Sunday, September 21, 2014

The High Highs and the Low Lows

This week has been odd to say the least. I spent the weekend preparing for Dot Day and doing gobs of grad school work. When Monday rolled around I felt like I didn't really have a weekend, which is not how I want to go into a full week of teaching. As a perfect example of how this week has felt, I forgot to wear my glasses today. What? I have had my glasses since I was a junior in high school and I have never forgotten to wear them... until today. Odd. I experienced some high highs and some low lows this week, and I'll honestly be glad when this week is over and I can actually take a break.

We had an amazing day on Monday celebrating International Dot Day, and I'm certain it will be a day the kiddos remember about first grade. The highlight was doing a Google Hangout with a first grade classroom in Canada! This was the first GHO/Skype/Face Time experience for me as a teacher and for my kids as students, and it was awesome! I announced to the kiddos on Monday morning that we would be meeting up with a classroom from another country, but I didn't tell them which country. I held that over their heads for a few hours, and when I finally let them in on the secret the kiddos went through the roof. We spent the rest of the morning researching Canada and coming up with questions for our Canadian friends about life in their country. By the afternoon, we were more than ready for our first GHO; we had practiced our questions and statements and we had talked about expectations. The actual GHO was incredible. The kiddos learned so much about our friends and were excited to hear about our similarities and differences. Each kiddo had a chance to tell our friends how they were going to make their mark, which was the greatest part of the experience for me as it connected us to our friends. What an exciting day! Here are a few of the dots we made:

These dots are actually on their way to Canada for our friends!

Unfortunately, Tuesday and Wednesday paled in comparison. I found out yesterday that I have to pass up the opportunity to see Peter H. Reynolds in living person because of grad school, which was a major bummer. We did our normal thing and I'm hopeful the kiddos learned something. Nothing sparkled like Monday did, though, and I felt sad. It's like how a girl feels when her wedding is over and the honeymoon has been had and all that's left of those exciting days are a few souvenirs and a ton of thank you cards to write (and of course a lifetime to spend with the person she loves, but it can be easy to feel down about the special-ness disappearing).

I finally felt happy again today. I'm feeling more in control of conferencing during Daily 5. I met with seven kiddos today. We set measurable goals, we had some great conversations, and I felt the time was useful. I'm not going to say I'm completely there yet, but I'm getting closer. Also, in the spirit of doing things for the first time, I ate school lunch today. It was chili and cinnamon roll day, and I just couldn't resist. I'm so glad I did too. It was quite tasty!

The greatest of all of the moments of today was this:

After lunch today, we had a guest speaker scheduled to come in. She and I had our times mixed up though, and she ended up arriving 20 minutes later than anticipated. This extra time with my kiddos was a blessing in disguise. I have been wanting to start a "chapter book" as a read aloud for a while, so I took this time to start one up. I chose Dinosaurs Before Dark - the first book in the Magic Tree House series. After talking about how this read aloud would be different than others because I wouldn't have pictures to show on every page, we got started. It was 20 minutes of pure bliss. I have never truly experienced the feeling of having a whole classroom hanging on my every word until that moment. Not only were they listening, but they were understanding! Occasionally one of them would make a quiet prediction or exclamation as I read, and they excitedly answered every comprehension question I asked. That, my teacher friends, is a win in my book!

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? I'm just grateful it'll be Friday. This weekend, I'll try to get my spinning world back under control with the hope that next week will be more stable.

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