Thursday, August 14, 2008

The First Day of School!

Today was the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!

Well, sort of...It was the first day I taught in my first classroom at my first teaching job in my first school! Yesterday (13 August 2008) was the actual first student day, but it was a half day, and the elementary students did not go to specials. Today started specials, which meant ELEMENTARY ART!

That's right, folks, after months (literally) of uncertainty, I am teaching kindergarten through 5th grade art classes.

Mrs. Greene, the other art teacher, is teaching all of the secondary courses. (Sidenote: Very unfair that her last name is a color and my last name is Melachrinos!)

The classes come once a week, 50 minutes for 2nd-5th grade and 35 minutes for kindergarten and 1st grade. With one kindergarten class, two of all the other grades, and one ESL class, I teach 12 classes a week. Yes, that is all, and it is full time. And Mrs. Greene and I share a teacher's assistant.

My job is nice.

Today, in addition to being my first day, was my "long" day. I taught four classes. Here's the run down:

5th grade--designing and working as a class to create an Olympic-themed bulletin board outside the art classroom.

4th grade--a discussion of the Fuwa (Olympic mascots) and their symbolism, followed by sketching their favorite Fuwa.

2nd grade--working on the cover of their sketchbooks. On the red cover paper, they traced their hands six times, overlapping to create lots of shapes. Each shape was outlines and filled in with crayon, covering the entire front cover.

1st grade--drawing an object using their favorite color crayon and sharing the pictures with the class. (Lesson idea complements of Miss Emily)

Some things worth mentioning, by class:

5th--the table drawing the Olympic torch debated the conical shape of the Beijing torch design. Also, they asked for a ruler, protractor, and calculator to create their exact replica twin torches for the bulletin board.

4th--clearly, there are favorite Fuwa. Of the 14 students, all chose Jingjing (Black Panda) or Huanhuan (Red Flame). No one chose Beibei (Blue Fish), Yingying (Yellow Antelope), or Nini (Green Swallow).

1st--it's one thing to know that girls mature faster than boys. It's another thing to witness is first hand in your classroom. Night and day. 1st grade provided the first discipline problem. One boy refused to color a picture. Apparently he was having a bad day right before art class.

And lastly, 2nd--they get the prize! When I was demonstrating the steps of the sketchbook covers, at the end, I showed a partially-finished examples. The class erupted in a collective gasp! Definitely the best reaction I've ever received for my artwork! And they worked so well on their own projects, quietly. You could have heard a pin drop! It was making me so uncomfortable, I tried to engage the students in conversation. They were too involved in their artwork...

I'm sure people would love to see pictures of my room. They are coming! The room is still a work in progress, but I'm quite pleased with my little home. Little being key, but with a max class size of 18, and an average class size of 12, it works!

One class tomorrow, 3rd grade!

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