The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Day the First

First day. Day one. Day One. D-Day. The Day. The Big Day. T minus zero hours and counting. Whatever you want to call it, today was it.

The students arrived and I, along with the rest of the faculty and staff at Wiley, met them at the front of the building, where we congregated as teachers and students and then recited the Wiley Promise and Pledge of Allegiance. Then it was off to our rooms to start the day!

We spent the first part of the morning just getting to know each other. I asked the students to fill out a couple of questionnaires so that they could tell me about their hobbies, reading habits, favourite books, movies, television shows, etc. Then I took time to introduce myself more fully, sharing my background and how excited I am to be teaching at Wiley this year.

In the middle of my introduction, one of my students said that he has read my blog. I was surprised! Apparently several parents have Googled my name and found this. Welcome, welcome, parents and guardians of my charges! I told the students that I love to blog about my experiences teaching, but that I will never use a student’s name and I will never write anything bad. After all, I want to keep it positive! Who knows, maybe I’ll let the students contribute every now and then!

We then spent the remainder of our morning discussing the three core areas of our school’s positive behaviour expectations: Be responsible, be respectful, and be safe. I asked the students to work in groups of two or three and come up with a list of ways that they can show that they are being responsible, showing respect, and being safe. We are going to talk more about these things tomorrow and Friday, as well.

The afternoon was started off with a read-aloud (I am reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to the class to start the year off), and I was pleased to have a chorus of complaints when I stopped after just 15 minutes. I think I’ll shoot for 30 tomorrow. Then I gave the class time to work on the questionnaires more. Those who finished were given the options to read quietly at their seats, draw pictures, write, or work with the puzzles I have in the back of the room. I have three wooden block puzzles, and Rubik’s cube-type puzzle, and a weird sliding, turning thing that I found with my supplies when I moved in. This will hopefully become a regular practice for the class.

We are going to be going to art class each afternoon for the next six weeks (except on Tuesdays, when we have library in the morning), and then we wrapped up our day by having a class meeting about my core expectations:

  1. Don’t talk when someone else is talking and raise your hand when you have something to share.
  2. Respond appropriately when I say, “Give me five!”
  3. KYHFOOTY – Keep your hands, feet, and other objects to yourself.
  4. No fires and no defenestration.
  5. Have fun with a purpose!

I asked the students to put down their heads and close their eyes and then raise their hands if they were willing to commit to trying their best to meet these expectations. We will be spending more time tomorrow discussing these and drafting our class constitution, wording it in terms of responsibility, respect, and safety.

And then the day was done! I survived and they survived. A few parents popped in at the end of the day to say hello and to see how things went. I was very pleased to be able to give good reports to all who asked. Now to see if this is just a honeymoon period, or if we really are a class ready to change the world!


3 responses

  1. I am glad your first day went so well!

    August 17, 2011 at 5:05 pm

  2. What? You asked them to “put down their heads and close their eyes and then raise their hands if they were willing to commit”?

    Any refuseniks?

    August 17, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    • A couple of boys seemed reluctant to commit, but we’ll see if they actually refuse or if they were just being goofy.

      August 17, 2011 at 6:14 pm

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