Better Days

I've been having some truly great days recently. I can't seem to make any connection as to why all of a sudden the upswing of things. Here are the Facebook status updates that I had posted:

from Tuesday, November 1, 2011:

Had a great day today! Started with choir (we did "All These Things I've Done" by The Killers), executed a great writing lesson, book group time, switched 5th grade classes for Social Studies, had lunch with grown-ups today, introduced complicated volume problems, started a new read-aloud (the great "When You Reach Me" by Rebecca Stead), wrapped up a history chapter with my class, hung out with Mr. Zickrick and his boys, went to Odyssey of the Mind practice with five great students and then drove home on 287 at 20 mph in the crazy snow. Now time to catch up on TV!

from Thursday, November 3, 2011

Today was one of the best days of the school year! Drove through crazy spooky fog to get to work on time, let my kids in early so they wouldn't freeze, did a reading inventory for the whole class, progress monitored all of my kids (except two), reestablished our reading goals and incentives for 2nd quarter, introduced a new prewriting organizer, taught Mr. N's class about "encore", found one of my kids using his organic fruit lunch as a weapon, practiced order of operations, held book groups, introduced european routes of exploration, experienced "first come first served" with halloween candy, redid a bulletin board, picked up Zickrick to get some fuel, school paperwork, hanging with friends, X Factor, and hopefully I'll get to start reading "A Wrinkle in Time" since I am racing a student who is already forty pages in.

I do want to rehash a few more specific things from today. I assigned a writing prompt today, "Why I Like This School", and had my class develop this piece independently, to assess their writing procedures. I didn't give them any other direction or instruction.

After about fifteen minutes, one of my boys (DM) raises his hand to ask "Is this good?" like he always does. I try to not give him false praise, but rather focus on the effort that he has put into it. I tend to respond, "I don't know, what do you think?" But today I didn't. He wanted me to read it right away, and since he was one of the first ones to complete it, I decided I could entertain him and read it.

I skimmed it and I found that I was listed as one of the things he likes about school. I love this kid. He's also a normal boy, and he included playing football at recess and his friends among his other reasons.

Fast forward to the end of the day, I'm releasing all of the kids to go home. Most of the kids get picked up by their parents and a few ride the bus. Normally, it's a mad rush to get out of the classroom and leave the school, but today, after excusing everyone, DM didn't leave. He usually meets his first grade brother outside my class, but said that since it was cold today (it was pretty cold today) that he would wait for him inside.

Well, he's messing around inside with another one of my students, and I tell him he better hurry up because his little bro is probably waiting outside in the cold. DM disagrees with me and insists that he's not there yet.

So I open the door, completely expecting him to be standing right beside my door, shivering in the cold. DM was right. No one was there. But I could see him on the approach. Once his brother gets to my room, I let him in since DM is still inside, not leaving.

And now I've got both of them, the two brothers in my room with a few other students still cleaning up to go home. Now DM's mom picks him up to go home and she's always on time, waiting in their car along the pick=up/drop-off curb. So now that his little brother is here, I'm insisting they get going because now their mom will be waiting.

Dom doesn't get up to leave. In fact, he says, "I don't want to leave. I want to stay with you."

This kid is ridiculous. Sweet, but ridiculous. So I tell him, "Um, no. Your mom's waiting for you guys!"

So then I open the door to walk them out and guess who's waiting outside my door? It's their mom! =) Man, did those boys move fast.

Now, even though mom probably was wondering what was taking them so long, it does give me that much needed affirmation that I'm creating a classroom where my students feel safe and comfortable and happy.

The first quarter of the year is now two weeks past, and most of those days ended with me frustrated and disappointed with myself. During this second quarter, instead of staying up all night thinking about all the negative things and failed lessons from that day, I am trying to focus on any successes and any positive instances from my day.

This has been in my mind all day, and it has been good.