I have to also report that some of my new students surprised me. Many of their parents, other teachers, and the students themselves reported to me that these children were shy, soft spoken, and even reluctant to participate, that was not what I witnessed on Thursday. It did not take long until all of my students were up and around the room, taking part in team challenges that including such missions as "Using just your bodies, make the Eiffel Tower" and "Do the conga around the teacher". We also learned some improvisation/theater activities that stress focus and self control.
I gave the members of the class an opportunity to share their greatest accomplishments and biggest challenges during the third grade, as well as their apprehensions concerning the fourth grade (Nobody put Mr. Hoggatt on the latter.).
Nothing came out. Did they really think I was going to pour a cup of water on her? No, they could trust me more than that.
Now, with the trust conversation in the past, I proceeded to explain that our class is a family - that our class is much like the polymer. We look after each other, help each other, and build each other up.
We stick together.
Now for a changing variable - a scientific experiment: I split the goo in half and placed one-half in a zipper bag. I poured a very small amount of table salt into the bag and left the rest of the "goo" as our control. Almost instantly, the salted bag returned to liquid, while the rest remained a squishy blob.
If our class (our family) sticks together, then it takes a single salty infraction of an offensive word or bullying (or invasion from outside forces) to split us up. We must not allow something like that to happen. We really need to work at this new and wonderful relationship.
This year promises to be a unique one, full of rich experiences, and Day Two promises to be full of more surprises and smiles.