I have been too busy to even think straight the last few days! I am entirely too glad that it is the weekend! Things at school are great -- very busy and exhausting though. I think I'm finally starting to find my way in 2nd grade again. I can honestly say that I love it. Love.It. The kids are cute, sweet and most of the time really want to please me. I have a very social class this year. They really like each other because they talk allllll the time! I would much rather have a chatty class than a rude one though...and honestly, every day is so much better than the previous ones. These kiddos are very quickly rising to my expectations and it is great. I am really reflecting too and thinking hard when something doesn't go how I thought -- was it my instruction, was it the kids or was it honestly just too hard for them at this point. We're all finding our way together and it feels fine.
I get hugs every day, the kids don't get snotty attitudes (yet!) and they LOVE when they get awards. We supposedly have this whole-school PBiS thing happening...well we're giving out the tickets but they aren't drawing names like they said they would. It is frustrating because the kids are asking me why they don't draw names. Almost every day this week we got a whole class ticket coming into the school in the morning because they are quiet, they are fast and they are being super stars. We're also one of the LAST classes to come in because of how our line up is. For these little 2nd graders to stand quietly that long and still make it up the stairs to our room quietly is pretty freaking awesome.
Because the office isn't following through on their end of the PBiS (which REALLY gets on my nerves -- if you're going to dangle a carrot, you damn well better GIVE the carrot when it's earned!), I have been keeping our end of the ticket stubs and putting the date on them. I think we have 5 or 6 right now. When we get up to 10 as a class, *I* will provide them with a special treat. Should I have to? No, but clearly the school isn't on top of it and I think that's crap. It takes 5 seconds to draw a freaking card out of the tub and read it at the end of the day!
I'm super proud of my kids because twice we've had other teachers comment that they thought the class was third graders because they were doing [insert whatever they were doing well] SO well that they just couldn't possibly be only in 2nd grade. Despite a couple of bumps at the start of the year, my colleagues have been nothing but awesome to me. Mrs. CT told me that she really missed my data knowledge and technology know-how (and with Mrs. Resource moved to another school, she doesn't have the support she had last year). I was telling my new team this and one said "yeah well she's going to have to fight to get you back". It's good to feel wanted!!
We were crazy busy this week. We had 3 MAP tests, our DIBELs tests and Open House. I only had 8 families (of 25) show up which is the worst turnout I have ever had but a couple of key families came so that made it worth it for me. Due to all of the other stuff going on I had to bring some work home. I hate to do that because I am a firm believer that the weekends are my time BUT I always make concessions the first 2-3 weeks of the year because they tend to be some of the craziest when you change grades. I didn't really do anything with my pile today because I was tired, The Oldest had an invitational and I just wanted to be lazy! I will block out 3-4 hours tomorrow (probably while The Husband is watching football!) to get it all done and then I'll be set for the week.
One of the biggest, scariest things I've discovered is how vastly different the abilities are in my class. I literally have children reading 4 words per minute on DIBELs and children reading over 90 already which is the end of 2nd grade benchmark. It's a bit daunting to look at some of those numbers and wonder how in hell I am going to get those kids where they need to go, or at least to show some real progress this year. I have most of my beginning of year reading data that I am going to pour over tomorrow and make my baseline reading groups -- they will change throughout the year of course but I really want to start ASAP getting some intervention going for my kids who are super low right now. I also really want to make sure that I challenge the 5-6 kiddos I have who are MILES ahead of the other children in the class. I hate that those are the kids who are often left out and I refuse to do that.
I am taking a hard look at my schedule and our routines and will be making a couple of changes that I think will really help my students to do better and break our day up so they can maximize their learning. I miss big kids but I also am glad that I got to stay with my group because I really do like them a lot. They are helping me realize that I CAN be successful in 2nd grade and we're having fun while learning. That makes a huge difference!