Friday, December 19, 2014

The Last Day of School for 2014!!!


Here it is!!  The last day of school for 2014, and the last day before Christmas break is upon us.  This week flew by, which was what I was hoping for.  I'm so glad that it's been such a busy, fast week and that my class and I have had such an amazingly fun week.  Today will be no exception, and we plan on ending 2014 with a bang.

This morning, we'll be bundling all of the fourth graders up and taking them caroling at the Senior Citizen Center.  I think it's such a great idea to have the kiddos do something like serenading some older folks with their beautiful singing voices.  We've been practicing hard, and they're ready to spread some Christmas cheer for all to hear.  

Once the singing is over with, it's back to the school for some fun and games before lunch.  We've finished up all of our units, all of their grades have been entered, and it's just going to be a day of having some fun and celebrating all of their hard work they've done for the first half of the year.  After lunch, we're going to push all the desks to the side of the room and lay on the floor to watch a Christmas movie.  The kids are going to bring blankets, pillows, and their pajamas and we're going to relax and enjoy the afternoon.  Once they come back from specials, they'll open their gifts that I got them and break out all of the snacks that they brought to finish up the movie with. 

It's hard to believe that we're already half way through the school year.  I can't even begin to describe the transformations that I've seen in these amazing kiddos.  It's like they're not even the same kids that walked through the door on the first day of school.  They have matured and really buckled down in becoming the best 4th graders they can possibly be.  I've watched kids that could barely add two numbers together fight long and hard until they were able to multiply two digits by two digits.  I've held the hands of kids that had trouble reading a book on a first grade level find the confidence to push themselves and are now reading close to grade level.  I've pushed and prodded kids that were scared to answer a single question out loud to finally find the confidence to participate in class conversations, and I'm now watching them crack jokes and correct other students that give an incorrect answer.  It's certainly been an amazing first half of the year, and I'm completely blown away with their effort, their dedication, and the growth they have all made.  This is usually the success I see after an entire school year, so I'm so excited to see what 2015 and has in store.

They're not the only ones that have gone through some changes.  The kids in my class have definitely brought out the best in me, too.  For the first time in my teaching career, I get up every morning excited and motivated about what surprises they have in store for me.  I'm not saying my first two years weren't amazing, or that I wasn't excited each day with them, but I've really found my confidence as a teacher with these kiddos.  I've let go of the mentality that I have something to prove to anyone outside of my classroom walls, and I've allowed myself to follow my heart and really hone in on my students' needs to drive my instruction and how I teach.  I've learned just as much from those precious angels as I've taught them, maybe more so.  They've really shown me that kids will most definitely rise to the expectations  that are set before them.  They've ingrained the philosophy of firm but fair.  They've listened to my lectures and speeches about my wanting them to be the best they can be and rise to whatever goals they set for themselves, and they've taught me to do the same.  They now don't hesitate to question me, correct me, and provide me with feedback that's productive and beneficial to their learning and my teaching.

It hasn't all been perfect.  I've made some mistakes.  I've had a few setbacks.  But, the good has outnumbered the bad hundreds of times over.  And I will leave that school building today already missing their smiling faces, their warm morning hugs, and their questions about what we're going to be learning next.  

I just hope and pray that they are all able to have a good Christmas.  They deserve it.  I wish I could have done more for the them in terms of gifts and their celebration, but I've learned that with these kiddos the smallest of gestures goes a very long way.

Yesterday, I celebrated with the kids that had reached their AR reading goal for the quarter.  I brought the stuff for them to decorate gingerbread cookies and brought them some egg nog as well as some other snacks for them to enjoy.  Most of the kids participating had never decorated a gingerbread man or tried egg nog.  To see the light in their eyes and the laughter on their faces as they tried the egg nog, and stuck little candies to the front of a gingerbread man was something words can't even describe.  And the absolute best part was being able to do such a small thing that had such an amazing impact.  It was in that moment that I realized how truly blessed I have been by having these students in my class and how much thanks I owe them for overcoming some pretty hard obstacles to show me how hard they can work.  

I can't even say enough about how much I love each of the seventeen sweet children I have in my class this year, and I will miss them so much.  But, I'm also ready for a nice couple of weeks with my biological children and my family.  The break will be very good for me, and will recharge my motivation to come back in 2015 and pick up right where we left off.

So, here it is...the last day before Christmas break....


Have a great Friday, everyone!!


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