Well, it's a Saturday, and I have officially finished the first week of school. It went much better than you might think, actually--and I am convinced that I have the best class in all of Utah. We are the best ones at lining up in the hallway, to be sure.
My 25 kids have begun to know me...and even like me, I think. We are really beginning to establish a classroom community-- after four days of school, they are already working well in groups, asking me for math homework, and telling me that they wish they had more time for reading and writing!
Some of the big motivators for them this week have been table points (I have three rows for my desks, and each row is a table. They can get points by trying the morning math problem and turning it in, by being the first ones ready for instruction, by being the best listeners, etc. Every Friday, we tally up the points and then the winning table gets a treat. This week, they got chocolate chip granola bars, and the other tables got Starbursts.) and they also were very excited about being assigned their vocations.
In my class there are about 21 different kinds of vocations, and after teaching them what the word meant, we would take a few different ones per day, read the description, answer questions, and do a role play. That way, everyone (hypothetically) should know what they are supposed to do. Yesterday, they earned the right to receive the vocation, and each kid got a business card with their vocation, salary, and description of services offered and privileges maintained. I chose the staffing of the vocations randomly (pulling out the ever-useful popsicle sticks with their names written on them) and I was very proud of my kids. Without any urging, they gave each announcement a round of applause. These might be the best group of kids in all the world.
It is certainly a diverse group of learners. I have a student who is on a reading level C (which is typical Kindergarten or low 1st grade, rather than 4th grade) and I have several students who are far beyond grade level and are in the school's GATE (Gifted And Talented Education) program. It will be a challenging year, but I've already seen some exciting successes with my students.
Sorry to have been so busy. I will try to upload some pictures of my classroom setup eventually. Many thanks to Janet for the regalia from China--my kids are fascinated by it!