June 25th is the last day of school. Final grades, report cards, literacy profiles, organizing, and packing up the room are some of the essential "to-do's." As I embark on starting and completing these tasks, I don't want to lose sight of bringing a sense of joyful closure to my community of third graders. I want them to feel good about our year and our work together and I want to leave them with the lasting idea that they are all important and special.
I have gifts for them. I asked each student to come up with a positive word or trait to describe each classmate. Then, I compiled the words to make a special word cloud for each student, using Tagxedo to create different shapes. I bought frames to finish the project. (Thanks to Pinterest for the inspiration)
I also purchased a book for each student as a gift. Deb Pilutti, author of Ten Rules of Being a Superhero, was kind enough to donate awesome Superhero bookmarks, which I will wrap with each book.
So all that is left is....my farewell letter:
Dear Third Graders in Room 215,
Thank you for an unforgettable year of learning together. You have helped me make the transition from being a kindergarten teacher to a third grade teacher, showing me how kids your age think, question, read, write, and problem solve. You are a very special group of students and I will always remember you and our time together.
There have been so many things to celebrate this year- Skyping with our friends in California, tweeting our class events, turkey diaries, Mangoes field trip, Mexico stations project, research projects and Google slides, writing our persuasive speeches, our field trip to the Bronx Zoo, racing around the track at Field Day, and getting our DOJO paychecks. All special moments. But the times I will treasure the most are the ones where we sat together on the green carpet and shared stories.
Thinking about some of the memorable stories we shared, I have some hopes for you as you leave third grade and continue your journey in school and life!
From The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane: I hope you deeply love all the special people and places in your life and remember that loving and being loved is always the point of the journey. I hope you are willing to help a friend, like when Bryce gave up the chance to keep Edward so he could be restored by the doll mender. I hope you have exciting adventures but always come back home to the ones who love you most. I hope you realize it is okay to cry when a book touches your soul.
From The One and Only Ivan: I hope you realize that no matter what your circumstances, it is never too late to try to change things that leave you feeling trapped. I hope you can be courageous when it comes to helping someone who needs you. Ivan's gift was his art, but we all have gifts. I hope you discover yours and use it to make the world better.
From James and the Giant Peach: I hope you look for the magic in life! Being kind, even to people who are terrible to you, will leave you stronger and better. Friends come in all different shapes and sizes, so don't overlook someone just because they might not appear to be the friend you expected. Keep dreaming!
From The Hundred Dresses: I hope you understand that everything you do and say, or not say, matters. In life, there will be moments when people are mean to you and moments when people are mean to others. I truly hope that there will NOT be moments where you are mean to someone. This book reminds us of the power of our words and actions. When we see someone being mistreated, it is important to take action to make that stop. Every person matters and every person deserves respect.
From The Terrible Two: Cows are unique animals (haha!). I hope this book reminds you that great stories can make you smile and laugh and how fun it is to share that with friends. I hope that someday, you too might get invited to Cody Burr-Tyler's birthday party. If you one day become a principal, I hope you remember Principal Barkin's inspiration and write your own "Principal Power Speech" from the custodian's closet. (Somewhere in the distance, a cow mooed.)
From Love That Dog: Everyone can write poetry and poems are found in the everyday moments and stuff of our lives. Let what you read inspire you to write, like Jack was inspired by Mr. Walter Dean Myers. Take chances with your writing. Sign your name to your writing and be proud of your work! Notice the amazing things around you and the small details and write about them so you'll always remember.
As you leave third grade, I hope you will carry Edward and Ivan in your heart, remember Wanda Petronski and her hidden talents, don't forget James and his magic or Miles and Niles and their pranks, or Jack and his courage to write about Sky. And I hope that you know how much YOU matter and how smart, capable, kind, and important you are.
"If this world makes you crazy and you've taken all you can bear,
Just call me up- cause you know I'll be there!
And I see you true colors shining through.
I see your true colors and that's why I love you.
So don't be afraid to let them show-
Your true colors, true colors
Are beautiful like a rainbow."
Always here for you, always proud of you!
Now go on with your amazing selves and enjoy the summer!