and First Days
It is sooooo good to be back in
a looping configuration! I have twenty one returning students
and six new kids, five of whom are parental requests. It was
like a reunion this morning with many parents lingering to visit
with me and with one another. When the bell rang makring the
beginning of the day EVERY child grabbed their book tubs, which
my come back crew found stocked with the books they had picked
to begin the year with and the new kids found some carefully
made choices made based on my discussions with their previous
teachers. Only one child had books randomly selected. They all
settled eagerly and willingly into reading and you could have
heard a pin drop, it was so quiet. What a contrast with the chaotic
beginning of the year hallways and many of the classrooms.
During calendar they oooed and awed over the number line, saved
from last year, which ended on the number 170. Today marked our
171st day together and our lst day in 2nd grade. We skip counted
by 11's, 10's and then by ones to 171 (their choices). Several
jumped on the 'remainder' when we counted by 11's. So glad the
math vocabulary is sticking. I have enough calculators for everyone
this year and they really caught the pattern on 11's--the new
kids a bit impressed that you could count by 11's and having
some problems with the calculators. None of them had ever used
them at school and only one child had one at home. Talked about
which way was faster and agreed ten because we all know how and
we had to think harder with 11. Ones takes FOREVER. Spent lots
of time talking about some of the changes in the room--the red
couch is a hit and so is finally having a nice rug for meeting.
They were very attentive and very detail oriented.
We read the top five poems as voted on last spring in reverse
order from 5 to 1. Can't help wondering what anyone in the hallway
thought, as three related to snow. Introduced our poem for this
week, as selected last spring by Travis. He stood up and explained
his drawing, telling us that the he drew the giant grumpy because,
you know, he was kind of rude. It was like, he said, the giant
never said please and just sort of yelled. I drew the pancakes,
that was hard, he said, I made sure there were 100. See the five
piles? And Jamie did some quick work and said I bet there are
20 in each stack--and there were. He explained how he knew that
5 tens is fifty, and then fifty more is another 5 tens, so 2
tens in each pile and that makes twenty, see? Amazing.
We read an old favorite, Chrysanthemum, with me demonstrating
thinking aloud as I read. Some one questioned the meaning of
miserably and used think aloud to demonstrate how I could figure
it out. Hmm, that sounds like misery and misery is....It means
you are unhappily they called. Hmm, maybe miserably means unhappily,
you suppose? And one of the girls said try reading it and say
unhappily so we did. Sounded right...any other clues we can use?
Look, she is so unhappy. Anybody would be unhappy after a day
like that! And so we agreed that miserable is a great word for
unhappy (and we added both unhappily and miserable to the our
jar labeled "Words That Make Us Feel Sad..."
We circled up for handshake and
talked about our job for literacy block today, to read one book
of our choice and to fill out a reading log entry. Amazing how
much my kids remembered about genre! The rest of the morning
spent finishing up first log entries, with returning kids helping
out the newbies. None of my new students, save one, knew the
difference between fiction and nonfiction (let alone the sub
Lunch--no problems! Same seats, same time, no problems!
And the rest of the day went just as smoothly, outside of settling
a few bus related confusions.
OOOOOOh, I love looping.
Lori Jackson has been teaching
for nine years in Todd County, South Dakota. She is currently
teaching as part of a 1-2 looping partnership. Her undergraduate
work was complete at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and,
having accumulated too many credits not to, she is currently
pursuing her master's degree in reading at Sinte Gleske University
in South Dakota. She is a CGI trainer/mentor teacher and uses
the philosophy of Whole Language to guide her classroom practice.