Valentine’s Day Circus
Posted by mrsmelva on 13/02/2009
Well, yesterday was Valentine’s Day at school since we have no school today. That was coupled with a late start due to a planned power outage – what idiot would plan a power outage for 7-9 am on a school day, especially a school day leading into a special occasion and a long weekend? Not good planning. I went to school early, while the power was still off to clean up the mess I had left the night before, when I decided to go home at 10:30 p.m., after a full school day, report card interview, housing board meeting, Parents as Partners meeting and then getting my Valentine gifts ready for the children. We weren’t having a party per se, but in the morning and the afternoon some parents did bring in treats. We had a five ring circus going on with kids working on different phases of their valentines for their parents, reading books, finishing other works, and reading with the gym teacher (or trying to climb on the gym teacher)! I was also trying to do a report card interview with a parent (catch them when you can!) – then we put her to work helping kids cut hearts. The afternoon class that I was so frustrated with yesterday was somewhat better today. They were actually quite good for the first little while when not all of them had arrived and those who had were all busy. Then, as more arrived and we had more kids at different phases of work completion, they got pretty wild. This group is very needy with regard to teacher attention, and seem to be quite happy with any attention, even negative. I did have a small success, one girl came to tattle about another while I was dealing with assisting the special needs kids and with a spill of sequins combined with overenthusiastic clean up. I told her that she had to go back to the other girl and deal with it because I was just too busy to deal with their problems. I checked in a few minutes and they were both holding the rose and talking about the problem. My tutor and I put most of our energy into helping the kids with making their valentines and the kids who were putting valentines into bags, and tried to monitor the others as best we could given the situation. They were all very excited and energetic – they actually calmed down a little when we fed them the cake and cookies that had been brought in – so much for the “sugar makes them hyper” theory. I am still trying to find the key to helping this group become normalized – I have noticed differences when certain students are not there; but I need to work with all of them as a group. I think that on Tuesday I will go back to the beginning of the year procedures teaching that we did for the bootroom porcedures. A lot of our issues and energy escalations seem to stem from the bootroom, at arrival, recess and at dismissal time. If we work at reinforcing the routines and procedures there, especially as they arrive, perhaps they will be a little more settled as they choose work. I hope so. I will have to put some of the small group work aside in order to develop the whole class to a point where they are normalized enough to work independently while we work with small groups. The morning group is so good at that, but they had the benefit of the full attention of two adults at the start of the year. Maybe I am expecting too much from this afternoon group, given the different start that they had. It is worth a try, since the small group work is not productive when it is constantly interrupted.