We started back to school on Monday and, much to my surprise, all of my students walked through the door. You might be thinking, "That's a surprise? Aren't they all SUPPOSED to come back?" Not at our school. We often have families that take the winter break as an opportunity to visit relatives in Mexico. These visits sometime extend 2-3 weeks into the new year. Right in the middle of the toughest part of fifth grade math...fractions. But not this year! It was great to see ALL of my students sitting in their chairs on Monday morning. I do have one who's leaving next week for two weeks, but she's one of my most conscientious students and I have no doubt she'll complete all the work in her independent study packet. The worst part about her leaving is that she keeps me organized. She's my 'right hand girl'. She remembers where I put my keys, always knows what time it is, reminds me to send the attendance folder up to the office, and loves to stay in at lunch recess to straighten up my desk. I'll miss her.
Here are some highlights of what I think has been a great start to the new year:
I read Memoirs of a Goldfish to my class before break. The book was leaning up against the whiteboard when I left. When I got back, I found it on my desk with this stickie note attached to it:
The photo isn't as clear here in blog world, but it says, "This book is Amazing. Make sure your students hear it. Jason the Custodian." Okay, how wonderful is THAT? Our night custodian actually sat down to read this book during his shift...and LOVED it as much as we did. That just makes my heart smile.
Around 9:00 on Monday, the office called to tell me to send someone up to escort my new student to the classroom. New student? Yikes! My 'right hand girl' jumped into action and rounded up supplies while I raced out into the hallway to
Monday afternoon was like Christmas all over again. If you're a DonorsChoose fanatic like I am, you know what it's like to have your projects funded right before winter break. It means you have to wait until after the holidays for your project materials to be ordered and shipped. I was pleasantly surprised to find two packages in the office on Monday afternoon. The first was our new Epson Small-in-One multifunction machine. Yep, we're printing in color now! The kids are really excited as they are about to embark on their journey of researching and writing explorer reports. The second box contained this:
Next up on the week's highlights: "Pauly". No, that's not his real name, but he looks like a miniature Pauly D. from Jersey Shore (I feel the need to add the disclaimer that I have never actually watched that show). "Pauly" has never liked school. It has always been an incredible struggle for him. This year has been no different. So imagine my surprise when we had this conversation on Tuesday:
"Pauly": Mrs. Tanner, something's wrong with me. I don't know what it is.
Me: You're not feeling well?
"Pauly": I don't know. I don't know what it is, but ever since Christmas break, I think I LIKE school now. I don't know why, but I want to be here. That's weird huh?
I got a little bit dramatic and felt his forehead to see if he had a temperature and fussed over him as though he was truly ill. He smiled and said, "No, no, no, it's okay. I'm not sick. I just hope whatever this is, it lasts." I'm happy to report that it lasted all week. I'm hoping that whatever he's 'come down with' sticks around for a while.
I had a college student spend the day in my classroom yesterday. He sat quietly in the back of the room taking notes all morning. I'd check in with him whenever I could to answer any questions he might have. He didn't say much. But then, when the kids went off to their music prep, he came up to me and said, "I love you." There was the briefest moment of awkward silence after that declaration. Then he continued with, "I wish you had been my fifth grade teacher. You seem to love all your students and they love you back. How do you do that?" It was another one of those moments that makes my heart smile. I shared a comment with him that a friend made after I had a little rant about not having enough time to teach such a large and wildly diverse group of kids everything they need to know before heading off to 6th grade:
"Thankfully, that regardless of the system...regardless of the outcomes, each soul you teach is blessed with caring growth and is transformed in a way which is good."
That's what it's all about, isn't it?
So, what's happening on the homefront this week?
I got a bread machine for Christmas. Now I'm only ever a few hours from freshly baked bread without all the mess. I'll be making some toast as soon as I finish this post.
|Honey Oatmeal Bread...Yum!|
I also have a new addiction. Sadly, it's not exercise, but I'm working on that. No, my new addiction is zentangling. You've no doubt read about it on several folks' blogs already, so I won't go into detail. I bought this book:
... a set of micron pens, a sketch pad, and artist tiles so I can do this:
|My Day 4 Zentangle|
Zentangling is described as "creative drawing for relaxation, inspiration, and fun." The artist gene skipped a generation in my family, so I'm thrilled that I can actually produce a doodle like this. I'm finding it to be a great way to unwind from my day at work. I can't wait to introduce zentangling to my students.
And finally, I have my One Little Word for this year: Choices. I love my word. I have completely embraced it. It gives me space and holds me accountable all at the same time. Just what I need.
I've got a piece of honey oatmeal toast calling my name......
Hope all of you have had a great start to 2014!