All the preparation of the last few weeks was so worth it when I started class today. It was nice to have my desk so organized. Now I just have to keep making myself use my new organization tools so I stay that way.
The first day can be a long day of rules and procedures, but I know how important it is to practice those things these first few days. I read an article by Harry Wong last night. I got so reenergized by it that I pulled out my old copy of First Days of School. After flipping through it I realized how many of the ideas in there I use in my classroom. It also reminded me of a few things I had forgotten which could really make my life easier. If you are a new teacher, it is a must read!
My kids seem like a great group of kids. For the most part, they were happy to be there and attentive. I was surprised when I got home tonight and started looking through their Handle with Care survey, that I already know most of the names of my homeroom students. This is amazing to me because I am HORRIBLE with names. One of the smartest things I started a few years ago is to make my seating charts using their pictures. I got a copy of these from the students' records and last year's yearbook. This helps me learn the names faster of my three classes and is a great trick to help my substitutes.
Last year I was very exhausted by the end of the year from dealing with bullying issues. This year I am going to work really hard on developing the feeling of community and mutual trust early. I started this today with my "Brownie Points" system inspired by Pinterest. While I don't like the idea of focusing on external rewards, I want my students to learn to work as a team toward team goals. Tomorrow I'm going to have my students do a "Peacemakers vs Peacebreakers" activity to help my students set their own expectations for each other.
This week has seemed like a whirlwind, but I think it's a great start to what will hopefully be a fabulous school year!