I was nervous. I wanted things to be perfect for my kids. I wanted them to return to school and feel like they were back home. Like they were coming to an extended family reunion.
And I wanted my 5 new students to feel welcomed and loved and accepted.
Looping up to a new grade with students makes a difference.
I had already seen many of my students over the summer. Many came in to help set up our new room or borrow books or just say hello. Many used their parents' email accounts to email and say hi or even tell me that their pet snails had died.
Today on our first day of school, I was hugged by more parents than I can count. Hugged. Like at a family reunion.
During our Oliver Jeffers read alouds today, they wanted to talk for days about the texts and the illustrations, and how they compared to many authors we studied last year.
On the first day of school.
I tried diligently to keep the students out of our newly organized classroom library. I thought we could discuss it today, and investigate it on the second day of school.
But I was a fool.
They invaded the library. They devoured the baskets. I found myself having mini reading conferences with multiple students.
Wait, I thought. This wasn't in my plans for today. We have rules and procedures to discuss!
What's better than talking to a kid about Babymouse on the first day of school? Nothing.
The book stacks on desks are now continuing where they ended last year. One student finished an entire graphic novel today, Gabby and Gator, while we sorted through our school supplies.
(She also turned her goodie bag into a puppet named Albert who ended the day with us.)
I had forgotten how looping changes that first day of school. It's about relationships. It's about how the relationships help students connect back to the learning that's already occurred.
We have a common vocabulary.
They already know that it's our classroom, not mine.