Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Premature Return and HELP!!!!

Greetings long lost teacher friends!! So, as you all have probably already guessed, my return post was a little premature. I so thought I could handle being back in the bloggy world but sadly I have not had time to even stalk my favorite blogs, let alone post on my own! See, as most of you probably don't know, tomorrow is the ONE MONTH MARK until my wedding! So, as you can probably guess, I have been CUH-RAZY trying to balance back to school, coaching dance, getting an apartment ready, AND planning a fall wedding for 250+ people! The process has been super fun but also super stressful with trying to balance everything on top of it! I am desperately trying to enjoy this last month of planning because I know as soon as the wedding is over I will be instantly nostalgic for that bride-to-be-feeling (even though deep down I know I will love being married much more). Anyhoo, I finally had some time to take a peek at all my fave blogs last night, and I have so enjoyed catching up on everyone's back to school experiences! Kristin at A Teeny Tiny Teacher said it best when she said she refused to believe progress reports were due ALREADY!! It is so hard to believe we have already been in school for six weeks! You should check out her super cute writing assessment she posted to help assess your kiddos before you fill out yours! I did it with mine this morning and I can't wait to check them out and see how my little darlings are progressing!

This brings me to my next order of business: I NEED HELP!!!!!! I didn't get a chance to post the first few weeks of school to report that my class this year is a bit what you would call....special? challenging? I'm not sure what the appropriate terminology would be, but let's just say I could really use some advice. o, my school went down to one first grade class of 24 this year, and I was the lucky duck who got to stay in first grade and teach them. I know, I know. You seasoned public school teachers are probably saying, "What's the big deal? 24 sounds like a DREAM compared to my number!" After my student teaching experience with 28 children, I would oridinarily agree. However, it is not the number that I am struggling with. THIS particular mix of 24 should have never ever EVER happened. I know I legally cannot go into depth on this, but just believe me when I say, I am having a bit of a rough year. I will say though, I am fortunate enough to have them split half and half in the morning for reading and math with another teacher. I teach all the language arts while she teaches math and science, and then we switch. No big deal right? Well, not so much. I am having a REALLY hard time differentiating my two groups. They are literally split RIGHT down the middle as far as ability goes. My first group can hardly recite their vowels, and most of the kiddos in my second group are already reading chapter books. We have Reading Street as our reading series (which I am not a huge fan of anyway), but with such difference in skill level, I am having a hard time staying on the same lessons for each group. With the wedding sucking literally every inch of creativity out of me, I could really use some of your fabulous ideas! I already do reader's workshop in my room, using Reading Street as my guide, but not following it exactly. However, the centers/guided reading concept is waaayyyy too hard for my first group. How can you have guided reading if 3/4 of your class can't read the first word? Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love each and every SINGLE one of my kiddos, as they have some of the cutest/sweetest personalities, but you know how it is! I also have a HUGE case of the new class blues, which doesn't help! My partner teacher from last year moved up to second this year, so she got to keep some of her same kiddos, and now has some of my sweeties from last year. I often look across the hallway with my green-eyed monster and think, "How nice it would be to pick up where I left off!!" See, I absolutely LOVED my class from last year! They were hilarious and had so many unique personalities! I really do love my kiddos this year, but it's just not the same! You all know how that goes! But, I know switching grade levels is a LOT of work and that is the last thing I needed in the midst of this wedding, so in a way I am thankful! :)

Ok, so enough of my venting before I get myself in trouble. Bottom line: I would love love LOVE if you fabulous, creative, imaginitive people could shed some light on the situation. How can I effectively differentiate these two groups without making it obvious to the kids that they are on two totally different levels? I definitely think I need to have two different spelling lists, but how do I go about this? Should I send home two different newsletters? How can I effectively/creatively get my kids on the right track? Any help, advice, or miracles you guys have up your sleeves would be so so SO appreciated!!

Well, that about wraps it up for my return post, and while I'm not promising that I'm back full time yet, things are starting to come together with the wedding so I will definitely have a little more time to stalk AND post! Once again, any and all feedback are more than appreciated, and I hope you guys are off to a great start with your new classes! If any of you are suffering from the new class blues, hit me up, we can swap stories and offer one another support!!!!

Much Love,