I went back to work a week ago for 3 days of meetings/room prep, then our students arrived on Thursday. I feel like I have been going non-stop since then :) I have a great group of 4th graders this year. Almost an equal mix of boys and girls, a nice variety of personalities, all different levels. So far, after 3 days, they all seem to get along pretty well too. I have started introducing the Daily 5. It is such a new concept for them, and I think it will take some time for them to really appreciate the independence it will build. I can tell that my students will need a lot of help learning to work on their own. Sadly, it always seems that they come from tiny classes in 3rd grade (last year was about 15-16) to larger classes in 4th and 5th (25-28). It really takes time for them to get used to things.
I had some bad news right before school started that sent my motivation and good vibes for this school year down the tubes. Our 4th grade team had four members. About 2 weeks before the first day, one teacher found out that she was moving to 3rd grade so that a 3rd grade teacher could move up to do a 4th/5th multiage class that is required due to our lower enrollment in the intermediate grades. Then, just a week before school started, another of our teammates found out that she was being moved to 1st grade. They found a sub to open that classroom. Then, after spending a week working with the sub (who was so great), they hired a teacher on Friday, and she started today. She seems wonderful and I think we will get along great. However, I cannot help but be angry that my teammates got moved. Our grade level had the best test scores in the school. We worked together so well, and 3 of us spent the summer planning, creating, and sharing ideas. I really think that my principal did the best she could with a really odd situation, but I still feel really sad about it all. Why, in education, does it seem that the hardest working folks are the ones who end up having to be extra flexible, extra responsible, and extra understanding? It is frustrating!
Ok, enough boo-hooing! It will be a great year, and I am excited for all of the awesome activities I have planned. I will be getting in touch with everyone who expressed interest in my Regions of the U.S. activity very soon!