Friday 3 February 2017

First week in my own class!

Today marks the finish of my first week in my own class!

And I tell you what, I am knackered. I have fallen asleep mid-afternoon every day this week (and for the previous two week as well lol).

Check out my lovelies!!

Also note that the link to our new class blog is here (and yes, it already has content!) and the class site I made here.

We have had such a great week together, done some learning and had lots of fun, and I love them a lot already. 
My class role is technically 23 (which is a small class by today's standards!), however I have only had 13-15 kids everyday, which is so weird! 

One person who has joined my class who was not originally on my roll is "Bob". 
(Referred to earlier in my blog here and here). Myself, Ottilie and our syndicate leader decided he would learn better in my class, as in the other class there were a few boys who would distract him VERY easily. I am stoked to have him back. I received a wonderful compliment from my mentor Archana, who told the the other year 5/6 teacher Ottilie that Bob would do great in my class again because 'I had the best relationship with him out of all the staff'. If you have read the previous posts on Bob, you will know I put a lot of effort and work into the relationship with this particular student and so I was delighted to have this effort acknowledged. Once he had moved into my class he settled in quickly and within the hour was part of the team. Having him in my class this year will present challenges as he is significantly lower than the bulk of my class academically, but we will make it work the best we can.

Another couple of things I have focused on doing in the first week of school is setting up my expectations for the kids, and their expectations of me. 
We have done a lot of activities where the kids had to work in various groupings which I purposely changed to force them to work with someone they don't know, getting them to share their ideas with a group, come up and write on the board, explain their mathematical thinking aloud to the class, speaking in front of the class while being videoed by me etc etc. These are all things I want them to get used to as these are things I expect the kids to do daily, so I wanted to include these expectations from day 1 so they are seen as normal and not scary. 
I wanted to be more transparent with my kids this year, not telling them absolutely everything of course, but just being more open with stuff they can know about and will  understand in terms of their learning. I have done this by explaining the term overview for our Inquiry units (what we will be doing week by week), my gaming unit (what we will be doing and why, and how this leads into coding next term). I have not seen teachers tell kids so far in advance what they will be doing and why. I'm not sure why we don't, it's not like its a secret, but in my experience it's not common practice. We seem to only tell them what they need to know for that particular day. I personally feel like if they knew where they were going, they would understand the importance of what they are doing now and be more motivated to do it well.
Another expectation I wanted the kids to have of me, is speaking Maori everyday. Yes, I am not fluent in Te Reo Maori nor do I profess to be confident in speaking the little that I know. However, it is something I didn't do at all last year and so I wanted to make sure I included Maori in some way, everyday, from day 1 of school. I start the day by greeting my kids 'ata pai toku aroha', which means good morning my loves, and farewelling them at the end of the day with 'ka kite ano apopo' which means see you again tomorrow. I have tried to include other words like korero (talk), but the kids didn't know what it meant so I just had to laugh.. 
Linked to my use of Maori, is my effort to try and call ALL my kids by names like my love, love, sweet, (etc) for example, 'love can you pass me the pencils?', 'thank you sweets'. I want my kids to feel like I instantly love them and feel like I do want them to be in my class, really building the whanau feeling. It hurts me to think that some of these kids come to school without being spoken to kindly by an adult all morning, or that there may be no adults in their life who tell them explicitly they are loved or wanted. It is part of my job as their teacher to be that person who tells them they are loved, wanted and supported. I think I have started this well.

It has been an exhausting week but a great one, and I am excited to get into some real learning next week now that I have gotten to know my new kids! 


  1. Hi Ashley
    Congratulations on surviving your first week in the class. I remember taking nana naps almost every day my first year. Actually now in fifth year I've come home and just had a nana nap.

    I like how you are spending time getting to know your kids - in the end kids don't learn from those they learn from.

    In regards to not letting kids know ahead of time what they are doing and why. A lot of the time going into a unit I'm not sure where it is heading. Often in the 'tuning in' phase (get Kath Murdoch's book - it's amazing) where there might be some provocations I'm trying to see where the children's thinking is at and what interests them in order to develop further.

    Good luck for the rest of the term.


    1. Hi Stephanie, nice to meet you! :)
      That is absolutely true, sometimes we don't know where the unit will go. The unit we have at the moment is around the Treaty of Waitangi and Hauora, so its pretty set, however im sure the units for term 2/3/4 will be more open.
      Thanks for your support :)

  2. Wow, sounds like an action packed first week Ashley and you've made some great inroads in building your relationships with the kids! Great to see you embracing the use of Te Reo, it is something that I also want to practice more this year. Look forward to reading your next post!

    1. Thanks Heath, can't wait to hear all about how your year is going :)

  3. Hi Ashley, it sounds like an awesome start to the year! We definitely have similar ideas regarding the use of reo, this is so important to establish at the start of the year!

    1. Definitely! I look forward to hearing about your class on Friday Danni :)


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