Whew! It was a very busy day, but I think we started off well! Things didn't always go according to plan, which I expected, but we got through the basics, adjusted to new routines, and began getting to know each other.

The biggest thing that surprised me, although it really shouldn't have, is the time we needed to spend playing. My students have spent two full years in the FDK program, so they are used to having large blocks of time playing and doing activities that they choose. I didn't realize how much of an adjustment it was going to be for them to have more structured learning time. So, we spent 15-20 mins at some point during each block playing with a choice of activities. Hopefully I will be able to slowly shorten that time, or minimize the number of choices they have to guide them towards more structured learning.

However, when I say structured learning, I don't mean sitting at their desks listening to me blab or doing endless worksheets. I'm a strong believer in inquiry learning, 3-part math lessons, Readers' Workshop, and other collaborative learning models. The challenge will be to offer them choices that will satisfy their need to play and explore, while they also learn about particular concepts I want to focus on. They are not used to having significant periods of time learning as a whole group, so even spending 15 mins on the carpet explaining routines or collaborating on our classroom rules was difficult for them.

Overall, the day went remarkably well! I'm looking forward to doing it all again tomorrow!
 



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