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September 11, 2008

What a difference a year makes

Last week was our first full week of school!  It was so exciting to see all of my students and get started on a new year.  I have nine "veteran" students -- students who I taught last year that are too young to move on to four-year-old pre-k -- which is fabulous.  It is amazing how easily they fell back into our routines, solved problems independently, and worked together.  Who would have thought the skills that took months to acquire a year ago could come back in a matter of hours?  I heard Aaliyah ask Carlos, "What can I do to make you feel better?" when she accidentally bumped into him, and Stephen asked Julia, "Can I have a turn?" when he wanted to help her put together a puzzle.  They remembered how to move between centers and requested that we sing their favorite songs throughout the day.  Part of me felt like it was June all over again! 

But watching my new students interact in the classroom reminded me that it was, indeed, September.  Malik was completely content to play by himself during recess today, and only fleetingly engaged with Suniah when she invited him to play.  Anna was flipping through books upside down and backwards and not paying attention to the pictures and words.  And all of my new students needed explanations and frequent reminders about routines, appropriate behaviors, and the language that we use in school.  Most of my new students have never been asked to "line up," and they don't know what it means to go to "P.E."  It's always important to remember to break down these seemingly simple phrases for students at the beginning of the year! 

Given the varrying experiences of each of my students, I was extremely impressed by how eager the veterans were to help their new friends.  Aaliyah took Emily's hand and showed her how to pick a book and sit in the library, and when Malik started singing during nap time, Makiera calmly explained why he needed to be quiet.  I am eager to see how our classroom community grows and develops throughout the year, and excited to witness how much each of my students will grow! 

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