Today, in the middle of a very rowdy small group writing session, I heard the PA System come on and the words "This is NOT a drill." right before the fire alarm started. My heart leaped into my throat and I quickly tried to get everyone in a line, grab my roster and count the students as we went out the door. I was trying to quickly do the math in my head as to how many students actually were present today (I had two absent) but I came up one student short which almost sent me into a panic since I have one little guy who is VERY unpredictable and I was worried he might have decided to hide because of the bell. Luckily I remembered that one of my girls was with our Title I coordinator for Reading Recovery, so I was able to shepherd my line out of our back door. I think it only took us about 30 seconds to line up and get out of the room, but I swear it felt like an hour at the time! I had to stop traffic to get us across the street and as I was getting the last of my kids across, my back door suddenly opened again and out came the kindergarten class from across the hall. It was at that point that I remembered that my OWN 3 kids were somewhere in the building too! Talk about scary! I think the fact that we had a house fire back in April contributed a bit to my reaction, but I tell you, I had a hard time holding it together, but I managed not to let my firsties see at least.
Once we got across the street we got to see the ambulance and 4 fire trucks pull up. I saw the Title I coordinator with my other student, so I was relieved to have complete accountability. It was a blustery day so I had my firsties huddled together for warmth since of course we didn't grab our coats. One of my darling was wearing a short sleeve shirt and she was shivering but I didn't have anything I could put around her. Then one of my boys pulled off his hoodie and said "She can wear this Mrs. Knopf!" I tell you, I was so proud of him for being so selfless. Then, as we were watching everything going on, one of my firsties said, in a very worried tone, "Where's Mr. Lewis?" Mr. Lewis is our custodian and the kids LOVE him. They were all worried because we couldn't see him outside and they were scared he was still in the building! I was so touched that they remembered him and wanted to make sure he was okay.
It turns out that the air conditioner in the other 1st grade classroom caught fire, actually it was smoking more than burning, but they had about a foot of smoke up at their ceiling by the time they really noticed something was wrong. When we found out that the fire was in another 1st grade class all of my firsties wanted to know if the other kids had to crawl out of the building like we learned last week during our Fire Safety lessons! Luckily there was no permanent damage done, although the room had to be aired out and the air conditioner repaired, so we were able to go back to class. I'm proud to say that we didn't let the fire impact our classroom behavior at all - as soon as we were back in the building my firsties got back into procedure and we spent the day as usual which was great.
I am still at school now, doing our Parent/Teacher conferences tonight. I've had 3/5 show up so far so that's great! Now we're breaking for dinner, we have a baked potato bar set up and each grade level brought in a different topping so it should be good! I want to give a shout out to What The Teacher Wants for the Student Report Cards she shared. I had my firsties complete them today and they have been great to use when talking to the parents - my firsties were very honest and accurate in their reflections.