August 5, 2015

Three Days Down

We're now three days in to the 2015-2016 school year. The first day was a lovely blur, and things, of course, have only gotten more fun since then. I do like teaching routines and procedures at the beginning of the year. I also enjoy taking time to learn about each other and spend time building our classroom. However, not having the routines down is EXHAUSTING.

Here are three new(ish) things I'm LOVING so far:
-The Remind App. I began using this last year, but it didn't have as many features and it just kind of fell by the wayside for me. I've gotten to share a photo, a link to a class blog update, and just a "I'm looking forward to seeing you" note quickly with parents during our days. I've found out that they are really loving it, too, so I know I will use it a lot this year! This week my goal was to send one text per day, but I hope to continue with at least one per week through the rest of the year.
-Rest Time. Every day after recess we have taken at least ten minutes to have rest time. We are calling it "Solitude and Reflection" to match one of the design principles of Expeditionary Learning. My kids can work, read, lay down, or draw. And they must be silent. And they are loving it. Everyone needs a little time to be alone and refuel their brains! My favorite part is that it is really being encouraged by everyone in our school as a part of our work with Responsive Classrooms this year. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when we need to move more quickly into a grammar lesson in the coming weeks!
-School Wide Procedures. This year my school has decided to institute a couple of things as a school, including an attention signal, volume meter, and help boxes. As the newbie in school, I am totally appreciating these things. It's so nice that no matter what teacher they are with, they are hearing some of the same language. I personally found it helpful to have help boxes for bathroom and lunchroom procedures-because I for one needed the steps and pictures! We are also using more fluid or temporary help boxes during instructional time. If you google help boxes, you are not going to find anything, but they are basically steps needed to complete a task that are written out for students (or sometimes given with visual cues). I'll try to snap a photo of one of our permanent help boxes and add it here later!

That's all for me! I have a small beginning of the year task to complete before I will call it a night!

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