I’ve Migrated to First grade

Wow.  I’m teaching First Grade this year and it is so different and so the same.  All of the record keeping changed going into First grade, I have a smaller class size, but a smaller room.  I have a number of kids who were in my class last year, but many who were not.  My class has 22 kids, and they are generally low.  I have a couple of high ones, that is, I have a couple who are actually on grade level.  Teaching the Common Core  in First Grade is different too.  One of the main problems is that we have no adopted or purchased programs for Language Arts/Reading or Math.  At least none that matches the Common Core.  I spend SO much time “creating” curriculum instead of teaching it.  I have to teach it, but I have to create what I teach and that is ridiculous.  Why have EVERY teacher spending countless hours recreating and duplicating effort?  It’s such a colossal waste of teacher time collectively.  And of course, they don’t pay us for, or even acknowledge all of the EXTRA time we have to put in.  Hours and hours of time.  Retiring is looking more and more attractive.  If I could ever afford that………… 

Yesterday was pretty much a wasted day at school.

Universal breakfast* for the first 20 minutes of the instructional day.  25 minutes later we had to be in the MP room for an awards assembly, by the time it was over it was a half an hour until lunch time.   Forty minutes after lunch we had Music and then we rounded out the end of the day by counting and gluing 100 Cheerios onto a hundreds chart followed by their class reward ice cream party.

It’s hard for kindergarten kids to sit on the floor for close to an hour while other kids are getting awards and they aren’t.  I probably had 10 kids decide they had to go to the bathroom during the assembly.  Then there’s the ones bothering the rest of the kids.  I had to move three of them to sit next to me.  One of those thought he was in trouble and had a meltdown.  Loudly.  Two kids had 101 fevers shortly after lunch and went home.

Oh, and I re-arranged the room and seating assignments Thursday night after school, so THAT created a lot of chaos.  They don’t take to change well.

*Universal breakfast- free breakfast for all children, every day.  We are a Title One school and someone thought this would be a good idea.  Usually the breakfast consists of  4 items, BUT they have to take all or nothing.  Last year kindergarten was allowed to eat theirs in the Lunch room.  This year we have to take it to the classroom like everyone else.  The carpet in my room is ruined.  There is some kind of spill EVERY DAY.   And the breakfasts are boring.  The same things over and over again.  Nutritious breakfast bars that taste like sawdust,  raisins,  canned fruit, apples (at least they finally started giving them pre-cut apple slices), cereal with little or no sugar (because they are all about HEALTHY) cinnamon rolls, hummm, that about it, oh, yeah, string cheese, but I haven’t seen any of them for awhile)

Testing Continued…..

So one of the problems with testing kindergarten kids is that so MUCH of it has to be done one-on-one.  Which leads to the problem of what to do with the rest of them.  The admin kind of frowns on a lot of videos….. so you usually have to come up with some kind  work that they can do at their seats….. by themselves.  They can rotate through the computers, and they can silent read-to-self, but they can’t do either for very long and you can’t have all of them doing it at once.

So one of the other teachers had a four page project that looked fun and involved a  lot of cutting and gluing that I decided to try.  It was a giraffe, with the head on one page, and pieces of the neck on each of the other three pages.  The alphabet went down one side of the neck in upper case letters and they then cut out spots for the giraffes neck with the corresponding lower case letters on them to glue on.  Really kind of cute.

Oh my heck.

Even after demonstrating and posting examples………  if they could find a way to mess it up,  they did it that way,  each child in a new and original way.  It SHOULD have used 120 pieces of paper.  I finally cut them off when we got close to a ream of paper………

I couldn’t stand it.  So naturally I had to supervise……..

Which meant that I got NO testing done.  Which sort of defeated THAT idea.

You’d think that I would have learned by now, if it looks like a good idea, look again.

And wear your glasses.


Common Core Trimester Exams

The testing window opened today for our Common Core Exams.  The test is much more time consuming this year than last.  They allocated some money for us to help with the testing,  We could use it for subs while we test or we could be paid for testing outside of our contracted school day.  As a grade level, we opted for working after school to test.  So this week we are each staying after school for an hour and a half and testing kids.  I have 5 kids each night.  I’m testing one on one and the others can play on the computers, or the Smartboard while I’m testing.  We won’t get all of the testing done after school, but I think it is really going to cut down on the class time that has to be taken away from instruction time.

So far, I’m really impressed with the growth my students have made from just the beginning of the year.

New Kid

I wasn’t thrilled to get him.  I’m at 30 kids now and 17 of them are boys.  Boys are just so much more ACTIVE than the girls.   This one came from the school down the street, and the grade level chair there used to be a kinder teacher at my school.  So I sent her a text.  I guess they had a lot of problems with this boy.  Stealing, lying, hitting……  He’s doing the same in my room.  The other children are constantly complaining about him hitting, touching, messing with them.  Today I moved him to a desk by himself.  He chopped his phonics paper into confetti, ate his glue stick and drew a picture of Sponge Bob on the wall in the boy’s bathroom.

Mom says he never had ANY problems at his other school.

Why do they do that?  I KNOW he had problems there, I talked to his former teacher.

Once Upon a Time

I enjoyed my job.

I wrote this blog because I liked telling about my job.

Once upon a time……..

I’m not alone.

I follow 33 teacher blogs, many of them kindergarten

15 of them show no activity in the last 6 months

7  had 2 or less entries