SOL: Back to the Beginning

We made our way to the other side of the school, not our usual morning ritual. Today we ventured to a temporary home, a small outpost on the primary yard made for children half the size of a fifth grader.

Baskets of books, magazines, notebooks, a ream of paper, post-its, mobile devices, pens come too.

We stop short of the classroom to discuss how to proceed. What to do with our backpacks. All movement has to be orchestrated and planned.

Once in, our thirty bodies fill up every inch. Our feet our books our bodies. We can’t help it. Every step thunders while memories of being in small chairs seep into conversations.

We discuss our neighbors: the tiny first graders who walk like birds, our natural noisiness, the need to respect our environment and each other.  Slowly, we find places to sit.  No one knows where things are or how to do things. Day 161 feels like the first day of school.

Then blogging happens. Read aloud. Reading.

Inches from each other, eyes meet. Every foot tap is detected. Every squeak interrupts in this room built for smaller people.

 Would you like to read outside? I suggest. They jump at the chance. To breathe to have a little space.


As disruptive and uncomfortable as it is to be out of our room, being in this space is a gift of sorts, to see each other and ourselves other in an old new light.

We moved back to the beginning for the last days of elementary school. A place to remember how it was.

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers Blog for Slice of Life Tuesdays. Find more slices here.

17 thoughts on “SOL: Back to the Beginning

  1. I’d say that you’re the gift to those kids. Imagine how hard it will be to say goodbye. Great use of the photo app here. Bravo, teacher!!!!

  2. I like that they get to revisit the place meant for little people. It does put it all in perspective! Like when my son was born and my 18 month old little girl suddenly seemed like a giant.

  3. Your positive perspective on this move will make it seamless and easy for your students. I hope it’s not for long. I can see that small space will get old really quickly.

  4. Reading your post while being in a brand new school, one where the room I was in this year was the ONLY room in the school I’d every been in, got me thinking. At my interview, I was asked, what do you see our school being in 5 years? As I read your post, I hope it is a place where the current 5th graders upstairs in their Galaxy hallway have fond memories of their K year in 2016, the first to learn in the Backyard Kinder Houses! Enjoy the memories…and thanks for helping me see possible end of year rituals as our school gets older!

  5. Wonderful time that you gave to your students, thoughts of “remember when” help them know they will be remembered and will remember, Julieanne. What gifts you are giving the class as you finish the goodbyes.

  6. Even though you are in a space not meant for you, the established routines take over to bring some semblance of order to this place. I love your observations and the orchestration of every move is done with care.

  7. So timely to have your students here in this place where they were once – like a lifetime ago it must feel for them. There is so much respect here – in your guidance and in your observations.

  8. What an interesting way to help your students develop a sense of perspective that will enhance their writing. I wish I could go back to my earliest school; I often wonder what it was like. It’s been a middle-school for ages now. Nice idea; written very sensitively.

  9. I read your post twice so I could really think about it. Everything changes when context changes. I’m certain someone has already said it, but I believe we only know how far we’ve come when we go back to where we began. This is such a gift to these older students.

  10. Good byes are difficult but you made the transition so enjoyable, Julieanne. Your last picture made me think that your words paired with it would make a great offering for Spring’s Seeds:
    Being in this space outside
    is a gift of sorts,
    to see each other
    and ourselves other
    in an old new light.
    What do you think?

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