Today was really terrific. As a teacher, you do much to prepare for this big day. There is so much anticipation. There is always a tiny little voice in the back of my head wondering if it will be worth all the hard work.
If I had to do it all over again. I'd do it exactly the same way. It helps that this group of students is particularly observant, thoughtful, and grateful. They really seemed to like the room and they went out of their way to let me know this. In particular, they liked the classroom library! Pure joy is what I'm feeling as I put a ton of time and fair amount of money into the classroom library this year.
It was a terrific day. Before I go too much further, let me share one little fact. It was, at the end of the day, approximately 1/2 hour after the kids left, 88 degrees in my classroom. In our town it was 96 degrees with a heat index higher than that. Can you believe I'm saying the day was terrific? It really was though. I'm not lying.
I seem to have a great group of kids this year. One of the activities we did was a math lesson called 100#s. It is an activity that my team found at Sara Van Der Werf's blog. (She is definitely worth checking out!) The intention of the activity is to create a picture of what collaborative problem solving looks like. This was the perfect lesson for that purpose. While math focused, all students could access the content. The task really did lend itself to collaboration and fun. My students moved through each round with the best of intentions. I didn't hear anyone use a bossy tone and no one came to me with a tattle. This is rare. Usually, at the beginning of the year, while classroom norms are being established and students have little understanding of my expectations, there is a struggle to work collaboratively that sometimes even ends in tears. I am absolutely hoping that this is a sign of amazing things to come but there is a tiny part of me that wonders if the kids were just too hot to argue with one another! I'm fairly sure it is the former and not the later. There are amazing things in store for us!
At the conclusion of the day, I sat down and phoned my students' parents. More often than not the parents thanked me for calling and agreed with some of the observations I had made about their children. These parents also reported that they had already had detailed conversations with their child about the school day. Despite the oppressive heat, we are all feeling fairly optimistic about the school year. I had to leave quite a few voicemails. I promised myself that I'll work hard to make contact with those parents soon. But for now, I couldn't be happier with the feeling of optimism!