Donna O'Donnell Figurski's Blog

It's All About Me!

On School #10 No Two Days Alike

There are no two days exactly alike … not when you are a teacher – especially a 1st grade teacher. Sure, the kids remain the same for 185 days. Each morning they arrive at the door, usually with smiles. Sometimes with tears – maybe because they got out of the “wrong side of the bed,” had a fight with their brother or sister, or just didn’t get to have their favorite breakfast treat, (berry-frosted fruit squares sprinkled with chocolate bits, topped with strawberry-banana cream.)  You never know what the day will bring, but it’s always fun to see their excitement at the start of a new day.

Year after year, I teach the same subjects – reading, math, science, social studies, and language arts. But never do I teach the lessons the same way twice. I always add a new twist, a new angle, something fresh to make them fun all over again. It’s not deliberate. It just happens that way. I always tell the kids that if I am having fun, they will have fun. And those little critters want to have fun. After all why shouldn’t learning be fun?

So when the kids roll the dice or spin a number wheel to determine two numbers to add or subtract, they are having fun. And when they unscramble a bunch of letters to make new words, that’s a blast. When they become authors and illustrators while making books during writing workshop to demonstrate what they have learned in science or social studies – you can see them puff up with pride.

Learning in 1st grade is fun. School is so different from when I was a child. Then we had about 50 kids in a class. We had to sit in our desks all day in rows and not a peep out of one of us. Raise your hand to speak. Raise your hand to request permission to go to the bathroom. Raise your hand to use the water fountain. Raise your hand to breathe! If we did not comply, a solid rap on the knuckles would do the trick. Or in more severe cases our moms and dads were called. And you did NOT want that to happen. Those were days when teachers were respected – some feared. Parents expected their children to listen to and follow the directions of the teacher. But school was not as much fun.

Today kids still have to raise their hands, especially when they are in a full-group lesson. There has to be some semblance of order, some decorum, or nothing would get done. Learning could not take place. In my classroom there is a lot of freedom. Children freely use the bathroom or the water fountain. They may move about the room to get a book, a pencil, a crayon, a project that they are working on. They can even choose which project they wish to work on from the ten to fifteen projects available. Like no day being exactly alike, no child learns exactly like another child either. Therefore, it is imperative to have a smorgasbord of activities available to all children.

In my classroom children are free to learn.

Clip Art compliments of Teacher Files, Bing, Clipart Etc)

That’s me in 4th grade at Blessed Sacrament School in Erie, Pennsylvania. I counted 44 children. (3rd row from the left – 3rd back)


March 21, 2010 - Posted by | Anything Writing, On School | , , ,


  1. This is wonderful! It makes me want to be a kid again…even though the class sizes were 50 (me too!) I want to worry if the teacher is gonna call on me & not worry if I remembered to turn the lights or water off. Absolutely reminiscent-well done!

    Comment by Carol Ribar | March 23, 2010 | Reply

  2. Thanks, Carol. I’m glad you took the time to read it.

    Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | March 23, 2010 | Reply

  3. This is a great post!

    Comment by kaya | March 23, 2010 | Reply

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