Back To School

I don’t know about you, but I had trouble getting to sleep last night.  I meant to go to bed early so I could be fresh and energized for today.  However, that did not work out for me.  At 9:00 P.M. last night, my daughter, Allison, announced that the new episode of Downton Abbey was on.  I have been waiting so long for this episode to begin that I stayed up 2 hours to watch it.  Then, I had to watch the local coverage of the news to watch the Chargers return home from their victory in Cincinatti!  🙂

I didn’t get to bed until 11:30 P.M.  My mind was revved up.  I was excited to return to my classroom.  I started thinking of my plans for today.  I could not get my mind to stop thinking.  Has anyone ever had this happen?  I had to turn my brain off.  I tried to concentrate on my breathing.  In reality, I started thinking about the time.  My friend, Nicole, was picking me up at 4:50 A.M. this morning to go workout.  Ugh.  If I didn’t get to sleep I would only get about 5 hours of sleep.  I managed to get there, but it was fitful.

The workout was great fun.  One of the instructors said just think how much you are accomplishing right now while everyone else is still asleep!  In any case, I was awake and ready for the day.  I got to work earlier than usual.  I went through my morning routine.  Click here to read about that.  I went to my classroom immediately after I finished my breakfast just to make sure my plans were in order and I had everything I needed to get through the day.  My student teacher arrived and I spoke with her briefly until the bell rang.

I collected my students from the playground and we headed to the classroom.  One of my students actually told me she missed me over the break.  (Remember my 2014 word of the year was love?  Well, here was a clear example of love showing itself!).  I told her I missed her, too.  🙂  It was amazing how the students got back into the routine of the classroom.  We managed to change seating assignments today, too.  It’s a new year, so it’s time for a new spot in the classroom.  Change is good.  One change I noticed immediately is how many students, mostly boys, got their haircut over the break.  It’s a new year, time for a new look.

We managed to get a lot done today.  We continued our work on Opinion/Argument writing.  Before the break we wrote product reviews.  Now, we are going to try writing book reviews.  In math, we practiced creating tables to organize information.  We wrote comparison statements about the information.  We had a very productive day.  I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring.

A Productive Afternoon

I tried to resist, but I just couldn’t.  I went to my classroom today to tidy up a bit and get ready for Monday.  I told myself two weeks ago that I wasn’t going to come back to my room once I left for break, but I didn’t listen.  I feel great, though.  I spent a few hours organizing my desk and computer area.  I organized a few files that I meant to get to.  I even managed to dust my room a bit.  It’s amazing how dusty things can get.  I felt a sense of accomplishment when I left my classroom today.  When I return on Monday there won’t be as much clutter to greet me.  That makes me happy.

Although I enjoyed my two weeks off, I am excited to get back to my students.  I feel refreshed and energized.  I hope the students feel the same way, too.  Also, I just found out that I will also be getting a student teacher.  She starts on Monday.  There will be a whole lot of learning going on in my room next week.  I can’t wait!  🙂

Assessments Here We Come!

It hasn’t even been a full month of school yet, and we are already gearing up for assessments. At the beginning of the year my school conducts a series of informal and formal assessments to show where the kids are. Part of me feels like this is a good thing in that I can get an idea where my students are academically. However, the other part of me wants to know why we do this to kids so early on. It doesn’t seem fair that I have to give my students an assessment where they won’t know what to do. I can see where kids would get frustrated. I question myself and wonder do I really need a pre-test to tell me that many of my second grade students will not know how to multiply or divide. They may not even know how to add or subtract with regrouping. I already know this. So, I don’t know why I need to give the assessment. What is frustrating to me is that these assessments do not align with what I am actually teaching in the classroom. The assessments for me are not authentic. However, I continue to give the assessments because I don’t want to be the only teacher who doesn’t give them.

Some teachers may argue that we need a baseline, some number, at the beginning so we can determine if a student grew academically at the end of the year. At times I just feel like I am collecting numbers. I also know that these numbers are what I am being judged on. It lets others know how efficiently and effectively I have done my job. So, even though I hate collecting the numbers, I also know it is neccesary.

So, in the next few weeks, I will be giving my students a math assessment, a writing assessment, and a computer-assisted assessment (MAP test). Then I can get on with my job of teaching, and students can get on with their learning.