Saturday, June 7, 2008
What It's All About
For 180 days, I have been working the 20 students in my class to the bone! We have read, calculated, studied, tested, and written in an effort to cover all of the standards I knew could be tested on the SOL tests. With 4 weeks to go before the tests, it looked impossible for us to be ready. I pushed and pressed on, wanting the kids to believe that we would make it. Somehow, by the grace of God, no doubt, we covered everything that the state requires. The kids finished the tests a little over a week ago, and I was so proud of them! While some of them are nervous about how they did, I witnessed them using the skills that I taught them, and I know that they tried their best. With SOLs out of the way, it was time to have a little fun! We started on Tuesday with an Author's Reception. Since the very first week of school, the special ed teacher, Betty, and I implemented the Writer's Workshop program in our classroom for an hour each day. It was amazing to see the progress that the kids made, from not being able to write a complete sentence at the beginning of the year to each having at least one published book by the end of the year (some had up to 4). These kids truly became pros at writing and editing their own work. Plus, it was unbelievable to see their love of writing grow! When asked about the program, all of the kids talked about how much they loved it, especially since they were allowed to write about any topic of their choosing. Without even realizing it, they were all using it as an outlet to talk about the things going on in their lives. When all was said and done, we all knew each other better because of this writing. So to celebrate the hard work the students had done all year, we invited their parents to come in and listen to them reading their stories. We had refreshments like Rice Krispie treats, fruit pizza, and sherbet punch (thanks in part to my mom), and we were pleased by the turn-out of parents, administrators, student teachers, and teacher assistants. When we started the program, we could have never guessed the excitement it would bring for the students! The Friday before the party, they were literally waiting at the door for the last shipment of published books to come from the TA. You can't ask for much more as a teacher! We followed up our Author's Reception with a terrific Field Day on Thursday! The day started with a police-escorted torch run from City Hall to our school bus loop. The principal ran the entire way along with a few other adults, and the SCA representatives joined in once it reached the school. The rest of the morning, the students competed in events like cup stacking, battleball, hula hoop passing, sack races, and more. They even played with a giant parachute and ran around trying to fill buckets with wet sponges under their necks! It was the best field day that I had witnessed since I was little, and the kids had a blast! It was so much fun to let them have a day to just be kids after all the work they have done this year. Too often in school, we lose sight of the fact that these are just kids as we try to force them to learn everything by the test dates. This was a completely stress-free day for them! It was one of the hottest days imaginable, but the kids forgot about that once the events got started. I, on the other hand, did not forget about it until one of the P.E. teachers soaked me with a hose! Still, I will forgive him because the P.E. teachers made this great day possible for the kids! Overall, this week was one of those weeks that reminds you why you go into teaching in the first place!