We have been in school for eleven days.
And a lot has happened in eleven days.
For one thing, our K/1 combo was dissolved and I got two more students.
That would have brought me to 31 kids, but I lost one last week.
We’re still looking for him.
Oh, I kid.
I kid. Really.
He’s in a different class now. I won’t go into specifics, but let’s just say that this is now the best thing for him, and it had nothing to do with me, and you can rest assured that people are not pulling kids from my class.
Although, now that I’m at 30, that might not be so bad . . .
We’ve been working mostly on following directions for these past eleven days.
And we are getting better.
For the most part.
For example, the first week, things looked a little like this:
Me: When I call your name, come to your cubby. Don’t bring your backpack.
FYI – I have a No Camping Policy at my cubbies. My kids are not allowed to bring their backpack because then they tend to camp out and put each paper into their backpack one at a time and it is so slow and deliberate that I feel like I might lose my mind and I am afraid that I might end up grabbing all of the papers and crumpling them into nothingness and then shoving them into the offending backpacks and then tossing them across the room to get the kids to go follow them so that we have more space at our cubbies.
So . . . NO BACKPACKS AT THE CUBBIES. There are just way too many of us. We call it No Camping Out or Making S’mores.
As I was saying. Things looked a little like this last week:
Me: When I call your name, come to your cubby. Don’t bring your backpack.
Kids: Okay! Yay! Are we going home?
Me: We are getting ready to go home. It’s still an hour (or two) away, but this is going to take awhile. Trust me.
Kids: Okay! Yay! How long is an hour?
Me: So-and-So and So-and-So and So-and-So, come to your cubby.
So-and-So would arrive at his cubby. But not the other So-and-So or the other So-and-So.
Fourteen other kids would come to their cubbies. Some with backpacks.
Kill me now.
Some came with work they wanted to show me by shoving it into my face and saying, “Look! I finished!”
Some came with nothing except a confused look on their face. The poor little babies.
Others came with nothing except to tell me that they are reading a chapter book at home and they have a glitter bookmark and it practically lights up if you put it to the side and look under the lamp that they got for their birthday and did you know that they are six already?
I would have to take a deep breath. And smell the soup. This is where you breathe in deeply like you are smelling the soup and then you let the air out through your mouth as if you are blowing on the soup to cool it down.
We smell the soup a lot in my class. Sometimes, it’s just me. Other times, it’s a group effort thing. And sometimes, it’s just a kid all on his own because he can’t open his math paper, even though he actually can, it’s just that he has it turned over and so he’s trying to open the fold which doesn’t work (I mean, it’s a FOLD), and meanwhile the AC unit is blowing the other side wide open and it’s flapping in the wind, but he can’t see that at all because he’s concentrating so hard on the folded side that will not open.
That was just an example from today.
Anyways, after fourteen children arrived at the cubbies when I just asked three to come over, I had to use the signal.
It’s the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 signal. When we get to 1, everyone has to have their hands on their heads, no voices, etc. Even the teacher. And you know if the teacher can do it, you can do it, too, because I really don’t want to mess up my hair, and yet, here I am, doing just that.
By the way, this signal only works if you’re really firm the first few times and, even though it hurts you more than it hurts them, you take away a gold tag from the two or three kids that think they don’t have to put their hands on their heads, or the ones that think one hand on their head while the other hand is still coloring somehow counts, or the one that thinks he can talk to his friend because his hands are on his head.
Once you’ve established that you’re super serious about the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 signal, it works like a charm.
So I had to use that signal a lot the first week.
And then I would have to repeat the directions with a lot more words.
Such as, “When I call your name, come to your cubby. If it’s not your name, do not come over here. Do not come here to show me your work. Do not come here to tell me a story. Do not come here to ask me a question. Do not come here to give me a hug. Do not come here to ask me for a band-aid. Do not come here to tell me that my hair is two different colors. Do not come here to tell me that I am short.”
Kids: Okay! (and lots of laughter because I am a riot, don’t ya know)
Me: So-and-So, and So-and-So, and So-and-So, please come to your cubby.
The second time around, only eight or nine kids arrived.
The third time, only about five or six . . . and so on.
I was able to call table groups.
And only the table groups came to the their cubbies!!!!!!!
It was almost perfect.
Except one little guy didn’t come to his cubby.
And when I reminded him, he brought his backpack and he built a fire and he made s’mores.
And darn it, if he didn’t take every single paper out one at a time to fill up his backpack . . .
I had to look away and smell the soup.
I love your posts! It reminds me that all crazy first grade teachers deal with this kind of sruff, not just me!
today was my first day back
Ohmigosh. This. This right here… Anytime someone asks me what it's like to be a first grade teacher, I am making them read this!!
And thanks for giving me a good reminder of what's headed my way. I meet my new little puppies next week!
Stephanie Stewart says
HA!!! I heart you. Let's go smell some soup together. Somewhere in the Venetian/Palazzo, so we can get lost for a few hours first. That is all.
I am laughing so hard!!!!! Today was day 22 for me! Getting better each day! I started using gold tags this year!!!!! Amazing!!!!!!! Thank you for telling us about it!!!
I love reading your posts! Thanks for capturing all of our feelings into the perfect words. I laughed so hard, which was much needed. 🙂 I will think of this when I need to smell the soup tomorrow!
Sailing into Second says
I'll be getting ready to smell the soup on Wednesday….WAHHHHHH!!! 🙁
Miss Foote says
Hilarious!!! I already have 32 kids….and school doesn't even start for another week yet!
I have 36 kindergartners, and I can so relate! Especially to the part about the ones who feel they don't have to put their hands on their heads because they are still coloring….building….special. This is going to turn my hair gray!! I am hoping that by this time next month I will scarcely remember these early days because my students will have embraced excellence in a major way.
Mrs. Cantwell says
This is my life as a first grade teacher of ell students :). Have you seen this kid snippets? Classic! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KdxEAt91D7k
Haha! I have a no camping policy in my first grade, too….except mine is for the bathroom. They will spend FOREVER in there!
Sooooo feeling you with this post. Lol!
Fun In First
Theresa Goodrich says
You nailed it! I'm starting year 38 and it is STILL like that the first week!
Carol Polston says
Very funny! I feel your pain- sounds like you've described my class 🙂
Sandy Welch says
I'm with ya! You cheer me up!
Hope Newport says
Oh my lanta! This is a reminder of the pain I'm gonna be feelin in just a couple days. Eeeek!! Needed this because every year I forget- not sure how haha!
Teaching with Hope
Erin @ Come What May says
So glad I'm not alone in this. And that I'm not a big meanie for taking away a stick for those kids who think coloring with one hand while the other is on their head counts, or you know as long as their finger is in front of their lips its cool if they talk.
Oh my gosh! I was laughing out loud the whole time I was reading this!! This is perfect!
Cheryl R. says
Day 6 of kindergarten is over. I smelled A LOT of soup today! Thanks for sharing your story and making me laugh at the end of such a lonnnng soupy day. ();0)
Nicole Swisher says
Laughing aloud because I may have crumpled papers up before! Hahah 🙂 OR maybe told the kids I needed to count to 10 before I spoke. Then I may have started singing because it calms me down! Hah All in a days work! Love your posts!!!
All Things Apple in 2nd
I had a whole table holding the quiet sign up today after they cleaned up their scraps… loudest table in the room! Then one of them asked why I didn't give them any dojo points…
It was the second day of school today and we had to pack up before PE since we had it at the very end of the day. Obviously it took forever and the PE teacher had the nerve to ask why we were late… 😛
Jen R says
hahahahha!!! I can imagine me, in all my pregnancy hormones REALLY crumpling up the papers into a ball of nothingness AND Blowing my top. Seriously.
But HEY! I got the heidi songs cds today…and I love them! we did them during our pack up time and our snack time… great things! they are already singing some of them 🙂
I just had to immediately try "smelling the soup" as soon as I read about it. It was very soothing. I think I might teach that to my class tomorrow! And I'll definitely need to remember it when I get stressed! Love it!
Laughter and Consistency
Dismissal is one of the most stressful times of the day! No matter how many times I say "Please wait for me to call you to the mailbox – I don't want 25 different kids coming up to ask me if it's their turn", they still don't get it. And did I mention they are crazy loud? Yikes. Don't know how you do it with 30 kids!
Paiges of Learning
Emily W. says
I just love your blog posts. Your day sounded exactly like mine. I don't allow them to bring their take-home folders to their cubbies for that exact reason… they will be there all.night.long packing. Ugh, so frustrating!! Anyway, here's to hoping your school year goes well!!
Mrs. D says
You are hilarious! I love the "smell the soup"!
Oh, it was a hard day with a naughty boy!!! Your posts always make me feel better. I think I will try smelling the soup!
Linda Groce says
What a fun read!! You are absolutely hilarious! I just finished off day 12. I have been "smelling the soup" often these past 12 days with my 19 kinders. 30 1st graders….Oh MY!! Bless your heart!! Linda G. lindaslearningloot.com
Krissy Shipman says
Haha! You crack me up! Today was my second day! I'm totally stealing "smell the soup"! Haha!
Oh my goodness, i feel like you may have been in my classroom and video taped my class….errr!
Oh this year my "clean and sing" song is "Happy" such a fun way to end our day (you may not be ready to release that control yet…few more days?)
Kathleen Wright says
O.M.Gosh. I laughed and laughed and read this to my husband and will now share it with my kindergarten teacher friends! Some things ARE universal… for better, or worse. My first day is next week and now I. can. hardly. wait! Gonna use the soup idea, too. Thanks for sharing, Kristin! Kathleen
HAHAHHAHA! I think you just explained in possibly the best way possible what it is like being a teacher! Especially a teacher of young children. You ROCK! Thanks for making such great posts and I love the details, felt like I was right there with you and knew exactly what you were talking about! The "camping out" and the "soup" is awesome.
Oma Sara Bates says
Oh my goodness! I was laughing SO hard, my husband made me read it to him! After 29 years in first grade, and this is my third in Kindergarten….I can identify!
Kim E says
This. yup, welcome to teacher life! I was nodding and laughing the whole time!! Today was our first day with students and I'm in a resource room so it was me and my co-teacher and our computers today so we could hear all the fun first grade happenings like "when we are in the halls we need to be silent. Was this silent? No ok, so that means we are going to practice and do this again. If it is not silent, what do you think we will do? That's right, we will do it again. So let's do it right the first time." I smiled and nodded.
Kim E says
Also, I LOVE the camping out and making s'mores idea (I work at summer camps so I know my first classroom theme is going to be camp…) and the smelling soup idea. It's true. I also turn my head away/up and smile/laugh internally when kids do those things that are just so funny but we don't want to encourage the behavior… 🙂
Teaching Doodles says
I just found a new addiction – reading your blog posts. I love your humor! You really had me laughing as you recapped (perfectly I might add) life in the classroom. I can definitely relate to the packing up and paper crumpling…I think this year I might just add a giant bowl of soup to my décor.
I just read this out loud to my husband because I was laughing so hard I was crying. I couldn't even finish the words. For some reason he doesn't find it as funny as I do. I can totally relate. They kill me slowly, my first graders, but no one seems to understand. You make me want to start a blog. I love your humor. Please keep posting.