make mistakes. I think sometimes when we are in the throws of the school year it's easy to say that but not actually mean it. We ALL really do make mistakes- even us teachers! :)
We spent the entire first week working on building our community, setting expectations, practicing reading stamina (my class read 28 minutes uninterrupted on Friday!!!!), and making our classroom our home for the year. As part of our building a class community, we have had a Class Meeting each day at the end of the day where we Take Care of Business, and then play a Class Activity that is geared towards encouraging them to see that when we work as a team, we are so much more successful! If you click this LINK, it will take you to my 4th grade Pinterest board, where you can find some of the activities we have done!
In addition to building a community, my students and I go through a 4 -day/step process to eventually agree on our class rules on day 5. Here is the progression:
Day 1- Brainstorm things they loved about past teachers.
Day 2- Brainstorm things they didn't love about past teachers.
Day 3- What should I expect of them as 4th graders?
Day 4- What should they expect of me as their teacher?
It is absolutely amazing to me each year how beautifully they put the rules on day 5. Here are the rules my 4th graders thought were important for this school year:
1. Follow the EES 3 (be safe, respectful, and responsible)
2. Treat others the way you want to be treated, and they will do the same for you.
3. Be helpful and kind to each other.
I mean seriously! I almost started crying. These children already know the golden rule!!!!!! If we all followed these rules a little more closely, this world would be such a better place..
Just some food for thought from my amazing children.
~Miss McDonald :)