September 2013 - The start of my 28th year of teaching. Honestly, just putting that down in writing makes me tired. But, so far, I am loving every minute. We started only 11 days ago so, when I think about all we've done, I am amazed.
1. Crying - It's true. We all cried already. We are reading The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate and Stella...well, I won't say, in case you haven't read it, but it was heartbreaking. I tried to hold it in but we are all so attached to the characters and, watching little faces while I read, I couldn't do it.
While we are reading, we are discussing each night in Edmodo. We have discussed the structure of the book, argued over the characters, related the purpose of minor characters, made predictions, and agreed that the Stella situation makes us worried for Ivan.
2. Cheering - Much cheering has already gone on but the first time was when we posted our first blogs. We created our Hopes and Dreams for the year and posted these on our new kidblog blogs. When I told the first child, Samantha, that she was now a published author, the whole class cheered. Then they ran to their computers to get their blogs up and running.
We also cheered when the first child beat the chicken around the circle. LOL Okay. Each day we have a class meeting as part of our Responsive Classroom program. The end of the meeting is a game. Beat the Chicken is when the children stand in a circle and pass around a rubber chicken. While it is going around, one child stands in the middle and has to think of five items to fit a chosen topic. We went through three children before Arlyne finally got five rights in the Bill of Rights. The whole class cheered. I almost cried again.
3. Amazement - Jaws dropped and a hushed silence fell over the room when we first connected with Donna Román's class through Skype. We have been learning about the history of the US government in preparation for our US Government research project. So I have been co-teaching with Donna, even though she is in Illinois and I am in New York. The kids couldn't have behaved better, paid more attention, or asked better questions.
Tomorrow, we start the project. The groups, mixed from my class and Donna's class, will research a law through the branches of government. We will be using Google docs, Edmodo, Skype, and a wiki to connect each day.
4. Laughing - So much laughing has gone on. We laughed during our game of catch. We laughed while watching a math video that had mistakes in it (Pearson). We laughed when, during share time, Aidan shared about the battle he had with his brother over gummy bears. We laughed at pictures we took with our Ipads during a scavenger hunt around the school. We made an Animoto video with our pictures. We laughed at Ivan throwing me-balls. Read the book to find out what that is.
5. Complaining - Some complaining has occurred. We complained about the room set-up until we got it right. We moved furniture three days in a row. Each morning, the kids would come in and have to find their desks.
We complain each day about our computers. We still use the ten year old laptops that are falling apart, are slow, and don't always link to the wifi. But we do love using them.
In the next two weeks we will begin our Global Read Aloud book, start our second topic in math, continue our social issues study in reading, have our first mystery skype call, and Skype with Jeremy Gilley about the International Day of Peace (which is today). I cannot wait to see how we handle all of the excitement!
How did the start of your year go?