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

Welcome Back, Class!

Today was the first day of school here at Wiley Elementary  in Urbana. (It was also the first day at all the other elementary schools in the district). My day started bright and early at 5:30 am so I could get to school by 7:30 and doing final preparations. After a summer of professional development workshops and conferences, planning for the new year, studying the Common Core State Standards and familiarising myself with the Next Generation Science Standards, collaborating with my new teaching partner (formerly a kindergarten teacher, she was moved up to fourth grade after some unexpected changes in the building), and lots and lots and lots of organising, the day was ready to start!

I met my class outside by the flagpole, as did all of the other teachers. Then our principal made a few brief remarks, the fifth grade students led us in a recital of the Wiley Promise and the Pledge of Allegiance, and we headed into the building to get to work!

I had my students complete a reading interesting survey and a general interest survey that I will use to help me as I form guided reading groups. We talked about expectations for our class (Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Have Fun), came up with a few rules for our room (listen to the teacher, do your homework, use inside voices, choose kind, and follow directions), and we went over some of our common routines, such as lining up, making lunch choices, getting a chair in the morning, sharpening pencils, and lining up for lunch.

A big chunk of the morning was spent putting our C.O.Y.O.T.E. binders together. The Title I reading teacher who will be working with my class came in to help move the process along. When the binders were complete, I brought the class over to the carpet for a brief discussion about caring for our classroom library and then I read two stories aloud: When I Grow Up and My New Teacher and Me both Al Yankovic.

After lunch we began our first chapter-book read aloud for the year: Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I showed the students the book trailer video before reading, and I immediately found myself wishing I had done this before! Book trailers are such a wonderful way to introduce a story in a way that is much more engaging than just having a teacher talk about the book!

Then it was time for the students to go to library. Afterwards I took the class outside for a much-deserved and much-needed break before we wrapped up our day with our first independent reading (what I call SOAR because I have the students Spread Out And Read), wrote Today’s Topics, packed bags and played Around the World multiplication facts until the bell rang.

What a fantastic start to the year! I am so excited about all of the things we are going to be doing! I have a somewhat smaller class than the past two years, which definitely makes a difference! I can hardly wait to see what tomorrow has to offer!


2 responses

  1. Nicole Tami (Lumina's mom)

    Did you hear today’s NPR piece about “Wonder”?

    September 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    • I did not hear it; thanks for sharing! It does a fabulous job of describing the story and its impact!

      September 12, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s