Well, I can officially say that I survived the craziness of last week with the principal and school psychologist being out of the building for multiple days! This week we have everyone in the office, but it might get a little wild- it's Homecoming Week! Our 5th grade student council decided to have 'Spirit Week' instead of just one theme day. Today is Mix-Match Monday, and I certainly went all out! For some reason it is so much easier to dress myself when I don't have to worry about my outfit matching...
I really like to participate in Theme Days as a school counselor. I feel like it really gets the kids excited and increases participation. However, I can understand other viewpoints, such as kids feeling bad when the don't/can't participate. We tried to make it as simple and doable as possible! Tomorrow is Twin Day and I wasn't going to participate, but I think one of my favorite EAs (educational assistant) is going to be my 'Brewer' twin. Yay! I think I'm most looking forward to Wednesday, though. I'm really going to enjoy my sweatpants/PJs for Wake-up Wednesday :-D.
Note to self: Don't start Check In Check Out (CICO- PBIS Tier 2) on the morning that the principal is out, the school psychologist is out, all of the greeters/office EAs have MAP testing and need to get computers up and running, AND a new student needs to be taken to his classroom at the far end of the building. Oh, and we are short a substitute teacher because our new "Teachers On Call" system does not provide subs when teachers call in the morning of (or so we've experienced). It is only 9:00 and I am feeling pulled in 100 different directions. Fortunately most of the CICO greeters were on-point and gathered all of their students that needed to check in this morning. I was able to round-up our third graders, who are completely new to the process, by 8:15 and get them started off on a positive note.
I definitely learned last year to keep my schedule clear when I am the only person in the 'back office.' And today I am sure thankful I did! I am actually really excited to spend some time with a fourth grade class this morning (filling in as a 'sub'). I don't get to see them much since I have third grade for Lifeskills right now. That is the biggest downfall of my schedule/rotation with classroom lessons. But I will NOT complain, because it frees up my schedule to see individual students and run groups, as well as visit with ALL students during a few lunch/recess times and work with 5th grade Student Council.
Speaking of Student Council- Mr. Grenzow, the 5th grade adviser, and I decide to get student council up and running as early as possible. And that we did! Last week we met with our Planners and Promoters group to decide theme days for Homecoming Week, which is next week already. The funniest part was yesterday when he came to me in a panic because he deleted the Smart notebook that contained all of our notes from the meeting, including the days we decided on for next week. We were able to recall every day but Monday. Funny thing was, the students couldn't think of Monday either. I'm starting to think we didn't assign a 'theme' to that day, because no one seems to remember! Tomorrow the Planners and Promoters will be meeting again to make signs and a Podcast to promote the days next week. I'm hoping we made them easy enough for all students to participate! On Thursday we will be meeting with our Welcome Wagon committee. I am so excited to get this students started early this year! We have 19 new students, including our newest 5th grader who started today. Hopefully our Welcome Wagon students can 'buddy-up' with our new students and spend time getting to know them. We are still evolving as a student council, but I am so excited to see what we can become! Next Wednesday I FINALLY get to meet with my Junior Ambassadors! I have already had students asking when we will be meeting, so I already get the feeling that there is a lot of positive energy that will be coming to my meeting next week. I am already brainstorming ways that we can provide service to our school and our community. Last spring, we did a car wash to raise money for our school-wide focus of the McFarland Food Pantry. We raised over $500!! My thought is to do a fall fundraiser as well, but I'm trying to keep it simple. My most current thought is to have a competition where staff will volunteer to be 'Pied.' The staff member with the most money in their container will be 'pied' at Waubesa. I am hoping to get the community involved by setting up a table or something at one of the Friday night football games. So many ideas, so little time!
Well, I better wrap it up! I need to figure out what I'm teaching in 4th grade science today! I hope that the rest of the day goes smoothly... and tomorrow. And Thursday. Because my office neighbors (principal and school psychologist) won't be back until then! Wish me luck...
I am currently sitting at my desk watching students and their parents out my window. Coming and going to Teacher Meet and Greets and excitedly filling their new desks with new school supplies. Heading to the gym to take their school pictures. Some kids are excited, some are not. Maybe school isn't their thing, or maybe they are anxious about a new year, new teacher, new class. I don't blame them- new is scary! But I was sure to greet them as they came through the doors with a warm smile on my face. Hopefully I didn't scare some of them even more! At the beginning of every year, I find it difficult to see familiar students as a year older. I keep having to remind myself that they are now a fourth or fifth grader, not a third or fourth grader, respectively. It is amazing how much some of them have grown over the past few months. Some have not changed at all, or so I think. Slowly but surely I will find out what friendships have changed. Which ones are new, which ones are broken, and which ones don't exist anymore. That really seems to happen in fifth grade. Kids are forming their identities and their friendship groups. But what they don't realize at that age is that the process never ends. Middle school, high school, college, real life... they all bring changes. I can only hope that my students are able to cope with these changes and even thrive.
There are a lot of new changes at Waubesa Intermediate School this year. In order to give our homeroom teachers a common planning time, we have created a solid Related Arts (specials) block. The problem is, there are eight homerooms and six Related Arts classes. It will be quite a change having 27-30 students in a classroom. A new (to me) classroom that won't have any desks, tables, or chairs. A classroom that will have a projector but not a Smartboard. A classroom that gives me my own space without having to disrupt homeroom teachers. A classroom that will be the perfect space for me to meet with my 5th grade Student Council kids while homeroom teachers enjoy their peace and quiet during lunch. I am so grateful for this space to be available this year, even with some inconveniences.