Friday, August 06, 2010

1 down, 179 to go...

So today was the first (half) day of school.

And, considering some of the first days we've had in the past, this wasn't too bad. Really. (In case you're wondering about one of the less than stellar first days, click here.)

The buses were all unloaded quickly, the sixth graders made their way to the gym, the seventh graders made their way to the theater, and the 8th graders (who should, for the most part, know their way around) looked up their homerooms which were posted, and went to their class. In fact, the buses all unloaded so fast that we had to wait nearly 15 minutes to start calling out our kids because the walkers and parent drop off kids hadn't all shown up yet.

We did have attendance lists and rosters. We also had - surprise! - emergency cards which we weren't expecting until Tuesday. Out of 29 kids in my homeroom, 25 showed up, which isn't too bad. However, I still have some really unbalanced classes - 27, 31, 19, 35, and 18. The Administrators all walked around to welcome the kids and The Principal mentioned that she really noticed the unbalanced class sizes and was going to see if Guidance could fix it before Tuesday (I hope...) Apparently this is what happens when you let a computer system do your schedules for you. Still, with block english/language arts, special ed, advanced classes, and all that, sometimes it's hard to get the class sizes balanced. We shall see.

The kids were really pretty good - chatty to start with, but on the whole not bad. It's always so dreadfully boring the first day or so as you spend most of the time handing out paperwork, going over stuff like supply lists (exciting stuff), and forms that need to be signed, returned, blah, blah, blah. Like I tell the kids, it's boring to me too. We did finally get through all that, had the five of us on the team circulate and introduce ourselves, and then I had the kids do a few "getting to know you" activities because it amazes me that they can sit in a class with a kid for a year and not know his or her name! They liked that activity because it was noisy, involved moving around the room, and they could talk, talk, talk.

One thing I noticed...out of 25 kids that showed up, 23 ride the bus. That's huge. It will make going to lockers at the end of the day a bit of a challenge because I always let bus riders go first...and now that's most of the class. Hum...

Monday it's in-service on our new School Wide Positive Behavior Support program (more on that soon). Tuesday it's back to reality with a full day, a full schedule, and a whole bunch of kids.


Tracey said...

WE HAVE PBS IN OUR SCHOOL TOO...Not all that impressed by it, though!

Jan said...

Late to the discussion, but-
Teachers start Aug.19 for prof. dev., kids start Aug. 25.
Last day June 10.
I'm not sure why the private school teacher assumed she had fewer vacation days. My district has federal holidays, 8 days at Christmas, 3 days in April, and 3 professional days.

Raye said...

We have PBS as well where I am (elementary school though). The school I was in before had it but there was ZERO follow through on the administrative side so it was a joke. But my new school that I'm going to has a very strong administrator and a very collaborative staff so I'm hopeful it is better there. Some of the K-5 schools in my district that have used it for the last 3-4 years have done amazing turn-arounds in terms of behavior. I think a lot of it really boils down to a supportive admin and everyone being on the same page.

I look forward to hearing how it is implemented in your school. :)

kherbert said...

We are getting a new school wide discipline system also. It is actually being designed by one of our teachers, who has experience with several different programs.

She is great and with input from all of us, is custom designing it for the quirks of our campus. We are actually looking forward to it.

One of the problems we have is that some in the administration are too sympathetic to the kids. They come from rough places and need sympathetic adults. The problem was the worst behaved children were getting rewarded.

This program is going to reward good behavior and penalize bad behavior. The teacher designing it has no problem standing up and letting the administration know if they are making a mistake. We are looking forward to the program.

scifimama said...

We've had SWPB for 3 years - as previous posts point out, the admin makes all the difference. Btw, I teach 8th grade science in TN. What "getting to know you activities" do you use? Our first day is Monday - I'd love to have something new to do!

Mrs. Bluebird said...

Scifimama, if you're familiar with Kagan Cooperative Learning, I pulled a few things out of their book. One is People Hunt, where there are 15 things that the kids fill out on themselves (favorite color, favorite ice cream flavor, TV show, Game, etc). Then they have to circulate around the room, shake hands and introduce themselves, and find a person who has the same favorite as they do. The goal is to fill up the entire page but with no name repeated.

I also do a time capsule thing where the kids fill out a "what you should know about me" that has a lot of similar things - favorites, goals, who is their best friend, favorite song, etc. I do this first to get them thinking. I then collect it and give it back to them on the last day of school so they can see how they've changed.

HappyChyck said...

Wahoo! It's a start! I hope your years flows smoothly!

Carmen said...

We have PBS at my elementary school too, and I like it a lot! It reallly helps with my kindergartners.