This week has been a whirlwind of events that begin the culmination of our school year. One more week and it’s flying by, fast, furious, exhausting and worthy of celebration. Thank you, Ruth Ayers, for your blog and the practice of Saturday Celebration.
I celebrate my current students. This week my students completed their memoirs. Memoirs for fifth graders run the gamut. Most are touching remembrances of loved teachers, field trips, friendships and playground scuffles.
Getting to the core of what their fifth-grade year has meant to them is sometimes impossible. They are too close to the action to see it, or they’re just too young to do the deep reflective work. But if the doors are left open, important realizations can come to the surface.
For a few students, things I’ve seen all year, which they haven’t been able to see, bubble up. And for others, their words open my eyes to the see a struggle they had been covering up all year.
On Friday, they shared in small groups with cookies. Next week they’ll share a few select stories in front of the whole class. Of these, two or three will be read at their culmination.
This week I celebrate my former students. Many schools have early dismissal days and former students come by and just hang out. They want to talk about life in general. I ask about their year and their plans for the summer. They just talk and talk and talk. I had lots of things to do, yet this time was priceless. I make a conscious choice to be very present for them. Hearing how history is their favorite subject because it makes them think or how they’re the second fastest miler in their middle school. How they are struggling with family, friends or school are conversations I am privileged to hear.
The week I celebrate my future students. I had the opportunity to teach two writing lessons to my incoming fifth graders. I can’t recommend this practice enough. Seeing these fourth graders in their current classroom community is something I’ve wanted to do for years. Finally, I did it and wow what a great experience. They are comfortable, confident and eager to know what’s in store for them the next year. I get an initial read on them and a clearer vision of what to expect when they make my classroom their new home.
Summer is calling, yet we’re all holding on for a moment, looking backward and forward to what we’ve done and what we need to do.