We finished our first full week of school back from Christmas break two days ago (last week was 3 days), and boy was it a doozy! I don't know why, but it seriously seemed like it wouldn't end! But, we made it!! I have SO many blog posts I need to post from Christmas break and before, so hopefully I'll be getting into a weekly posting schedule. My goal this year is to be more consistent with my blog, TpT shop, and social media!
I've been mulling the topic of today's post over in my head since the beginning of the school year. Last year, as a first-year teacher, was HARD. I am feeling a whole lot more confident this year, and I know that I will continue to grow as a teacher in the years to come! But for now, here are four things I am doing different this year, with one year of teaching under my belt!
I found this idea from something on the internet, and will try to track down who first gave me the idea. This year, every day since the day 1 of school, I greet my students individually at the classroom door, and they have the choice to greet me with a hug, a handshake, or a high five (the 3 H's).
I LOVE doing this because it gives us an immediate connection at the start of the day, and allows for some one-on-one interaction. It also shows them that I care about them and I'm excited to see them! If you know who came up with the idea of the 3 H's first, or if you do this in your classroom, leave a comment below!
Classroom management has definitely been a struggle for me! Last year, I had to keep coming up with external rewards for my class, and the expectations that I set I did not keep. It was ROUGH. But, you have to learn somehow, right?!?!
I definitely learned my lesson though, and have really tried to make high, yet attainable, expectations with my kinders and stick to them! Instead of trying to talk over students who are talking or playing with their neighbor, because "We have to get through this lesson," I pause, reposition their focus, make sure they are sitting how I want them to, then continue whatever we're doing.
The lovely Kristen from A Day in First Grade has totally inspired me in this area. I love how she uses themes to teach in all areas. This year, we have a 30-minute time block to devote to either a science or history lesson each day. I choose one theme for the week, and switch back and forth between science and history. For example, two weeks ago we explored Stonehenge. Last week, we studied the plant life cycle. This week, we will be diving into all things Ancient Egypt.
Once I have my theme for the week, and I know what mini-lessons and activities we'll be doing during our Science/History block, I will look for math and literacy activities that correlate with the themes and disperse them into our centers for the week. My students are engaged, and we have so much fun learning about the different topics!
Last year, I would go go go go go all week long. From teaching all day, to planning/preparing for the next day in the evenings, and continuing that on a larger scale on the weekends, I became very exhausted and burnt out. I realized that I will ALWAYS have things to do, and that I NEED time to rest. Even though it might not always look like resting, I need a break from all things school!
So I decided to take one day each weekend to rest. For me, it's usually Saturday, because then I work on Sunday to prepare for the week. And if there are things that don't get done, I have to work them into my week instead of doing them on my day of rest. It's worked so well and I feel way better going into school on Mondays!
It is amazing what a year's experience can do in this teaching world! I really love teaching, and feel so blessed to be able to teach in Tanzania, East Africa! I am learning as much as I am teaching, and that makes me so very happy.
How long have you been teaching? What are you doing differently now than your first year of teaching? Let me know in a comment below!
Are you a teacher on Snapchat? I just put together a "teacher-blogger" account and will be snapping pictures and videos of my classroom, life in Tanzania, and more! I'm really enjoying the world of Snapchat!
Much Love, Allie