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.
13 thoughts on “Celebrate: Present, Past and Future”
Oh I love the idea of teaching the rising 5th graders. What a great idea!!! I like how you celebrated all students! Enjoy your final week of school!! 🙂
This is really such an important post for all of us who are teachers at this time of year – a teacher in a room as the center of communities that flow through. I love how you honour and celebrate each group. It reminds us that we have room to adore, to inspire and to be inspired by so many children in our careers.
Your post expressed so many feelings that I’ve had as the year comes to a close. I think that your last sentence is beautiful and that’s something that we need to always remember about this time of the year.
A celebration of students is perfect for the end of an awesome year. I think the writing lessons you did with the fourth graders gave them a glimpse of their future with you and they learn some of your passion for writing. What a great idea! Savor your final days and remember the growth you’ve been able to witness.
When I taught 4th grade, I would always invite the 3rd graders up to my room for some type of activity. We have done reader’s theater, poetry slams, and wax museum. It is fun for the new students to get a glimpse of of what is to come. Enjoy your last week!
I loved hearing about all these, especially celebrating your incoming students. That’s a great idea!
Those teachers that the students “will” have do have sessions with their coming students. We think it does smooth the path for next year. Glad you enjoyed it too. I know it’s hard to have those visiting students, but it’s very fun isn’t it? To see what & how they’re doing is such a pleasure. It sounds like you had a good week! Hope the next is the same!
The last days for me are so interrupted that I feel cheated out of this kind of end of year celebration. You can see how far your students have come. Former students returning is testament to your open door. I hope the end continues to go well and smooth.
Julieanne, this is a wonderful line: “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.” I think you could work that into a poem so easily. Are you going to send me a poem/photo combination for Spring’s Symphony. See http://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2015/05/digital-design.html for the invitation.
I love your comment about being fully present with your former students. What a gift you are giving them, at such a crazy busy time of year. And I love the idea of teaching next year’s students! They will walk into your class already knowing you and ready to begin.
I love how you made time to be present with those former students. It’s such a gift when they pop by to say hi and stay to chat. I love how you framed this post – looking back, forward, and savoring the moment.
Present, past, and future – the circle of teaching kids.
Often times I hear adults who work in our schools say, “I can’t get my work done for all the activity with students.” Sounds funny doesn’t it. What IS the real work of school? I think you nail it here in your willingness to be present for students future and former when they come to share their lives with you. Thank you for that, Julieanne. 💕. This is the true heart and soul of our work .