Thank you Ruth Ayres for providing a place to celebrate. Today I celebrate the last few days of school and the gift I got.
Thursday, families brought in home-cooked traditional meals for a school pot luck. It was wonderful. Food was plentiful, and most of us ate too much! The holidays should be getting together, sharing, eating and celebrating our future.
Friday, students came carrying red and green bags with colorful ribbons and handed them to their teachers. It happened all over campus. It is our school culture. This is what you do.
When a student gives a gift, I am touched, but to be quite honest also uncomfortable. Did they spent too much? Do feel they have to do this? Do they feel bad if they can’t?
This year one gift stands out. It was a letter. One of those family letters you get in the mail about how your year was. This is an excerpt of his portion of the letter:
I am 10 years old now. I am in 5th grade and I like school. We get to blog on iPads and computers. Teachers from different states let their students blog to each other. It is fun because I have never talked to someone on the computer in a different state. I wrote one story about a kid named Christian and he was annoying. I think I got 5 comments. We do Genius Hour every Thursday afternoon. You create something that nobody else created before. I made a game called “box basketball” where you shoot a paper ball. I write stores about kids and their challenges. Another story is about a raccoon who is a spy. Another story is about a superhero named Wind Runner and he can control the wind.
We have this thing called Breakfast in the Classroom. We eat at our desk. I like the coffee cake and waffles. I don’t like how they changed the school lunch. They’re trying to make kids skinner by giving them protein and nutrients. They don’t have burgers and pizza and chocolate milk anymore. I don’t like that because I don’t eat a lot of junky stuff. Now they have brown rice and beans or veggie burgers. I started making my own lunch.
Today, I am celebrating this gift of reflection..
This letter showed what mattered — to him.
He likes school. He had me there, but he went on to mention so many things that I hoped would matter to students: blogging, connecting, comments, his game and his stories. The food reflection I think is quite interesting. While he doesn’t like the meals, he has made changes on his own to make his life better.
I will treasure this letter not only for what it said, but for the inspiration it has given me for future gift giving. If a student chooses to give a gift, let it be only one that they can create. A card, a letter, a drawing, an origami yoda. Give a gift from the heart, not your parent’s pocket book, and that will make a great celebration for all.