Monday, September 7, 2015

Our first week in Team R.I.S.E.

As some of you are aware, our amazing kinder team has been split up :(  But before you get too weepy, let me tell you how amazing it is!!  Alli went to teach a 4/5 PL multi-age classroom (at Lincoln), Tiff went to teach 6th grade Comm Arts at Franklin Middle School (in Janesville), and I'm teaching K/1 at Lincoln (now named Team R.I.S.E.).  Why is it exciting?  Well, for one, we are attempting to share what we learned this past year and expand personalized learning into more grades, and more schools across our district!  Second, it's going to be awesome for you, the readers, because you will now get to know about what goes on in a K/1, 4/5, and a 6th grade PL classroom!  You're welcome!

Ok, so let me jump right in on what happened our first week of school in K/1:
1.  I learned a lot this week about what to do, and what NOT to do :)
2.  I have never been as tired in my life.
3.  HOT weather + no air conditioning = cranky kiddos and sweaty teachers
4.  I can't wait to get them all started on their goals

As I'm sure you could gather from my list, it's been a stressful start to the school year.  There were a lot of lessons to learn, but the great thing about PL is that we are constantly teaching out students that it's OK to fail, and that we should learn from those failures to improve.  What better way to teach that lesson than to model it?  I'm keeping notes on what to do better next time, and constantly looking for the positives.  I'm sure some of you want to know about the failures, so I'll share one with you for now.  You know me...Captain Honesty :)  In Janesville, we get to have our Kinders start on opposite days of the week (split your class into 2 groups, group A attends on the first day, and group B attends the second day, then all kids attend on the 3rd day).  This always helps with getting to know the children, gives their families a chance to ease into the transition of "big" school, and let's the students become familiarized with their class and school.  Sounds perfect, right?  Well, because of the staggered start, the first graders never got a chance to become familiar with the room themselves, nor did they have time to learn what it meant to be a leader in this scenario, nor did they get to know their other teacher (my awesome co-teacher, Mrs. Johnson) before all the new Kinders and their families came into the room.  Lesson learned?  Next year, only the first graders will come that first day, and all the Kinders the next.  It was a shame that the first graders weren't ready for the leader role right away because of all the different events involving the Kinders.  We were able to roll with it, but it took a lot of re-teaching that I think could have been avoided by front-loading the expectations before the Kinders came to school.  On the positive side, each day has been exponentially better than the last.  Next year will be AMAZING from day 1!

The best thing about our PL K/1 class so far?  The kids are having FUN.  They love school.  One kiddo sobbed onto my shoulder one day because he didn't want to leave school.  I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty amazing!  

I'll share more pretty soon...I just wanted to give you a quick glimpse into our multi-age life as of right now.  It's going to be wonderful, and I can't wait to share more with all of you!  Until then, here's some adorable pics from our open house the night before school started.  We set up a photo booth in the classroom and invited parents to take some fun pictures with their kiddos!  Enjoy!
My new co-teacher for Team R.I.S.E.!  ~Mrs. Johnson

Yup!  That's Tiff with her adorable daughter who joined our team!

One of our awesome aides and her son :)

That smile!

Another amazing aide we have at Lincoln and her son :)