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Saturday, June 23, 2012

My First Last Day of School

My last day of school was last Thursday, and I am just now getting to writing this down for you all (and myself...). It was a pretty emotional week, but I made it through. I wasn't sure that I would...

I had an amazing year teaching third grade. I love every single one of those little buggers and all twenty nine of them have a special place in my heart. I had been saving my little secret that I was not going to be returning to their school next year until the very last second to avoid the sadness that may accompany such an announcement, but it made me a nervous wreck. I hated the idea of any of them being sad. I even contemplated not telling them at all, but after a long discussion with my husband, I came to the decision that they needed to hear it from me. These kids trusted me. All year I stressed the importance of honesty in our classroom and by not telling them, and being honest about the situation, I would be betraying them and their trust. Any work or ground that we made together as a class would have been disregarded. So, I was going to wait until the very end to spill the beans.

We had a pretty fun day, but it went by in a flash. I was worried that the kids wouldn't have much to do, but I couldn't believe how quickly the day went. We started off the morning in the computer lab. They had their choice to either do Jiji Math or Dance Mat Typing. They love when they have choices and I really love getting them started with keyboarding early (and FREE!).

We have been counting down the last 20 days of school with hanging balloons and the kids really loved it.
All 20 balloons hanging for Open House.
The last day of school had a little piece of paper in it that said SCAVENGER HUNT and they literally cheered! But it wasn't your run-of-the-mill scavenger hunt that I had planned. We were using the Teacher Idea Factory Keep 'em Moving Activity which actually took up the rest of the day. You can get yours here:

Activities included an obstacle course, solving math problems, making a Father's Day card, filling a bucket, and the most difficult, making a friendship bracelet for one person in our class. I had one parent helper to help navigate the friendship bracelets and the cards, but it was CRAY CRAY! My kids could not braid. Not even a little bit. Some of them confessed that they can't even tie their shoes (Really?), so many ended up twisting their strings to give to a friends and I made the 6 that didn't get made at lunch time.

After lunch was the big goodbye. I was so nervous. First off, my gift to each student was their favorite book from our classroom library. I had asked them a few weeks back what their favorite book was and, unbelievably, I only had 2 overlapping favorites. So here we were, sitting on the carpet ready to go. I told them that when they went to fourth grade next year, I would not be teaching at their school, and that I was so lucky to have each one of them in my very first class. They each would hold a special place in my heart and because I was so proud of what we built as a class, I wanted each one of them to have a piece of our classroom to take with them. There were a few aaawwws, and some sad faces, but overall, things were good. Then, I stupidly decided to read the poem that I had put in the front of each one of their books. You know the one. "I'm glad I was your teacher..." It makes me cry nearly every time I read it, so I'm not sure what made me think it was a good idea to read it aloud. Cue waterworks. Yeah. I made it all the way to the end and the floodgates opened. 

After I read it, I got a few hugs and a few more aaawwws, and then one student said, "Can we go now?" and I laughed. That was it. I was all worried about telling them, and they just wanted to get the heck outta there. I don't blame them, but it really put things in perspective. I had been feeling guilty about leaving them and that school, but they were going to fourth grade with or without me, and God willing, I will have a new group of wonderful personalities to love each and every year for the rest of my career.

Since last Thursday, a lot has transpired, but considering this blog post has already gotten extra long, I'm going to save that for next time. Until then...

Happy Summer!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

End of the Year Writing Book

I'm not a parent yet, but I am almost positive that when I send home one sheet of writing that my kids complete, it hangs out on the fridge for a week or so then quietly makes it's way to the trash can. So I came up with a pretty good solution.

This is my writing wall. I have laminated construction paper spaced out across the wall, and each student has their picture on a star laminated on the bottom left of their work. I use two large paper clips at the top to hold their work and their published pieces get changed out about once a month.

Valentine's Day Heart Art

Bubble Gum Fun from The Teacher Wife & Mrs. Lee

When I take them down, I fold them in half and file them away in each student's folder. I keep them in order in the folder and simply put the most recent writing in the very back. 

Then, at the end of the year, I have a date with this guy. 

It's really pretty easy. I file the covers in the front, backs in the back, and take the file folders to the binding machine. They're already in order and ready to go!

Stars were purchase at Office Depot.

Watercolor and white crayon. None of my students had ever done this before!

Turkey Trouble by Nicole Shelby

President's Day.
I can't remember where I got this. Please let me know if you know1

The Lorax by Mel D at Seusstastic

My Shape Monster by Amy Lemons at Step Into Second.

They came out really great, and I think the kiddos are really going to love them. I can't wait to pass them out tomorrow!

Two more days!

Monday, June 4, 2012

June? Don't you mean March?

June? Really? How'd we get here? I swear it was just August. Where did the year go? I can't even believe that the school year is almost over. Even stranger, is this little blog... It's been six months since I started putting my thoughts and feelings out there, and it's been a wonderful experience, but more on that after school is out.

Right now, I'm all about Farley's Currently link up. I love these... 

I have many things to share about the last few weeks of school, but I am going to do a photo dump this weekend when things settle down a little bit. 

Have an amazing week!