Thursday, October 25, 2012

Where I Am

I have now been working at my new school for 16 days. Each day, things get a little better. Want to see how my usual day goes? Sure you do! If not, scroll to the bottom of this post, because there is a little something there for you! 

8:15 - I arrive! I go sit at my desk. Yes, I have a desk. Sometimes I make copies for Mr. Shizuko. If not, I usually just sit around until the kids arrive. 

8:35 - The kids come bursting in! They usually hand their homework to me or Mr. Shizuko. It all ends up on my desk eventually. I sort it into piles. (They always have a math worksheet and a handwriting page, and then there are always the late assignments trickling in, permission slips, reading logs, etc.) The kids are aloud to read, draw, or work on already started work for a while. We say the Pledge, have a moment of silence, hear announcements, and all that junk.

9:00 - Today is the first day that we started Guided Reading. I had a crazy group of five boys: Antonovka, Redfree, Spencer, Adam and Davey. You may remember from my Meet The Kids post that  I said Davey is a sad, quiet little boy. Well, I've since learned that he has a mischievous side. He craves attention, and will push as hard as he can to see how far he can go with you, either by clinging to you and asking for you to help him with everything, or by purposely misbehaving by acting like a monkey and making goofy noises and saying "No!" when you ask him to stop. Adam also has trouble controlling his behavior. Nothing terrible... just goofy, like making silly noises, grabbing things off the table, standing up and jumping around, yelling, etc. Antonovka, Redfree and Spencer are much more mild-mannered, and are often just sitting quietly and waiting while I am trying to settle the others down,  but of course, being 6-year-old boys, they can get drawn into it and start acting out as well. So Guided Reading should be fun, huh? I'm going to try doing what I did with the Early Literacy Skill Builders kids in student teaching, and letting them earn the opportunity to play a reading game after we finish our regular work. 

9:30 - Mr. Shizuko teaches a whole group reading lesson. This is a time that Wyken has a lot of trouble with. Sitting on the floor and staying quiet is torture for him! He blurts out whatever he is thinking, of course without raising his hand, and squirms around like crazy. Mr. Shizuko tries to be tolerant with him, but often gets irritated at all the distractions. I try to take Wyken for a walk or to the gym to play basketball during this time, but sometimes he doesn't want to go because he doesn't like being different from the others. 

10:00 - Usually the lesson part of whole group reading is followed by an individual assignment, like a worksheet. Wyken is good at this and will sit and concentrate. This is when I grade homework and mark it down in the grade book. Not grades, exactly. I draw stars on their papers, correct any mistakes, and put a check in the grade book if they did it at all. 

10:30 - Sometimes there is some sort of science or social studies activity here. Today they learned about cumulus clouds, and then made some of their own by gluing stretched out cotton balls on paper. 

11:00 - Gym class, Usually pretty fun. Since they're only in first grade, the usually get to play games. I don't have to do much but stand and watch them and be amused! They look so cute when they are running around frantically! Especially today, since it was Pajama Day, and they were playing Tag in their jammies!

11:30 - Time to just work more on whatever projects we started during the day. 

11:45 - Lunch time, yay! At least, yay for me on alternating days. I have been illegally nominated to do lunch duty every other day. Since lunch is the only break I get in the day, this is torture. Most of the people who do lunch duty are hourly hires, retired people or students' moms or whatever. No teachers do lunch duty that I know of. But the kids with the supposedly most severe behavioral disorders... Wyken, and two other boys in different first grade classes... require an extra staff member out there keeping an eyeball on them. The girl who had this job before me told me that she never got to eat lunch and just went hungry all day. I can't do that (I'll pass out if I go hungry) so I bring my sandwich in my pocket and eat it on the playground. 

12:45 - Time to go in, yay! The kids get in, get settled, and start a math lesson. I walk around and help kids, for 15 minutes. 

1:00 - I go back to the gym to help out in a third grade regular ed gym class, where four boys with autism are included. The boys are sweet, but wild. They spend most of the day together in a self-contained classroom, where they are the only students, so they are at eachother's throats most of the time. Although it is an inclusion class, the third graders are learning real sports, which these four boys just can't do. So we go off to another section of the field. Sometimes three or four girls from the regular class are sent to help out. There, another assistant and I try to teach the boys sports. Have you ever tried teaching four boys with moderate levels of autism to play soccer? People's shoes fall off. People kick balls into the wrong goal. People get interested in looking at the clouds, and dance off away from the soccer field. Goalies suddenly run out of the goal box in order to join the game. People scream and throw themselves on the ground if they don't get a goal. It is a long half hour! 

1:30 - Back with my class! The kids go to recess. Sometimes I play tag with them. I actually almost got them in trouble because I taught them to play Monkey Tag, the game where the person who is "it" has to stay on the ground and try to tag the people who are up on the jungle gym. The kids loved that game... it started off as just me and Wyken playing, and turned into the entire class! But later, another teacher told me that the students are not allowed to play tag on the jungle gym. So when the kids begged me to play it again with them the next day, I had to tell them no. :(

2:00 - The kids usually have a "special." They have music three times a week, art once a week, and library once a week. Today was library. Usually there is a very nice, patient but firm librarian who reads them a story and helps them find books. Today it was a librarian with anger issues. She basically yelled at them the entire time... not for things they had done, but for things they could possibly, hypothetically, do in the future. You know, like, "You are to go and get a book for your level. You are not to go to the back part of the library! You are not to make noise or run around! You are to take your book to the counter and get it checked out! You will then sit at your table in your assigned seat! Do not sit at a different seat! Do not have conversations! Just sit in one place and read!" It was so much fun for the kids. 

2:30 - Back to our room! We do handwriting. They learn a different letter each day. Today we were on U. After they run out of letters, they will learn numbers. 

2:45 - Today we did Creative Writing for the first time. You know how classes try to build up stamina for reading by reading as long as they can without stopping? Mr. Shizuko told them that they were going to try to build up stamina for writing. They were supposed to write a Halloween story and draw a picture for it. They were supposed to stay in their seats and write, and not get up for anything except to use the bathroom. If they couldn't spell something, instead of getting up and asking a teacher, they were supposed to try to sound it out. We were going to see how long we could make it, with everyone silently writing away, before someone got up or talked. 
We made it a minute and ten seconds before Annie Elizabeth stood up, walked over to Mr. Shizuko, and asked him how to spell a word. 
Since we had time left, Mr. Shizuko started the stop watch again. We made it thirty seconds before Johnny got up and asked a question. 
We tried once more. That time we made it three minutes before both Johnny and Beeley got up to ask how to spell things.
We're aiming for four minutes tomorrow!

3:00 - The kids get ready to leave. This is usually sheer chaos. They are supposed to go to their mail boxes, get their papers, set their papers on their desks, go to their lockers for their backpacks, come back and put their papers into their backpacks. Usually, instead, the whole room is a cloud of papers flying around! We often have to stop and sort out what belongs to who! 

3:15 - End of the day! Hooty hoo! Go home, kids!
The kids must be getting excited for Halloween because they were all getting banged up today. Four kids in our class alone had to go to the nurse. Wyken crashed into Redfree while they were running, and he skinned his knees. Galarina fell off the monkey bars and hurt her elbow. Scarlet's lost tooth fell out. And Ariane may or may not have swallowed a bee. (She was screaming bloody murder at first, insisting she had swallowed it... but when she went to the nurse, she stopped crying and seemed to be in no pain at all, so we deducted that the bee, if it existed, hadn't stung her. Ariane later explained to her friends that she had spat out most of the bee, but accidentally swallowed its eyeball, and later puked it out. Uh... don't ask me!) 

And now, for the little something I promised you. It's not much but it's something! In celebration of my first paycheck which I got today, I am offering a small giveaway. 
I've mentioned before that I always choose a theme to assign pseudonyms to the students and other people I write about. For instance, during student teaching I used different types of birds. 
What theme am I using for this newest class? Any ideas?
The first person to comment with the correct answer gets a $10 gift certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers!

Good luck, everyone. 


  1. It sounds like you're feeling a little more settled in your new position. I hope your Guided Reading group goes well - sounds like they're a handful! :)

    Is your theme for names types of apples?


  2. I was going to guess they were characters from a Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Then my curiosity got the best of me, and I had to Google it. I think Kara is right, apples:) Hope you're enjoying the new job!

    We are ALL Special!


Do you have something to share with the class?