The last day of school is always emotional because our time together has ended. There are lots of hugs and tears as each student exits the classroom for the final time. This year was a bit different because we made flubber the last day and that got our minds off the finality of day. The kids had a blast! What a great way to use up all the leftover glue!
Yes, we still had some tears but we had a lot giggles too.
I reread Each Kindness the day before and on the last day I read Amazing Grace. We had previously completed the compass points routine together on Freedom Summer but on the last day the groups got to choose between the two books and work together to make their thinking visible. Here is a brief overview of compass points, another simple routine from the book, Making Thinking Visible.
First, students label a large piece of paper with the following:
N=Needs, E=Exciting, S=Suggestions, and W=Worries
Next, they discuss how to show their thinking.
Then, they write it down.
Finally, the students share their responses. My favorite part!!!
Their thinking was very deep and this was the very last day of school! Most people consider this a wasted day but believe me it was not wasted, it was amazing! I wish I could show all their compass points but high tech I’m not!
I had such a kind class this year and I give a lot of credit to their parents (kind notes from parents is always a plus!) I also believe in the power of words & choosing just the right books to read that match each individual class. It is vital, especially for those that had some behavior problems at the beginning of the year, I was blessed to see the grow and change from a hooligan to a helpful human being, AWESOME! There was one student, in particular, that the class kept mentioning over and over how he had improved, he now believes in himself and wants to be his best self! Students benefit greatly from hearing quality literature that gives kids something to think about and connect to the real world.
Every year the books I read and the class I have shape my teaching for that year. I want to grow as an educator and as a person. Having talked less and listened more this year than ever before, my class taught me so much! Here is a short list on what I’ve learned:
1. It’s OK to make mistakes, that is how we learn.
2. Yoga is a great way to start our day together.
3. Other good ways to start the day, a poem or a song (they learned all the military songs and the song Inch by Inch and they could recite E. A. Poe’s ‘Eldorado’!) We read
other poems too but these were their favorites so they asked for them again and again.
4. LISTEN! I taught them H-halt what you are doing, E-Engage, A-Anticipate, R-Replay and
they retaught this to me over and over. After anyone shared a poem, book, or report they wanted to replay to prove they were listening. LOL! They like to show what they know!
5. The test does not define us. I showed them this video and they said it, wrote it,
lived it over and over.
The list goes on and on but I need a coffee break!
May your summer be an adventure,
May you fill your brainpan,
May you strengthen old friendships,
and make some ones if you can!
May each day be blessed, a delight and a joy,
And please try to reduce your consumption of soy! 😀