Monday was a special beast. Trying to help everyone figure out their seating and what they would be needing to do was quite funny when I think back on it. At the time it was relative chaos, but the 2nd graders adjusted better than I would have expected them to do. By the middle of the week, you really wouldn't have known any better, if you didn't actually know, that all of these students hadn't been with me since the first day.
It's always weird to get students mid-way through the year anyway because you can't always be sure where they were in the curriculum. It's even weirder to gain a half a class. But, for the most part, the second graders are super cute and eager to learn. We have a long way to go. My goal for them this year is to turn them into writers. To be fair, they are coming out of the native language program so their ELA has been in Spanish since kindergarten. 2nd grade is supposed to be their transitional year but since I don't know how their previous teacher handled that, I've had to just make it up as I go this week. And since I do not speak Spanish, there is no transition at this moment; it's sink or swim :)
But that's okay! I'm all about students being literate in their native tongue when possible, but I'm also realistic enough to know that we test in English. We don't have a choice on that for state testing so the sooner we help them acclimate to English, the better for them (yes in a perfect world we could test them in their native language but it's not an option). I have had students in the past who have come to me speaking zero English at all and by year's end could do some reading and writing in English. They do pick it up pretty fast. It always amazes me. (Please do not ask me to admit how many Spanish classes I have taken and still can't speak the language!)
It was a tough first week simply because my third graders were ready for benchmark testing and thus I tested both classes. I haven't been brave enough to look at the tests quite yet (even for the students I've had all year!), but I did feel kind of bad being like "welcome to your new room, here is a huge test." Alas, I have to know where they are so we can set some goals. They rolled with it for which I am eternally grateful.
This week will be more like our usual routine. We will begin our new reading rotation tomorrow. We will have four groups (2 groups of 2nd graders and 2 groups of 3rd graders) and my intern and I will parallel teach, meaning we will both be teaching a small group at the exact same time. While we are teaching one grade, the other grade will be working with spelling city and a writing journal calendar I came up with. That focus on writing is going to be so, so necessary for these friends. In turn, we will take those calendar journal prompts and once per week we will workshop them during writing to get some feedback and work with revision. It's the best of both worlds as far as I can combine them.
I'm quite excited for this adventure. It surely will be different every day but I am pretty blessed that all of the students just rolled with the punches and are more than likely going to continue to do so. Can't really get better than that.