I survived…BARELY!

The first week of school is done and in the books! I'd say that calls for a celebration! Inspired by my friend, Miss DeCarbo, I want to get real with y'all and share about my first week back!

The week started off with a bang with an all day PD on Monday starting at 7:30, and ending with Open House until 8:30pm. Yes, that's right, a 13 hour day for our first day back. After, I posted this pic on Instagram to celebrate the fact that I made it through the day...
How was I really feeling at this point? Overwhelmed. Frustrated. Stressed. I still had some things I wanted to do in my room before the kiddos came, I had just met about 40 parents of kiddos, and had quite a few that already showed they may make my year a little challenging, and my body felt like it had been hit by mac truck!

But, as we all do, I trudged on. Tuesday we had a half day PD, then the afternoon to work in our rooms. I had practice until 6, and then went straight home. Being real, I barely made it to the shower after practice. My wonderful hubs picked up dinner, and I was in bed by 8.

Wednesday was our first day with students. I STARTED the day exhausted. I wanted this week's pregnancy update to be on the first day of school, and so I asked hubs to take a picture that morning. He was trying so hard not to laugh at how ridiculously tired I looked in all of the pictures we tried to take… here's the best shot we got!
How far along: 30 Weeks, 5 days in this picture!
Maternity clothes: Mostly I'm living in flowy dresses like this one! This one is not maternity, it's from a boutique we went to on vacation..$8! I have a lot of maternity maxis from Old Navy and they are definitely my go to!
Stretch Marks: Nope! Keeping that belly butter handy! :)
Sleep: I've been utterly exhausted, so I can't seem to sleep enough, but I get up about 3 times to pee in the middle of the night.
Best Moment This week: Literally watching my stomach move multiple inches with my hubs as baby danced, ran, and swam around! So fun :)
Worst Moment this Week: Just feeling so exhausted. Each day I go straight from school to practice until about 6. We had a game Thursday night that we didn't get home from until 10:40pm, and we had 3 games today. I feel pitiful because I am absolutely worthless by the time I make it home, but I'm trying to get used to this new normal.
Miss anything? Being able to breathe in a full breath of air at a time
Movement: Lots of movement! (see above)
Food Cravings: Gioninios tossed salad. It is literally just chopped up lettuce, lots of mozzarella cheese, and there delish Italian dressing, but I want it every day!
Pregnancy Symptoms: My feed feel like there are 1000 bruises on them by the end of the night. It literally hurts to put pressure anywhere on them. I didn't know they could hurt this bad!
Looking forward to: Getting everything washed and put away in the nursery<--having the energy to do this!

So, now that you know a little more about how I've been feeling, here's a little more about the week in the classroom. 

I planned my first week activities very much like last year, with a few minor adjustments. I have quickly learned that this group is a VERY different group, and my lessons are going to have to be adapted quite a bit. I got through about 1/3 of what I got through in the first 3 days last year. I spent a lot of time repeating the same directions over and over again. I have two classes of 29 students each, and there are a wide variety of learners. What did we do this week?

-We practiced how to walk into our classroom and unpack our book bags to get ready for the day 3 times every morning. By Friday we STILL couldn't understand that we need to take EVERYTHING out of our book bags, put things in our desk, and have a seat. It got better, but we have a long way to go.
-I taught students how to store their supplies and books, and we practiced getting them out and putting them away 10+ times. Yes, I had to practice that many times because we couldn't grasp how to put our pencil and scissors back in our pencil pouch, how to keep our notebooks on one side of the desk… it was exhausting.
-We practiced gluing. Yes, I spent 25 minutes TEACHING my fourth graders how to glue. I literally put a Smartboard file up with a digital piece of notebook paper and glue bottle clipart. I show them how NOT to "toaster streudel" and that we only squeeze with one hand. I then show them on the Smartboard how to put a "baby dot" in each corner, one on each side, and one in the middle. We practiced with 3 pieces of scrap paper on Wednesday. And yet, after reviewing this each day, by Friday I still had multiple kiddos squeezing giant globs with two hands, and toaster streudling all over the place… I wanted to pull my hair out :D

But despite all of these frustrations, we did make some progress! I just want you to understand that my first week wasn't all rainbows and butterflies. It was a real back to school week, filled with challenges and constant review. I know if I keep working with these kiddos they WILL get better and will get into routines. It takes time, and I need to keep reminding myself that.

Here are some glimpses into what we did get done:

We worked on and shared our "All About Me flip books." My kiddos loved making these, and I loved learning about them!

We played a few getting to know you games. In the bottom two pictures we were playing a few rounds of "mingle and group." I tell students to mingle, then give them something to group by such as, "Find friends with the same favorite color as you" or "find friends who have the same favorite vacation spot as you." They have to communicate with each other to get into groups, then I let each group share out what they have in common. It's great because they all get up and move around and learn more about each other!

I had my students fill out this fun "Would you Rather" survey to learn a little more about them! This is part of my "Back to School Essentials" pack!

We read silently for 15 whole minutes on the second day of school! This group definitely enjoys reading, and I LOVE that about them! I was so proud of their stamina early on! We will more to sitting anywhere in the room and reading next week. :)

We finished all 4 days of Jivey's Mentor Sentence lesson with First Day Jitters. It was a great introduction to how we will incorporate mentor texts into grammar and reading, and I'm excited to see them improve!

All in all, I'll call it a success because we made it, and we improved! I'm looking forward to seeing this group make progress each day! :)

How was your first week? Was in all sunshine and butterflies, or did you have struggle moments? I'd love to hear the good and the bad! :)


  1. You did good. My school week sounds a lot like yours, frustrations, etc - and it was our 2nd week of school. My class loved your Back to School Essentials activities. :) I really enjoyed having them work on the Would you rather - I learned so much about them! Hope you are able to rest this weekend!

  2. I think most teachers first week would sound more like yours! My first week was hectic too! My great grandmother passed away on the third day of school then I had to take off and travel to the funeral. So really for me establishing routines didn't start until this past week (second week of school)! Plus our class counts are super high for second - we are all sitting at 28-29 and I don't think we are going to get another teacher!!! But all in all it went ok!!!


  3. That first day sounds like torture! They should really move Open House to another night! I like your HONEST reflection of your first days, including what didn't go so well. I think it's important to keep it real here in bloggy land, especially for all the newer teachers who read our posts. No matter how much we plan, the unexpected will happen. I hope your kiddos learn to slow down and follow your directions so you're not repeating yourself all year long!