I teach a reading class every morning from 9:00-10:30. When I first accepted my position, my father-in-law asked me how I was going to know how to teach how to read. I said, “They’ll already read when they come to me. I’ll just work on inferencing and comprehension and stuff like that. I don’t know how to teach kids how to read!”
Then I got the assignment: first grade. I am, in fact, teaching kids how to read.
Thanks to a scripted reading program and some helpful colleagues, we’re doing all right. I thought I’d offer readers a little glimpse into my mornings…
The Angie Board. This is the only thing that bears resemblance to my previous classroom. There are a lot more baby pictures now than they’re were before…
We focus a lot on parts of a story. We also have very simple goals that we work on for a couple weeks at a time. It turns out that “Active Listening” was too complex of a concept. Now we are working on “Sitting Still.”
We have little name stars (I blurred the names out). And black paper that blocks any action happening outside the classroom. (Our classroom is a little conference room in the office that used to host the video conferencing equipment.)
We work on alternatives to raising our hands and asking the teacher how to spell something.
Some of the writing makes it to the Wow Writing Wall. (I’ll have to scan some of the writing some time. It’s adorable.) My first grade teacher saved all of my writing in a three ring binder and gave it to me at the end of the year. My parents still have it. I’m doing the same thing for my students. Each one has a file folder full of writing.
But, this is the best part about teaching first grade reading.
These adorable little faces and smiles.
They also hug me every day. They even hug me when they see me outside of school.
And they are teaching me lots. For example:
-Letting first graders pick which stickers they want is not a good idea. It will take FOREVER.
-If you let one first grader have a turn at something, you have to let all the first graders have a turn at something.
-It is very important how long your pencil is.
-First graders will remember exactly what you said when you don’t want them to remember it at all.
-It didn’t really happen if you didn’t share it with the class.
-Sometimes you just need some time to cry.
-Being uninvited from someone’s birthday party is serious business.
-Being forbidden from trick-or-treating at someone’s house is even more serious business.
I think I still have a lot to learn.