November is always a busier time than I expect it to be. The weather is changing and all of that bluster in the air can be a little unsettling.
This is been a particularly busy week. I’m in the midst of parent-teacher conferences, we had a first grade parent evening last night, we’re in the midst of making our Martinmas lanterns and at home I’ve got two family birthdays and college applications coming due. Lots to think about, and plenty of late nights at school.
Usually I’m an early arriver at school. I often get to my classroom at 7am and I put the finishing touches on my lesson, reply to emails and putter about the classroom a bit. After the late night I was exhausted and took my time at home and didn’t get to school until just 15 minutes before the children arrive. I barely had time to scrawl some notes about my lesson and get myself oriented for the day.
When my classroom assistant arrived I said, “I’m warning you, I am tapped out!”
Well, the first graders must have somehow sensed that their teacher needed a little boost, because today was just one of those golden days.
My last class and I noticed that those golden days often happened on Thursdays. In fact, we coined the term “golden Thursday” and mentioned it whenever things seemed to be going just right on a Thursday. Today was Wednesday, which seems to be the golden day runner-up.
We started the day as usual, with our little warm-up songs, rhymes and activities, preparing for the morning verse. And that’s where the magic happened. I don’t know what got into those little angelic beings, but they spoke that verse with more purpose, attention and focus than I’ve ever heard. My favorite part is the end.
That I, with all my might
May love to work and play
From thee come light and strength
To thee rise love and thanks.
The day continued with joyful activity — not mellow, exactly, but active in all the right ways. During a main lesson transition, they happily burst into song with one of the Japanese tunes they had learned. When we were working on birthday drawings, they spontaneously burst out with the lantern songs we’ve been practicing. And many of them were so excited to show me how they included things they had learned in our curriculum drawings in their free birthday drawing. There’s nothing that warms a teacher’s heart more than seeing her students independently review, practice and use the things she’s taught them.
My heart was smiling and full at the end of the day. And I felt refreshed and inspired to finish the week strong. Imagine that, finding renewal and rejuvenation in the course of a busy school day.
Thanks, first graders.
I took a little bit of time this afternoon to take some photos of our Quality of Numbers main lesson bookwork, and I thought I’d share them with you.
One Golden Sun
For each number, we draw a picture from the story, and then a second page with the “ancient” number. (Check out my previous post about the outline of my Quality of Numbers block to see my thoughts behind the whole thing.)
Two: Day and Night
I’m just loving this block, and I’m particularly enjoying those moments I recognize curriculum moments that will come back around in the later grades. When we talked about the number 5, we talked about the 5-petaled rose and how different it is from the 6-petaled lily. Now the seed is planted for when the rose and lily come back in 5th grade botany.
We’ll see who remembers.
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First Grade Skills
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