Wow! For only just finishing our seventh day of school on Friday, we have already done so much! It has been a very smooth transition back with the benefit of spending all last year together. From the first day, it was very apparent to me that the students had missed one another and were glad to be back together. Without my prompting, they went up to each other and began chatting about their time apart and the fun things they had done. It was great to see how comfortable they still were with each other, despite the separation of a couple of months. With no need for name games, we have jumped right into playing games and activities to help us practice cooperation, explore with the new and improved classroom space, and share about our summer adventures.
On top of their comfort level with one another, it is also apparent to me in other ways that this is our second year together and that this is a class of second graders, the new leaders of our school. During Readers' Choice time, the students have been asking deeper and more meaningful questions while I read a book aloud to them as well as when they are reading independently. When I look around the room during this time, I see students deeply engaged in their books, laughing to themselves and eager to share that story with a friend during partner reading. I have also been hearing many phrases such as, "May I use that marker when you are done with it?" followed by the response, "Sure!". It's very exciting to see these things happening regularly as we have just started out!
Another new and exciting aspect of this year is we have a fun twist to our three main school rules, 1. Be Safe 2. Be Kind and 3. Be Responsible, that were introduced last year. Now every time a student gets caught exhibiting one of these school expectations, they receive a "Warm Buzzy" or even a "Golden Buzzy" if the behavior was seen on the playground. They then add their buzzies into our classroom Honey Jar and when ours is full we have a classroom celebration and add our collection to the big Bee Hive in the front office. When that Bee Hive is full, we have a school wide celebration! The students have been very busy earning both Warm Buzzies and Golden Buzzies and we have already emptied our Honey Jar quite a few times into the Bee Hive in the office. Each time we walk by the students look in to see how many more we need until it is full--we are getting VERY close!
With the new routines of the classroom continuing to be introduced, this upcoming week we will be busy diving back into Bridges, Fundations and beginning our first theme on African Animals!