Thursday, October 6, 2011

Top 7 Reasons Why I Love First Grade

1. I am so glad that I can sing anything to my students, at any time, and they deem it completely normal and regular. It's amazing how you can tell first graders to sit on their spots or to get off the wall with a regular voice and they don't do it, but then the moment you just sing those directions in whatever musical format, they suddenly seem to be listening and adhere to the request. Not to mention, singing songs like "If You're Happy and You Know It" or "Welcome to School" with them in the mornings to start our days always makes us smile.

2. I get to tell my students I love them every single day. I tell kids all day long, but I love how we go around in a circle during our morning meeting and I get to tell each one of them, "Good morning, I love you, and I'm glad you're here." About 3 weeks ago I was at my personal training at 24 hour fitness and my trainer kept ragging on me about all the days I DON'T come to the gym. I got ticked at him and said, "You never praise me for when I actually DO come!" It got me thinking-- I need to praise my kids and celebrate each day that they come to school. It's a miracle and a blessing that they are there.

3. First graders are hilarious. They do things like the following: "Miss Leiss, my thought-protector told me it wants a piggy back ride." ...and precede to put the 3-sided folder for protecting test answers on their backs and carry them across the room. Or they do things like take TPRI testing materials, such as letters to make and complete a word on a task sheet, and make them dance or choo-choo train to their places. They constantly crack you up because they have no idea about social cues yet, so they just do whatever they want, and everyone thinks it's ok. Like when they run about madly at recess like a ravenous monster, or care too much about power rangers. It's okay to everyone, and quite entertaining for me.

4. First graders have a very unique view of the world. They are extremely observant little human beings, and they notice everything. They are like sponges, soaking up all the stimuli around them, and it is amazing the things they tell me about-- what it's like at home, their adventures at Wal-Mart, or how they think babies come from outer space and are shot down like rockets out of the sky into their mommy's tummy. Most everything that goes on in their little worlds is so innocent and fresh, and to be able to laugh and think like a child with them keeps me younger still ;)

5. First graders have ENTHUSIASM! I am obsessed with the fact that they get just as excited as I do about the daily moon phase, weather, Watercolor Wednesdays, or new phonics rules. I can always count on them to be enthusiastic about what we do, and the thing is, I honestly really DO love knowing and teaching things like the daily moon phase. So it makes me happy that they care too!

6. Everyday is an up-and-down rollercoaster adventure. You cannot predict what will happen one day to the next. My team teachers in first grade and I are always sharing stories about our days during lunch, recess, and planning. The stories and ongoings of our crazy days rattle off and never seem to end for any of us. Whether a student threw up on the carpet at the same moment that a rat ran across the room and the children are all standing on the desks in fear (literally--that happened) or you have to cover up an "accident" on your brand new Ikea rug with a lion's face and tell everyone that it was a spilled water bottle...each day holds a new challenge or test of its own. But we are more than conquerors.

7. HUGS hugs HUGS hugs HUGS... all. day. long. The amount of hugs I get is insane. I even have one student who will give me a very soft kiss on the stomach sometimes. I always just kinda go, "okayyyy...thanks friend..." and have to smile to myself because, you know, he doesn't have a mom at home. And I'm glad that he can be affectionate with a healthy extent, of course. It always makes me slow down and stop to smell the roses when I'm going going going and then one of my students gets up in the middle of the lesson or activity and I go, "Where should you be? What are you doing?" and they just come towards me and wrap their arms around me. I immediately realize that they just want to show me they love me and that they care, and they are happy to embrace me. It helps me to calm down and realize that what I do is so much more than just cramming in 4 subject areas into our schedule each day, and it always makes my heart better than it was the moment before the hug.

I know there are other reasons, but there you have it. I started with trying to make a Top 10 list, but I condensed it into 7 because I like 7. Haha. Until next time...let the first grade love abound!

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