Saturday, April 5, 2014

My First Day Back

This is the third maternity leave I have taken in my twelve years of teaching.  Coming back this time was a very different experience.  Both of my daughters were spring babies. So once they arrived I had the whole spring and summer home and then returned with a fresh new class in the fall.  My son is a fall baby. Therefore, I only spent two weeks with my class in September so coming back at the tail end of March after a 6 month hiatus made me a little nervous.  The wonderful and pleasant substitute that was in my room was who the students grew to know as their teacher and how could I step in and take over?

The morning of my first day back the kids' reactions to seeing me were anything but what I expected.  They walked in with a casual, "hey Mrs. Schneider" as if I had never even left??? Of course there were a few who couldn't hold back their excitement and shouted down the hall to the others on their way up to the classroom, "Mrs. Schneider is back!" For the most part though it was just another Monday. These kids must be very well adjusted to changes.

I however wanted the day to go perfectly to set the tone for the remainder of the school year. I wanted the students to feel comfortable with me, to trust me, and to take me seriously as the one in charge.  I thought long and hard of an activity to do with them on my first day back and came up with something that was exactly what I hoped for.

I created a subway art entitled "Our Classroom."  There are many of these floating around on the internet so I can't take full credit for all of the sayings on it, but the design is by yours truly. I showed this to the kids and talked about the expectations of our classroom. The kids loved the funny letters and fonts. They also were proud to display this on our front bulletin board.  Here is what it looks like.

 second grade blog

The next thing I did was display a subway art that I designed of myself entitled, Mrs. Schneider.  The students really loved this because it was a chance for them to get to know me.  I included details that would interest them about who I am outside of being their teacher.  
 second grade blog

The next part of the activity was my favorite. I gave the students a template which only had some boxes on it. The boxes were randomly placed on the paper the way that they are in a subway art poster.  The kids were told to use any color, font, size words they would like to describe themselves.  It was so much fun reading the things they wanted to share with me. 
This lesson activity was a great way to get to know each other on my first day back in the classroom! 

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