It always amazes me how every group of first graders I teach is different. Yes, there are some things that are the same about all first graders. They are still very little, they are excited about learning new things, there is a huge range with regard to first grade reading abilities, they still cry in first grade, and they love when their teacher acts silly. All of those things tend to hold true with each first grade class I teach. However, there are so many other things that make each group of first graders uniquely different from the previous groups. My class this year is no exception. There are so many things that amaze me about my current group of first graders. I know what you're thinking. Of course they are different from your last group because each child is different. When you have a different group of kids you have a completely different classroom. Yes, I can't argue with that. However, it's more than that. This group of kids...this group of personalities that has been put together to make up my wonderful classroom, has a very different vibe.
One of the things that I love about young learners is their excitement. My current group of first graders gets excited about everything, even little things. Little things, like Cougar Paw stickers, pleases them. They beam with pride when they are recognized for working hard or helping a friend. Just the simple gesture of sticking a tiny Cougar Paw on a hand is enough. This class also loves, loves, loves to dance and sing. During morning meeting they happily sing songs/poems for our fluency practice. They enjoy creating hand movements to go along with the songs. They even sing songs that they remember from previous weeks. When we add new poems/songs each Friday to our Poetry Notebooks you find many flipping back through the pages to read or sing their favorite poems and songs.
One of the best things I noticed about this group is how much they love to work on their blogs. They love connecting with other first grades in our classroom and from around the world. They also enjoy creating new blog posts and they come of with some very creative topics. Topics like, My First Grade Chores, Walking in the Hallway, The Best Halloween, and My Favorite Story to name a few. This weekend I found myself approving 69 comments. That's a huge increase compared to last year's class. Whenever we have a short week due to a holiday break or other school closing the first thing my students want me to do is to establish a time when they can reschedule their blog day. I also have more parents and relatives commenting on their child's blog this year. Many of my first graders are even using their blogs after school and on weekend. I don't think I've ever had as much excitement about blogging as I have this year.
I have a very thoughtful group of first graders this year. I continue to get tons of "love notes" and drawings that are created especially for me. I get tons of hugs as they enter the classroom or leave for recess or at dismissal. I have kids who enjoy helping their peers with drawing bat wings because they are "bat experts" or putting away supplies for a friend who forgot to clean up after an activity, or volunteering to switch a Daily 5 choice so that a classmate would have a partner for buddy reading. I could go on and on and on. The thing is, this group of kids has a special place in my heart. It's not possible for me to have a "bad day" because every day that I have the pleasure of teaching this group of kids makes for a "very, very good day".
What's different about your group of students this year? Please leave a comment. I would love to know.