Tag Archives: last day of school

The 8th Reason I Love 7th Graders

I got a special delivery at school today:

“Thank you for being the best teacher.”

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#1 of 13 Teachers Who Made Me Who I Am: Starting with Kindergarten

Oh, to be a kindergarten teacher!! One of my first jobs was in a primary resource room which included K-3rd grade so I have a little experience with that age group. One year, and a move home, ended that stint.

Mrs. Mathias was my kindergarten teacher and while I don’t remember much about her, she must have made some sort of impression because she started my love for school.

I remember how she had everything labeled and we had centers. I remember fat pencils and crayons. I remember building very high towers with blocks and I remember she had a fireplace in her room. We never lit it obviously, but how cool is that to have a fireplace in your classroom?!? (And no, I did not go to school in a one room school-house, if that thought crossed your mind.)

My most distinct memory of kindergarten, however, was when I lost my first tooth. We were singing “Hickory Dickory Dock”. On the word “dock”, out popped my tooth. And believe it or not, I still have the certificate she presented to me for reaching this milestone.

Lesson learned from my kindergarten teacher: It’s ok to cry on the last day of school. My teacher did.

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You’d be surprised how many certificates I have in a box in the basement. This is the oldest.

A Happy Ending

Today was our “graduation” for the 8th graders and I just have to share the most special moment because, honestly, it’s been on my mind all day long. I can’t stop thinking about it and smiling.

One of my students came through the line to shake hands with all the staff and receive his certificate. Bless his heart, he was not dressed up like the others and he was trying to hide behind a nervous smile. He reached out, looked me in the eye, shook my hand with a solid handshake, and said, “Good luck next year.”

Here I am shaking hands with 100 kids, many of which have no idea how to shake hands and I’m saying things like:
“Congratulations”
“Nice job, bud.”
“You look so nice today.”
and
“Have a great summer.”

And this boy….this boy who’s driven me just short of crazy many days this year…..
This boy who randomly makes me shake my head, roll my eyes, breathe deeply, count to ten, pray for sanity, silently chuckle….
This boy who has surprised me with answers, delighted me with questions, made connections I didn’t dream students in my Resource Room could make, and even made me question myself at times….
This boy who came back to say good-bye two more times before he finally left today….
This boy wished me good luck….

I so didn’t see that coming. It made me shake my head, blink back a tear, and smile. It made my day.

My 16th Last Day of School

I originally wrote this 3 years ago but I felt it was worth sharing here on the last day of my 16th year.

As I end my 13th year of teaching and I head back to the regular classroom next year, I asked my students who the best teachers were this year and why.

My favorite student quickly responded with the name of her government teacher. I asked her why and she said, “She made things hard to forget.”

That is a profound statement from an average girl.

Think about it.

She could have just as easily said, “She makes things easy to remember.” But she didn’t. And I believe there is a HUGE difference between the two. It speaks volumes about not only the kind of teacher this woman is, but the impact any one person can have on another.

It’s been a hard day today, saying good-bye to students who have touched my life in so many ways. I told someone recently that I figured out there are some weeks that I spend more time with some of my students than I do with my own two children.

There are those students I will remember, those I will want to to forget, and those I will never forget.

Who Would You Rather Be?

Each and every thing we do
can be remembered
or forgotten –
big or small,
life changing
or seemingly trivial,
as the first day of the rest of someone’s life,
or as the beginning of someone’s end.

Each word,
action,
look,
or lack thereof,
can be forever etched
in someone’s mind
or heart
or soul.

Or simply brushed off
as an annoying buzz,
a flicker of movement,
or a passing glance,
immediately becoming part of the past,
never to be thought of
or spoken of
again.

A time will come
when you remember something
or someone
and you will smile.

A time will come
when you forget about something
or someone
and you will smile.

“Worth remembering”
gives something value.

“Forgetting”
can bring peace.

“Never forgetting”
is infinite
and unending…

Who would you rather be?

Someone who is easy to remember?

Or someone who will never be forgotten?

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Hello Summer 2012!!
(A beautiful day spent hiking with the kids last summer –
a day that I won’t soon forget.)

Non-Bored Games (Board Games in the Classroom)

I play board games all the time with my kids at home. We have at least two dozen board games in our downstairs closet alone. I always buy card games for their stockings. My step-mom who is a retired speech therapist buys my kids games every Christmas and on birthdays. To be honest, we did not own a video game system until this past Christmas when I finally broke down and bought a Wii.

I remember playing Uno with my Grandma P., Yahtzee with my Grandma R., and croquet with Grandpa R. (Ok, so it’s not a board game but it’s old school and he deserves credit). We always played games at my dad’s on Friday nights. (Kerplunk, Clue, and Pig Mania a.k.a. Pass the Pigs were a few favorites). I guess games continue to be a tradition in our family.

Right now, at home, my kids’ favorite game is Boggle. What teacher doesn’t love that?? When my 9-year-old son comes up with words like “value” and “peace” I am quite impressed. Just last night he asked if we would count “homophones.”

There isn’t much time for such fun at school, but today was our last full day of school. With no homework and all our assignments wrapped up, what could I do with my 1st period study hall? Seems like the perfect time for a board game!

I love to see how kids (8th graders) handle themselves in these situations.

Do they read the directions?
Can they take turns?
Do they use strategy?
Are they sore losers?

Many of my students don’t play board games at home with their families. In an age of video games and hectic schedules, this should not surprise me. And it really doesn’t. It just makes me a little sad.

Today we played Pictureka! Six of us gathered around a table and right away, based on a little apprehension and a few grumbles, I knew that they had never played this game before. By the end of the first round, we were laughing and having a great time. Everyone was bummed when the period ended.

Do I need to justify that this game can be educational? I don’t think anyone would actually question my choice on the last day of school in a study hall with with six 8th graders and all our work turned in. (At least I wasn’t showing a video or letting them run wild in the halls!?)

But just in case:

  • This game is great for visual processing as it requires students to scan for objects and match pictures.
  • It also requires students to find items which fit into particular categories. (Ex. Stinky Things, Things in Space, Things in a Game, etc.)
  • And like all board games, reading and following directions, social skills, and strategy all apply.
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Maybe this is what I’ll look like tomorrow on the last day of school!
(Taken from the actual game Pictureka!)

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