And so it ended with rainy kiss and ride duty, lost report cards, last minute frantic parent-teacher conferences, and lots of packed boxes. I have already built myself a nest of research articles, text books, and study guides in my basement to help me study for the comps I'm scheduled to take next Wednesday (wish me luck). My stack of read-for-pleasure books is calling to me from over in the corner and my new addiction to The Wire is working hard at keeping me from studying. (I blame Mr. Lipstick for explaining how to use the HBO on-demand feature on Tuesday night- right before my cramming study sessions were meant to begin).
The last day of school was about as much of a whirl-wind as the first. We kept our kindergartners busy by having them decorate the boxes we'd packed our classroom supplies in. They took the job quite seriously and made sure the boxes were colorful and plastered with stickers. "Oh no!" we kept saying. "Here's another box without any color- we'd better get someone to help us with this one". Our helpers glowed with pride at their finished work.
My bff (how much longer can I say that before he is someone else's bff?) decided that he didn't want to watch movies the last 2 days, but instead wanted to write stories. Yes, my friends, how many writing workshops this year ended with thrown papers- but now, when the option is for watching movies, he'd rather write? Just telling us, once again, where we can stick our stupid school structure. He came into our kindergarten class and wrote his stories on the back of paper meant for the trash- the paper we'd written morning messages on throughout the year. Kindergartners gathered around him to help him spell the words- and my bff managed to conduct a more engaging interactive-writing lesson than we ever did this year.
I'd found pictures of this year's graduating fifth graders when they were six and in my first grade class. Their big eyes of wonder holding worms, bugs, clutching a stuffed animal, reading a big book, getting in the way of the camera. From that class there were only six students left at our school, so I was able to write each of them a letter about how proud I was of them and give them pictures of their days of learning to read. It was wonderful to see their parents at the promotion ceremony- some parents I had not seen in four years. If I'm honest they were my favorite class- the year that everything came together smoothly- when the things that were suppose to work actually did.
My co-teachers and I ended the day with promises to get together this summer to "dream" about next year- a chance during these short five weeks to think big so we can later figure out the logistics to make it happen. I've already planned the first few weeks of school with my old kindergartners (soon to be first graders) in my head- where we'll start off from where we left, what new game they're ready for. I love keeping the same children for two years in a row. I have all summer to use what I know about their skills to plan and adapt a curriculum to get us reading with aggression :)