It’s not a good sign when the lesson plan is missing as was the case today for this 1st grade class. Double checked the teacher’s staff box and cruised every inch of the classroom. All I found was a “general lesson plan” containing only subjects with no specifics.
There was also a general schedule on the board that indicated that this class had different arrival times for two sections of the class.
The first half class of “early readers” came in at 08:00am followed by the last half “late readers” at 09:00am. This meant that that there was also a staggered dismissal time (01:25pm and 02:25pm) for the two groups. Beyond that, I had no specific idea what reading, math, writing or spelling lessons I was supposed to do with them. Fortunately, the two neighboring 1st grade teachers, noting the lack of a lesson plan, brought in materials and made copies of worksheets from their classes to work with.
As a topper, for today, it was also picture day in the cafeteria. This was listed on the board for 09:15am. Just enough time to take roll and get them lined up and ready to go.
The thing that’s hard about 1st graders is that most of them still can’t tell time yet. So there is a constant clamor and yank at the shirt sleeves followed by one or more of the following endless litany of questions about the time.
“It’s time for recess now?”
“We’re ‘sposed to get our picture taken today. I think it’s now!”
“I think it’s time for lunch now! Can we go?”
“Are you sure it’s not time for snack? I’m hungry! We get a snack at recess”.
…and so it continues.
The constant reassurance that, I can actually tell what time it really is, goes unheeded. Trying to teach them how to tell time for themselves as indicated on the analog classroom clock is pretty much beyond their comprehension.
When it IS finally picture time, we take a tour around the school looking for the “big tree” on campus where the group picture is to be taken. It seems only the individual pictures are taken in the cafeteria and no one IN the cafeteria actually knows how to direct us to the “group picture tree”.
We locate the “group picture tree” to be told that we’re too early. They sent out a notice last night to reschedule individual class times. Of course without a lesson plan, there is no way for me to know of the change. The photo guy felt sorry for me and let me cut the line after 20mins waiting in the hot sun with 19 squirmy, antsy, loud 1st graders so I could take them back to the cafeteria for individual pictures.
By the time we got all the pictures done, we were already 10 minutes into the 1st recess so I let them loose as they exited the cafeteria. I went back the classroom where I discovered that someone had delivered the missing lesson plan! Finally some luck coming my way. I didn’t care where it was found or who delivered it, only that I had it.
With the lesson plan, there is important information about handing out the homework sheets before the “early reader” group leaves for the day. This is nice to know since the “general plan” had nothing about homework assignments.
Finally after lunch and “back on track” with a plan, we plow on with math, story reading and journal writing when one of the little tykes raises his hand and says: “We’re ‘sposed to go home now”. I look up at the clock and to my shock it is 20 minutes after the hour. The “early reading” group is due to be dismissed in 5 minutes and I haven’t passed out the homework sheets yet!
I get the group to put away their stuff while frantically placing homework assignments at each student desk. With 1 minute to go, homework distributed and back packs packed, I dismissed the “early group” with a sigh of relief and turned my attention to the “late group”.
A few minutes into the “late group” reading, there is a knock at the door and three of the “early” dismissed are back saying their sister/brother/mom isn’t there to pick them up yet.
That’s when I had a bad feeling.
I took another look at the classroom clock and to my horror realized it was 12:25 and not 01:25.
I had just let ten 1st grade kids out of class an hour early.
I rushed outside and rounded up a total of six of the missing. That left four unaccounted for, so I called the office, told them I had read the clock wrong, dismissed some kids early and told them I was missing four from Ms. L’s class. I of course couldn’t give them names right then, since I hadn’t sorted out the names of the six I HAD rounded up.
The office and yard duty people located three of the missing waiting at the bus pick up that wouldn’t be coming for another hour. The 4th missing showed back up at the classroom looking for his jacket he accidentally left. He gave me the evil eye for the next hour for making him stay in class when he thought he should be allowed to leave.
When I think about what bad things could have happened, I realize how lucky I was that nothing did happened this time. After class one of the other 1st grade teachers came by and asked, with a wink, “What time is it?”
My lesson for today: “It’s important to know how to tell time…”