I have 27 first graders as of now, I gained 3 new students in the last 4 weeks and lost 1. They are adorable, rambunctious, oh so talkative, and exhausting. There is nothing better than their hugs and nothing worse then 27 little ones who won't stop talking.
The majority of class is not at the level I expected they would be which is discouraging, disappointing, and very overwhelming. Actually, much of the last 4 weeks has not been what I expected. I was educated and did student teaching in a different state-- a state, I am finding, where education is much different then it is in Arizona.
I expected my firsties to know their numbers to at least 100, their letters and letter sounds, and to be able to write a basic sentence. None of those expectations were met, I have students who can't count or write their numbers past 5, who cannot identify all 26 letters, and 98% of my kids can't write a sentence or even copy one when we are working together.
Because of all of this I have had to replan, rethink, and revamp how I thought I should/would do things. I am still trying to implement the Daily 5 and so far, my kids love it.
This weekend I spent time creating coupons that I will start using tomorrow to reward for good behavior. Pray for me that it works! Up until this point, consequences and rewards have had no effect on my kiddos. Most of them come from broken homes, foster homes, and worse. Missing out on something or earning something means nothing to them--they just don't care-- and I'm finding that a lot of parents don't care either.
27 5 and 6 year olds is a lot of chatty little ones in one room. I am trying to be creative, consistent, and loving in hopes that I can "break them" and teach them to follow the rules. I never knew 5 and 6 year olds could or would be so defiant.
I am determined to teach them. I am determined to love and like them at all times. I am determined to help them grow. I am determined to make them feel safe and wanted. I am determined.