Getting Dressed for Winter (and Guided Reading)!

Winter clothes

I don’t know what it is, but I always find the first week of school after Christmas holidays filled with “WOWs!!!” For some reason, this is the time when many light bulbs go on for my firsties. The routines and expectations are now out of the way and we can finally get down to some learning. They are excited about reading and writing and are now putting together everything I tried cramming into their brains since September. I can see it in their eyes, they are getting it, “Ahhhh, this is why we are here, and I guess it’s fun!”.

We are now moving into learning about winter: signs of winter, winter clothing, and winter animals. Here is “Getting Dressed for Winter”, a reading and writing booklet for winter clothing. I apologize to my American friends, I know a toque is a hat and I could have used hat instead, but toque is better!

Getting Dressed for Winter printable

This week I will also FINALLY begin my guided reading groups. I know some teachers will be tsking, but instead of concluding that I am a totally incompetent grade one teacher, please read on there is a valid reason. I have been meaning to do it for months now, but this class just needed more time:

  • more time to learn that the carpet area is not a wrestling mat
  • more time to learn that no matter how much you try, you can not colour your picture all with one pencil crayon and call it a day
  • more time to learn that gooey lunch residue on tables will eventually come back to haunt crisp clean paper that you are about to do your work on
  • more time to learn that arguing about whose pencil is taller will not help you get your work done quicker

and last but not least

  • more time to learn that punching boys in the “meat balls” is not a good habit to get into.

I was not ready to have them in literacy centres for guided reading, I was ready to have a nervous breakdown! In September I read everything I could get my hands on about Daily 5 and my wheels started to spin. I was ready to go….

BUT these kids, these sweet smiling, exuberant, wide eyed, group of kids, who as my librarian as stated, “working with them is like trying to herd a bunch of cats”, sent me to jail without passing go, without collecting $200. The good thing is that they are very cute (and they know how to use this quality to their advantage). I love having a challenging group, they keep me on my toes, but I always need to be able to run on 110%. If anything gets in the way (ie: my own two children keeping me up at night tag teaming each other with puke and diarrhea) I need a lot of Starbucks and chocolate to make it through.

I don’t think anyone understands how MUCH I truly appreciate it when people come to my door and ask, “Is there anything I can do to help”. YES! YES! YES! These kids need a lot of one on one attention, I can not be there for them at all times. Before the holidays I had a work experience student in my class for a month, and I literally cried when she left because the class was so much easier to work with with her around and I was scared to see how it was going to be when she left. It was a bonus that she took initiative and that the kids loved her. It just reminded me how important it is to ask for and take all the help I can get. So I apologize ahead of time if you enter my classroom and ask me, “Is there anything I can to do help” and I rip your arms out of your sockets. There are always things you can do to help, even just standing around listening to little boy #1 tell you SLOWLY about the elaborate drawing he is making in his journal helps tremendously!

So, my work experience student left and January arrived. Here’s a thank you card that we made for her. If you need to make a card, this was so simple to make, and it ends up being a great keepsake. The kids each drew something to thank her for, we taped all the pieces together and I cut out hands for the front and back covers.

Thank you book Thank you book Thank you book

I’m sure I’m not alone being in the state I’m in and I’m sure that I will have more challenging groups to work with in the future. Thank freaking goodness the light bulbs are starting to go on!

Happy Teaching!

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