Saturday, December 4, 2010

First Grade Faves

For those of you who haven't heard, I am currently teaching first grade at a Title I school in Las Cruces.  Now that I've overcome the hurdles of starting late in the school year, I'm absolutely loving my job.  Notice that I typed "job" and not "life" there.  That's because I haven't had much of a life lately.  Yes, educating little six and seven-year-olds has consumed me, but in return, brought me abundant bliss.  Here are just a few of my first grade faves thus far.

First graders lose teeth left and right... and top and bottom.  The loss of baby teeth is such a special and exciting time in the life of a child... and  in my case, the life of a child's teacher.  Although I'm not as brave as my first grade teacher who actually pulled out her students' teeth, I have been known to dole out a few very helpful teeth pulling pointers here and there.  My favorite part of the whole  deciduous tooth loss experience is actually not at the time of removal.  It's afterward... when hands have been washed, bloody tissues have been disposed of and when I can have the most adorable holey smile flashed my way any time I like.

Let's face it.  I've never been this popular in school before.  Now that I teach first grade, kids give me silly bands and make me beaded jewelry and even one-of-a-kind Fruitloop art.  I have a closet door covered with signed coloring  book pages and free hand drawings from budding artists.  Students who aren't even in my class (that I swear I've never seen before) say hi to me in the halls, call me by name and even stop by to tell me I'm pretty.  I get an endless supply of hugs and high fives any day of the week (Monday-Friday, of course).  Many students pick me flowers or bring me apples from home (which I was surprised to find that kids still did).  Although I'm still not as popular as Sponge Bob or Hannah Montana among today's youngsters, I'm climbing the charts nevertheless.

Believe it or not, first grade students are old enough to understand my jokes and still young enough to think they're funny and quite entertaining.  Granted, my funnies are always G-rated and not especially sophisticated.  Whenever I utter a pun or quip, my students giggle and say, "Ms. Sims, you're so silly."  And, what can I say?  They're absolutely right!  I will dress up in flannel pajamas, have pretend conversations with imaginary people,  do imitations, break out in song or dance, refer to myself in the third person and quite frankly, act a fool in any number of ways for learning's sake.

Luckily for me, children in first grade love school, and they sincerely want to please.  In fact, I have one particularly enthusiastic student who everyday without fail announces, "I love ______!"  Blank happens to be whatever I say we're doing that day.  So, on Monday it's, "I love rhyming!"  Tuesday it's, "I love geometry!"  Wednesday it's, "I love seeds!"... and so on.  To be honest, every student has a positive attitude about learning and wants to be in attendance and on time for class.  Right there, the doors to engagement and discovery are flung wide open.  Hallelujah!

First graders are not only great learners, but they're great teachers too.  I  relish calling on eager volunteers to explain concepts, class rules or steps in directions.  I'm not biased or anything, but I have some very talented teachers-in-the-making in my class!  One day I overheard  the following student discussion.  Student A: "Awwwwwwwwwww.  I want to listen to the song again."  Student B: "Ohhhhhhhhh... That's called whining.  Mrs. Sims doesn't like whining.  That means you have a stinky attitude."  (Mrs. Sims silently concurred with a smile.)   

So, I've given you a taste of first grade, my faves that is.  Hope you found them as sweet as I do.  Stay tuned for the flip side of first grade.  First Grade Faux Pas is in the works and coming soon!