/> 4 Things I Learned My 4th Year - First Grade Findings

4 Things I Learned My 4th Year

As a teacher, we are always reflecting. We reflect on our students's progress, our lessons, and our teaching. Reflecting is a way to learn and grow. To celebrate the end of my 4th year teaching (YEAH!) I thought of 4 things I've learned. I'm going to try to think of the biggest things I've learned in my 4 years. I wish I knew then what I knew now!

1. Be Flexible!!
What works for one class may not work for another. Lesson plans change. Special events appear out of thin air. Go with the flow! Encourage your students to be flexible too! Don't confine kids to one option. We want them to be independent problem solvers who can take a task and run with it. If they are dependent on teachers telling them what to do, those decision making skills may not flourish! I started some flexible seating and choice seating this year, and this helped me realize the importance of not making a child sit in a chair to do work. Let them stand if they want to!

This is our "standing table." It's raised just a few more inches than the others! For some reason this shape table encourages kids to stand!

 Scoop rockers from Big Lots were a HUGE hit this year for read to self! $6!

I need to think of a better system for the balls. They were a bit more distracting than they were beneficial. Still thinking on this one! 

2. Get to know your kids and their families!
I have especially found success with this my 4th year! Teachers should know how many siblings their students have, how old they are, what sports the play, and what things they like to do. When you know your kids, you know how to teach your kids! A great time to figure these things out is through morning meeting. Check out Responsive Classroom if you haven't already for fabulous ideas for morning meeting.
Here are my kids at morning meeting!

Another great way to learn about your kids' families is to look them up on Facebook! You will learn more than you ever wanted to know using this tip! ;) Figure out how to connect with the parents! Share the good things their child is doing before the bad. I love Class DOJO to connect with families using class story and messenger. This is also a great option if you don't want to give out your personal phone number.

3. Focus on the positive each day. 
Some days aren't going to be the best, but there is something good in every day! Find something to be proud of for your students each day. They grow so much and so fast! Little growth is still growth so don't get discouraged! Always try your best and never ever give up on a kid. They need you more than you'll ever know!

4.Connect on IG!
Instagram has a wealth of positivity, knowledge, and networking right at your fingertips. I started my teacher account this year and in turn my blog thanks to some encouragement from teaching friends. I'm so glad I did! I'm excited to see what new connections I make via IG and this blog.

I would LOVE if you leave a comment below to connect- what have you learned this year?


  1. Document, document, document! It saves so much time at those meetings :)

    1. Yes!!! So important. It's not my favorite thing about teaching, but it's a must. The more documenting you do, the easier it is in meetings! I definitely agree!

  2. Have you tried a pool noodle around the balls? It will help keep them in place. I've also seen milk crates with the ball inside, but I think yours might be too big for this....yes to morning meetings! I discovered the past two years I like gathering my kiddos at the start of each class period to tell them what we are doing so I plan on doing this again next year but improving upon it. I'd love to hear some ideas on your morning meeting, post idea?

    1. I have not tried the pool noodle! I am going to grab some over the summer for next year. Great idea! The balls actually fit between the legs of the blue table, but my kiddos aren't real good with sticking them back between the legs. BUT they are also 7! haha! I think the pool noodle will also be an easier visual for them to make sure they keep the ball in. I love morning meeting! I'll get a post together with some of my favorite resources! :)


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