Happy New Year everyone!! I am officially back at school and I feel so refreshed and very much restored. I woke up 30 minutes early this morning because I was so excited to be back in the swing of things and start this next half of the year off right!
I wanted to treat today like the first day of school again. 11 days of no school and crazy routines will throw anyone off especially 23 8 year olds. They all came in and found that I have a whole new seating arrangement. I needed a fresh look and this way, they are around new people! When the day started, we had our morning meeting which ran a little differently than normal. Because they were all so excited to share about their breaks, I set aside 20 minutes just for them to share. They loved listening to everyone’s stories and it was a way to help them get all of their chatter out before we got into our day.
We then spent our “activity” time of our morning meeting talking about our class expectations. I’m a big person on creating these expectations as a team/group instead of me just telling them my rules. I like to have them be apart of that process, so they can take responsibility and ownership of our room. We made a list of 6 “main” rules and 6 consequences at the beginning of the year. I took both lists down and we discussed them and talked about how we can make them better or stick to the expectations in a new way. I found a great (free!!) resource on teachers pay teachers that was all about rules and expectations. I found this on the shop Teach Create Collaborate. They took this back to their own desks and filled out 3 of the most important expectations/rules we have in our room on their own.
Once they finished, I had them talk with their groups (groups of 8) to discuss what they came up with to be their top 3 rules/expectations we have and why. From there, they also discussed what some consequences might be if one of the rules were to be broken. While they discussed I put the two words on the board and we got to work brainstorming together!
It definitely looks like a big jumbled mess (and some of the rules and consequences might not make much sense) but these were what they came up with, all on their own. I had no input on what they decided because I wanted them to take pride in creating our new set of rules and consequences. I then transferred these onto two different posters to hang in our room. I had each student sign both before hanging them up to show they approved of what was created.
Once that was completed we did a mini lesson on resolutions. I’m not the biggest fan on having one specific new year’s resolution but I am big on setting a goal for yourself that you work hard on everyday. For example, last year my resolution (goal) was to focus on myself, this year I have dedicated this to be the year of adventure. I shared this with my students but also told them some normal resolutions they might hear (workout more, get better grades, learn how to do a cartwheel, etc.) I showed them 2 awesome Youtube videos that explained resolutions and gave kid friendly examples. The first video was published by Syracuse entitled Kids share adorable New Year’s resolutions. The second video was a class Kid President video entitled Kid President AWESOME Year Challenge.
My kids loved both and got awesome ideas on what their resolutions should be. I found another free and awesome resource on Teachers Pay Teachers that was a cute writing template for them to write down what their resolutions would be. I found this on Amanda Garcia’s TPT store. It was the perfect mini writing activity for the day and to get back in the swing of things.
My math time was all review to get them back thinking math and so I knew they didn’t forget anything we really focused on right before they left. We played addition/subtraction scoot for the first half and then they worked on independent work the second half. The rest of the day was pretty calm and relaxing. My kids were back to their “normal” selves so my fingers are crossed we will have another successful half of the year!
Sidenote: I started Harry Potter as my read aloud today and my class is already in love with it! I could not be any happier!!!!