Showing posts from June, 2016

Summer Is...#SOL16

Summer is shrugging off the school year stress like a cardigan that is no longer necessary.  Summer is trading in my work bags full of lessons, papers, and memos for beach bags full of superhero towels, sunscreen, and flip flops.  Summer is nights on the screened in porch and books just for fun, quiet except for the hum of the ceiling fan.  Summer is pool passes and camp schedules, library visits and play dates. Summer is our backyard swing and sitting with my two children, talking about nothing...and everything. Summer is blowing bubbles and sidewalk chalk, fireflies and fireworks.  Summer is a late dinner on the water, fancy drinks, no regrets.  Summer is peaches and cherries, watermelon and pineapples. Summer is the smell of barbecues and red, white, and blue dresses, flags waving.  Summer is freedom. Summer is renewal. Summer is here! 

The Last Week of School #SOL!6

Goodbyes hang in the air when it's the last week of school. The rip of tape being pulled from the wall echoes as pictures and displays come down, revealing bare walls. Notebooks are stuffed in backpacks, unused workbooks are debated- should they be sent home or thrown out? All the places where students' names hung, showing their partnerships, or their writing, or their class jobs- all of these are taken down. No more names now.  Some of the children are like puppies inside a gate, just waiting for the lock to be opened and to run with the freedom of summer. Not all children. Some feel a sadness and worry that school is ending, the structure, the stability, the knowledge that breakfast and lunch appear each day.  We bring to a conclusion a year full of learning. Sometimes with a test and not much else. Sometimes with a celebration, bagels and books and numbers held high showing how much reading happened.  When it's the last week of school, it's your last time to

On the Darkest Days, I Read #SOL16

On the darkest days, the hardest days, I pick up a book and I read aloud to students.  My third grade students, restless with thoughts of summer, quieted as I began to read aloud. I've been reading Sharon Draper's Out of My Mind , a book that puts you right into the shoes of nonverbal Melody, an 11 year old with cerebral palsy. It is a book you should read, if you haven't already, and I don't want to spoil anything for you. I'll just say this was the part where there was a terrible injustice done to Melody. The air was thick with emotion. My voice wavered as I read the words. They were quiet. Then they were angry and outraged for Melody, right along with me.  These are the moments. When you get a room full of eight and nine year olds to ache with caring about a character who is very different from them.  When they see we are all the same on the inside, despite any outward differences. When they forget that Melody drools and can't talk and kicks her legs out

#SOL16 Letter to My First Kindergarten Class

Letter to my first kindergarten class, upon their high school graduation Dear Graduates, We first met each other in 2003, when you were 4 and 5 years old and I was 24. Your first official year in school was my third year of teaching and my first year as a kindergarten teacher. You were so little, full of energy, and eager to learn. The letter people were friends in our room, including Mr. B with his "beautiful buttons" and Mr. M with his "munching mouth." We celebrated the wedding of Mr. Q and Ms. U in style and you even brought in quarters as wedding gifts! We had teddy bear tea parties and ate green eggs and ham. We built blocks, painted, and danced. Olivia, the pig, traveled home with you for the weekends. We sang "What a Wonderful World" in June before you moved onto first grade. It's been quite some time since I've seen most of you! I hope your journey through the years as a student has been rewarding and I hope you are just a