FIRST DAYS OF SCHOOL ARE WEIRD. I spend so much time anticipating them, planning for them and preparing for them that when they arrive they feel a little bit surreal. I told a fellow teacher in the lunchroom today, "I can't believe it is the first day of school again."
I enjoyed the day, and got more excited about the school year as the day went on - which seems kind of backwards. The kids were pretty adorable. You've never seen as many new shoes, as the first day of school. I love seeing their smiles when you say the simple sentence, "You got new shoes." They show them off proudly -- even the 5th graders who are trying to front like they are above it all.
I run the Tech Lab, which is sort of like the computer lab - but not really. My job is to make sure my students have the skills they need to be able to design, create and build with technology. Sometimes we use computers, sometimes we use robots, and sometimes we use pencil and paper. I also teach every single student from 2nd - 5th grade. Last year I taught every student from Kinder - 5th, but they needed me to teach a section of reading this year, so I don't get to spend time with my tiniest friends.
My first activity of the school year is something called the 30 Circle Challenge. I gave my students a sheet of paper with 30 empty circles on it, and asked them to create recongizable objects - using as many as the circles as they can in 3 minutes. Many kids draw baseballs and smiley faces, or suns and cats. One kid in my class though, a sweet second grader, filled in two of circles in the middle, drew on a smiley face, and turned the whole sheet into a giant picture of Sponge Bob. It was some pretty awesome divergent thinking - which is kind of the purpose of the exercise. I held up his picture and one of his classmates (a fellow 2nd grader) said, "Now I see why you had us do this." My eyes grew GINORMOUS and I asked, "What do you mean?" And this is what an 8 year old said, "Well, we didn't all think the same. He thought different, but not bad. It was good but different good."