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


Today was the first day of school with the students, and I must say, it was a great day!

We started the day meeting with all of the students in the building outside around the flagpole, where we recited the Wiley Promise and the Pledge of Allegiance. Then each class headed into the building to get started for school! As I led my class in, I shouted a cheerful, “Allons-y!” (a French phrase that I picked up from the Tenth Doctor that means “let’s go!”)

We started off our day organising our supplies by collecting loose-leaf notebook paper, pencils, and facial tissues. After the students put the rest of their supplies in their desks, I showed them to their lockers, thanked the parents who had come in to help everyone get settled, and we were off and running!

I gave each student a small packet that included an introductory letter from me and a few questionnaires for them to complete to let me know more about themselves. I also took time to tell them about myself, especially my love for reading. I didn’t jump up on chairs like Mr. Sharp, but I did get very excited as I talked about the books I have read and my passion for good literature. Someone in the class said he didn’t like to read, and I decided to put a stop to that silliness right away! I asked the students to raise their hands if they liked watching sports and following scores, if they liked playing games, if they liked math, if they liked science, if they liked doing puzzles, if they liked comic books, graphic novels, or looking at pictures that tell stories. Each student raised his or her hand at least once. I pointed out that all of those activities require reading. Sure, some students may not like to read a particular style of written word, but all of them like to read, and I assured them that we were going to do a lot of reading in fourth grade!

We took time before lunch to start brainstorming our classroom expectations, which I wanted the students to decide upon on their own. I did guide them in identifying expectations that used positive language (“be kind to others” instead of “don’t push/fight/bully/say mean things”) and I helped them condense some similar ideas, but otherwise our expectations are all theirs, and each student agreed to do his or her best to meet the expectations. (We are going to work out some of our classroom procedures tomorrow afternoon.)

After lunch I did my first read aloud of the year, which was a quick read of a very simple book. During my “I love reading!” talk, I mentioned the book Danny and the Dinosaur and so I chose to read it to the class to demonstrate that even simple books can be fun to read.

We reviewed hallway and playground expectations and then went outside for our afternoon recess. While outside, we were joined by the other fourth grade class, both fifth grade classes, and one of the third grade classes. We won’t always be outside at the same time, but it was fun having everyone out together to play and celebrate the first day of school.

The last part of the day was spent with the class working independently on their questionnaires and writing letters to me to let me know more about themselves. They had the option to take the packet home or leave it at school. Some finished, but most were still working. I will be collecting them tomorrow. Then we packed up and the day was day!

Not every day will be like today, of course. We will be getting into the core content areas soon enough. But it is always great to start the year off with getting to know each other and setting the expectations that will guide our classroom behaviour for the rest of the year. Oh, and to all of the new parents who are finding their way to my blog: Welcome! Feel free to leave comments, ask questions, and talk to your children about what we did today! Allons-y!


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