Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 04 2012


Whew. The school year is officially over. It ended for real last Tuesday, but then we had 2 days of Common Core training and one day of checkout, and now I’m sitting through 4 days of Lindamood-Bell training (which is good stuff but could really be done in 1 or 2 days), plus after that I’m teaching summer school. So it doesn’t really feel over. But my kids are now 5th graders. They’re done with fourth grade. And I am done with my first year teaching.

This is overwhelming and I will likely do a reflective post on all that in the near future about how this year went, highs and lows, things I want to do better next year (i.e. everything, but still). However, for now let me tell you about the activity we did on the last day of school. It was a weird day because it was a half day after a long weekend, and field day was cancelled due to wind before the long weekend. This means that I already ran through my repertoire of camp counselor games, and we already watched the 1970s movie version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which, incidentally, impressed me because every two and half seconds they were comparing the book to the movie and finding the MOVIE lacking, rather than the book. Nice because they both a. recognized all the tiny details that were inconsistent and b. preferred their own mental picture to the movie, which means they HAD a mental picture!). So Tuesday was a mess of killing time with ice cream sundaes (they earned a reward) and puzzles.

The only real activity we did was one I did in sixth grade, where everyone sits in a circle and puts their name on a piece of paper. Then you pass the papers around and as you get each paper, you write one nice thing you appreciate about the person whose name is on that paper. Anonymous compliments about their personality, not, “I like your shoes.” Then at the end everyone gets to keep their own paper and see all the great things about themselves. It’s just a nice activity.

For kicks, and because I wanted to write on all their papers, I joined the circle. Of course that meant I got a paper too. And it made me melt. Granted, there’s some spelling and grammar issues and some mixed up I/you words, here’s what it said:

  • Ms. EMinNM is a funny teather and she is goof. (This student started the year writing random words instead of sentences.)
  • You would help me if I did not understand a problem.
  • I think your nice because when i dident understand long division you help me and now i kinda know how to do it. (This is the student I spent 5 months teaching multiplication. She’s right, she knows how to multiply but she kinda knows how to divide too!)
  • Your funny and thoughtful because you help everyone when we are stuck on a problem.
  • You are kind because you always say hi to me (Uhhh…what?)
  • You are a best teacher because you never be mean.
  • You are a amazing teacher you are funny because you help everyone else.
  • You are the lovelyist teacher in the whole world and talk to us when were sad and I will miss you on spring break. (Someone missed the memo about it being summer break!)
  • really nice teacher to all to us. she was the best teacher ever.
  • You’re were good at teaching us and cheering people up!
  • Dear Ms. EMinNM you are a very good teacher. I wish you were are teacher for 5th grade also you are a very very nice teacher that I hade ever met. PS. from: Megan
  • Dear Ms. EMinNM, You are a really helpful, kind, and nice teacher to your classmates. Thank you for teaching us all of the things you learned. Ms. EMinNM you’re the best teacher I ever had. I wish you were in 5th grade so I can be my 5th grade teacher. Sincerely (HE SPELLED IT RIGHT!), Alexander
  • Thanks for everything, I love you Ms. EMinNM. (This was from my student who takes ten years to write anything. He often would not write anything at all until I spent five minutes planning his sentence with him. For him, to write this much in a quick activity when he has the pressure of the kid behind him waiting to write is amazing.)
  • Thanks for being a awesome teacher il miss you!

Man, I love these kids.

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    In which I muse about New Mexico, teaching, and life in general.

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