Saturday, August 9, 2008

Time For...More Later

So, it's August 9th and my school wheels are turning, so I've embarked on my first Katieland series on getting ready to return to my first grade classroom.

To fuel my charge, I decided to get out Harry and Rosemary Wong's
First Days of School and refresh my mind on classroom management. I'd like to think my classroom management is fantastic, but we've all had our days where things go a rye. And with six and seven year olds, it can be a fast and furious decline into craziness and chaos.

So being reminded that the first six weeks of school are the most important is the motivation I need.

It's early August and what better time to screw in the light bulb and get plugged back into school.

In an effort to ensure success for my first grade buggers, these are my goals:

To foster student involvement and cooperation in all classroom activities.

To establish a productive working environment.

The key is to establish a set of procedures and routines that will structure my first grade classroom environment.

Now we all know that
procedures concern how things are done.

routine is what the students do automatically.

So where do I fall? Am I meeting the standard? Am I excelling at it? Maybe that's too much for this early date.

I think I'll go with the flow and just reflect on my reading.

Last year, my students and I focused on the creation and establishment of classroom procedures and routines...Probably went strong for two weeks and then curriculum demands took over and my commitment waned.

This year, I'm taking more time. Like close to the six weeks Harry and Rosemary (and my old principal, A/C) recommend. It'll pay off in the end. It's insurance with a return. What's better than that?

Last year, my students and I created many procedures so that our classroom would run smoothly. Some of them included:

What does a reader/writer/learner look like?

-Sits or stands safely, faces forward, hands and feet are to yourself, and uses a quiet voice.

How do we line up?

-Hands/feet to yourself, facing forward, and voices are off.

How do we sit in the circle?

-On our sit upon bones with our hands/feet to yourself.

Last year, I helped my students learn several routines.

Some of them included:

Morning Routine:

Sit at desk, take off coat, unpack bag to get snack and homework, put snack in desk, don't eat it yet, put finished homework into "IN" box, hang up coat and bag in hallway, be safe in hallway, make lunch choice at white board, use bathroom if necessary, get browsing box, read from it at desk quietly.

Snack Routine:

Get snack from desk, sit at seat, quietly eat and talk with those around your desk, use bathroom if necessary, get drink of water, throw away trash, get browsing box and three books from classroom library for Drop Everything And Read.

After Lunch/Recess Routine:

Line up for drink, sit at seat, take off coat, hang up in hallway,and sit at seat. Rest while waiting for read aloud.

Dismissal Routine:

Special friend passes out home-to-school folders and/or reading folders, early dismissal students get coats and bags from hall and they pack, dress, and sit. Afternoon announcements commence and those students line up. The rest get coats, bags, pack, dress and sit until their dismissal.

This year, I plan to establish a better hallway procedure. Unfortunately I spent last year solving my fair share of conflicts involving the hallway. Scuffles, using the coat hook bar like it's an olympic event and general gossip detracts from learning .

As I read on, I'll post more.

Until, then, stay tuned to google reader, I'll be back. (I know you can't wait.)

1 comment:

Ms. Beane said...

I need to work on arrival/dismissal routines for my teenage friends. This post gave me inspiration. I thought at first it was too behaviorist in nature, but the truth is our friends thrive on routine.

I have a mantra for rearing children: routine, reassurance, ritual. It seems the same mantra can be applied to our friends at school.

Wong saved my life my second year teaching. My first year was total crap.