I'm sure you are wondering why I haven't posted anything lately. The truth of the matter is that I am swamped by a two inch thick pile of papers that are just waiting to be graded! That's what I get for giving my kids brain warm-ups in the morning and in the afternoon! A friend told me that giving them something to do in the morning establishes a routine while getting the kids ready for the day or the afternoon. I can't agree more PLUS it's really awesome when they get something, you know, that proverbial light bulb...but the paperwork...UGH! Even with a quick plus, check or minus, I'm already behind by a week! Don't get me wrong, when Friday rolls around the kids have a heap of stuff to take home in their folders!
Which leads me to wonder when I became the teacher who uses paper (and a LOT of it) to get her kids to do stuff?!?!? I'm not that teacher am I? I'm the fun one. The one who does fun (while still learning) activities. Music plays during group project time so the kids sway to the beat as they put together posters or puzzles. We're out of our seats. We're talking with a partner or two and sharing ideas. We're brainstorming...I mean, the kids have about a zillion things on their "What kids need to know in 2nd grade" lists, it's not like they are coloring all the time, they are, indeed, learning something or twenty...still, the paper trail is driving me nuts!
Speaking of paper trail...Have I mentioned I do after care? Well, three days a week I watch anywhere from 15-30+ children ranging in ages from 2-10 years old...and the first few weeks were chaos. Seriously. I was completely outnumbered - and I still am. And frankly my room is not safe for kids under 6! I have games with a gazillion parts to them! But alas here is where the whole paper thing comes into play. I have found that a successful (read: less messy) Mrs. Bell's room with a five minute clean-up merely requires 100 pieces of paper with photocopies of favorite things...HITS: anything Disney princess or animals; MISSES: Sesame Street characters. Who knew? So I have the coloring station with three buckets of crayons (supplied by me and any kids who decided they didn't care to get their crayons back last year); the play with Legos and Jenga blocks station; room on my carpet for a read-aloud or to play games; an area to do homework (study hall is for an hour and only for 4th grade and up); a snack station; and on Mondays I don't even have to do this in my classroom! I simply have the boys pick a movie one week, the girls another, and life goes on.
So off I go to bed so that I can wake up in the morning and grade papers...because by golly those Friday folders will have mail in them so help me!!!