Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Our Special First Day Together as a Class in 2014-15!

Hello Families!

Today was a really sweet day.  Your kids are lovely.  I was really amazed at how thoughtful and caring the group was, and the fact that we had many moments of calm, focus and doing our best effort.  All on a first day back after summer!

I will try to mention some of the highlights, and I will plan to send out an email tomorrow.  I realized when I got to La Jolla (almost home!) that the email list is at work, because I took it out at school.  Not in my bag, like I thought!  So I will post this, in hopes that some of you will check it, and I will work on the email list and send out the link tomorrow.  Sorry for being less organized.  I think it's taking me a bit to "get back into the routine".

I am so excited, though.  We began the morning with our Morning Meeting- a message, a share and then a game.  Today we were practicing getting to know everyone's name and more about them.  Even though some kids had last year together, we are realizing that there is a lot of growing to be had during a summer, and there is a lot to learn about everyone!

(Click on the photos if you want to make them larger!)

This morning I posted a quote that ended up being something we referred to throughout the day.  I love collecting quotes and thinking about them and what they mean to us at any given moment.  
Here was today's:

"Instructions for life:  Pay attention.  Be astonished.  Tell about it."  
- Mary Oliver

Next, we were off on a tour of school.  The students shared things they thought would be great tips and reminders for how to use the yard, how to keep our bathroom clean and we also met the staff in the office.

At snack I sat with the kids in two smaller groups to catch up and get to know them.  It was nice to hear about things that they enjoyed this summer.  I also noticed students beginning to help each other.  We try to ask them to, "Ask a friend before you ask a teacher" in order to connect with friends, and also because there are so many friends and less teachers.  The kids also realize that people their age are very capable, which adds to their own "can do" feelings!

Today we talked about doing our best effort.  We thought about the ways we do this and the thinking that goes before working.  We practiced on the bookmarks the students will use throughout the year, as they read.  It became so quiet in the room, as the students were engrossed in each line and their goal of making their work special.  I put on some music and even was able to sit down and work on my bookmark, because everyone was having such an autonomous moment.


This summer, Christine offered the staff a training in "Number Talks" which is a method of learning about quantity and equations and sharing your thinking.  I learned many new techniques and tools to use, and it fits in with how we discuss things, in general.   We started with a simple activity where I showed them a group of dots on a ten frame.  I asked these two questions:
How many dots do you see?
How do you see them?

 The names show the students who volunteered to share how they saw the quantity.  By the end of this first day, more students wanted a turn, so we will be excited for more!  Today the students were already amazed to learn how other friends see the same quantity in a different way.  We saw how many ways an equation can be pieced together to form the same quantity.  This also reinforced that there is not a wrong way to group these, more, that there are many ways to "see" a problem.  As we learn the process of sharing our thinking we will continue with tougher challenges!
(There is a space on the board dedicated to the notes we keep of each of these Number Talks- so come on in and check it out!)

In an effort to aquaint ourselves with the room, and materials, each student chose a spot in the room and had  a quiet moment to observe.  The questions I asked them to think about were:

What do you notice?
What might we do in this area?
What can we do to care for the materials?

Next, the students met in small groups to share out their thoughts.  Finally, each group chose a Speaker who would report to the class at large, sharing some of the ideas generated.  It was exciting to see how friends shared the talking space, listened to each other and were brave to volunteer as the Speaker.

Today students chose partners for their relax and read moments.  It was nice to see new friends pouring over books and finding the humor or shared amazement in the story or facts.  

Well, there were many more beautiufl moments, but I didn't capture them all, ofcourse, and I need to get to bed to get up and do it all again tomorrow.  
Such a hard life I lead` having to witness such beautiful people growing and learning from each other!  

Sweet dreams!  Love, Jennifer

(These group shots in class are from day two!)

1 comment:

  1. WOW! Thank you so much Jennifer, reading your post I had the feeling that I was there at school throughout the day. I truly appreciate it. Ryan had a wonderful day, and for the first time since he started preschool at the age of 3.5, he said that he loves school and wants to go back. Thank you.