That picture is of my new kiddos, hard at work on their very first day in my classroom. You can kinda see me in the very back of the picture, bending down to pick something up which kept me out of the picture. But, what a fantastic bunch of kids these are. They were so well behaved and we had so much fun.
When they first arrived in my classroom, they didn't make a sound. They sat there, looking a little nervous, waiting for me to give them instructions. I had a booklet waiting for them, full of first day questionnaires and activities for them to work on, and they got busy working hard on that. Which is what you see in that picture. While they worked, you could hear a pin drop. Every now and then, I heard an occasional whisper. But, even when I told them that they could talk and didn't have to be so quiet, they continued working in silence.
By the time I was finished with attendance, lunch count, adding in my two new students, getting their desks and cubbies and everything else they needed, the silence was almost deafening. I decided it was time to play a few games and liven them up a little. We played Getting to Know Ms. Hill, where they had to guess the answers to questions about me. Then, we followed that with Two Truths, One Lie. This is a fun ice-breaker, where they have to share two facts about themselves and one lie, and we all had to guess which one was the lie. That definitely got them talking, but they were so good about raising their hands and waiting to be called on.
We went over procedures and class rules, and I gave them my spill about how important honesty is to me. I asked them how many of them had heard or thought I was a "mean teacher". To my absolute amazement, not a single one of them raised their hand. One student said, "You're not mean, you're awesome... everyone knows that". Urm. No they don't. Or they didn't used to. Apparently, I was off my game last year and word got out that I'm actually a really fun teacher. Dang it!
Then a girl swooped in with "You're only mean when you have to be", and that was an excellent point for me to jump off from. I agreed with her, and told the kiddos that I'm not a "mean teacher" but I will get mean if I have to, and one way for that to happen is to not be honest with me, be unkind to others, or to steal from me. I told them I can forgive missing homework, talking in the hallways, getting in trouble on the playground for rough-housing, etc., but lie to me, bully, or steal? That will get them a one-way ticket to Mean Town, and that's one place they NEVER want to visit.
After all that seriousness, we needed another game to play. So, we decided to have a snowball fight. By that, I mean, they wrote a few facts on a piece of paper, scrunched the paper up into balls, and then threw them at each other until I told them to stop. Once they stopped, I drew a name and that person had to open up the "snowball" they were holding and try and guess who the facts belonged to. If they were right, they kept playing, but if they were wrong, they had to sit down. The kids LOVED it. They were so good about it, too. They didn't get silly or start running around the room, and it definitely got them up and moving after sitting for so long. And, once that was over it was time for lunch.
The afternoon went by a lot faster because we have recess and specials in the afternoon. I only had them with me for about an hour and a half before it was time for them to go home. We spent that time working on more back-to-school activities and going over all the paperwork they had to get their parents to fill out. It was a calm afternoon.
By the time my little darlings all went home for the day, I was EXHAUSTED. There's no tired like first day of school tired, but I couldn't go home. Butter started football practice, so I was stuck at the school until 5:15 before I had to drive to the high school to pick him up. It was around 6:30PM before we got home.
On the way home, the kids told me all about their first day, and they all sounded like it went really well. Jelly is excited about being in 1st grade, and likes her new teacher. Butter is excited about getting to take Ag. and drama this year as his electives in 8th grade. Peanut is excited about the new friends she is going to make being a freshman in high school. All three of them said they thought it was going to be a good year, so that's always nice to hear.
Here are our first day back to school pics...
Peanut - Freshman
Butter - 8th Grade
Jelly - 1st Grade
Me - 3rd year teaching
We are all ready for our second day...and then we get a couple of days to recharge and prepare for our first full week, next week.
It's going to be a fantastic school year, I know it.