Celebrate: The End of This Road

As we get closer to June, I feel the bumpiness that signals the end of this road.

Students aren’t sure what to do with it. Some ask questions, some worry silently, some act out, some do all of the above.

With all that surrounds this time of year, I am strangely energized.  It’s a crucial time to reflect: to recognize what went well, what was trouble and what needs to be done. So we assess. We get and give feedback.

This week students took their final running record assessment. This is one of the last times I will meet one-on-one with students to discuss their reading successes and goals.

Sitting with students, coaching into what they do well and what might be the next step as a reader, I get a little verklempt.

Throughout their elementary career, students have read hundreds of books, received daily lessons from many teachers and their growth has been monitored. Years of conference notes have been passed down from teacher to teacher for every student. These files are evidence of all the work done by students and teachers and it ends up in my hands.

This week I added the last running record to a very thick file. This last reading assessment is a culmination, a celebration of all the learning, teaching and reading over the last six years.

I’m so proud of what they’ve accomplished, yet I always, always think, now I see what needs to be done; if I could just have them a little longer.

During these conferences students invariably ask, will I get to do these in middle school? And that kills me because I don’t think so.

A few have gone beyond grade level expectations, and many have reached that place we call proficient.

Some are getting there. They’re growing, but they aren’t there yet. This group presents my challenge and my worry.  I need to consider what was done, what could have been done, and ask what can this group teach me.  While I know middle school offers bigger classrooms and different academic challenges, I feel students still need reading instruction.  And I wonder, always, always how does reading go for them in middle school and what can I do to make it better.

This week I pulled alongside each student, complimented their thinking work and tucked in one last teaching point with a “remember every time you–” and sent them off with their book.

This week I added the last piece of evidence to the file, proud of their accomplishments and a bit verklempt.

celebrate link up

Thank you to Ruth Ayers for her Celebrate link up.  As always, so thankful to be a part of this weekly practice. Read other celebrations or add your celebration here.

10 thoughts on “Celebrate: The End of This Road

  1. Julianne,
    You must feel good about how far you have taken these kids. When is your last day? I have finished with my students. Next week is awards days, splash day… And moving day for me (from one classroom to another). Crazy time of year.

  2. i know your students will have the echoes of your teaching resonating in their heads whenever they read. They will grow as readers every time they pick up a book, because you taught them. It is difficult to be the last grade in the building, then send them into a new world of school. Hope you have great weather for Thursday. 😄

  3. You’ve shared so much that is good that you’ve done with your students this year, and it seems as if you’re proud, Julieanne. That feeling of “just a little more time” is often all of ours at the end of the year, seeing what’s possible for a student, hoping that it will happen next. Love reading your post so filled with love.

  4. Oh – this makes me sad I must admit. I can imagine these students already anticipating missing you and all you have given to them with rich instruction and feedback.

  5. Great reflection. It’s neat to think about how much time, love, and effort went into those files and into those kids as they prepare to walk out your doors and on to their next adventure. My original class of third graders graduated last year, and it is so crazy to think about all they have been through since I had them last.

  6. I love this post because it captures perfectly the feelings of this time of year. It is soo hard to let them go, and yet I realize how much easier it is for me, because I am sending them to YOU… I know they will be in good hands. Ahhhhh….

  7. Julieanne, as a reflective practitioner it is normal to raise questions and ponder about your students’ future learning. From all that you have written this year (and who can believe that it has been a full year), I know that you provided your learners with all a wealth of knowledge, skills, and the power to be independent learners with voice and choice.

  8. “I’m so proud of what they’ve accomplished, yet I always, always think, now I see what needs to be done; if I could just have them a little longer”
    Yup, feeling this, too. Just like I do every year at this time.

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