Making Memories

Is your school year winding down?  Ours is coming to a close in the coming weeks, and this is a great time for reflecting on what made this year special.  For us, it was the many hours spent creating memories with our students, sharing the journey with them!

We treasure our time spent exploring, creating, investigating, failing, predicting, trying again, observing, writing, discovering, blogging, revising ideas and predictions, reading, sharing, laughing, collaborating, growing, and learning!

Students in our classrooms love to write letters to the incoming group!  We ask them to name a few things to "look forward to" and a few to "watch out for."  It's hilarious to see what they think of!

What was the highlight of your year?  Do you have any must-do-every-year activities?  {{Global Read Aloud, Flat Stanley, Kidblog}}  Did you try anything new that you'll keep?  {{Skype with a scientist and an author, March Madness books}}  What will you ditch for next year?  {{those blasted toilet-paper tube angels and slip-n-slide for field day}}  Does anyone else allow students to help determine what is worthy of our time?  Make a simple Google Form for them to use and you'll get some fun comments!

Do you solicit feedback from parents?  Use a Google Form to allow parents and other stakeholders to give insight into what programs are valuable and what else might help our students succeed.

After all of the time we've spent together making these memories, we like to give our students a framework for recording some of the moments that made our year.  Be sure to take the time to discuss these moments and memories with your students.  We've found that this exercise is as much for us as teachers as it is for the students!  Ask your students what memories they're taking with them.  What events were their favorites?  We're always amazed at the little moments that we don't even think of!

As a teacher, we have a distinct privilege to make an impact on each student.  Years later they remember us and the activities, books, stories, songs, trials and tribulations we've shared.  It's always a thrill when we get a glimpse into what they remember.  Here is a letter a senior in high school shared with us recently - it was written when she was graduating from 5th grade and moving from our building to middle school.  It brought tears to our eyes, and made us again so very thankful for the opportunity to share in the lives of these young people!

If you need some ideas, please check out our End-of-the-Year Survival Kit - it's filled with ways for students to chronicle their memories of this year as a family of learners.  The years in elementary school seem to slip by so quickly, students will revisit these memories and lists years later and will share a smile or a laugh about what they've written.

Please leave us a comment to tell us how you mark the end of the year.  

Thanks for stopping by - and have a marvelous end to your school year!!

Celebrating Mom

Have you looked at the calendar lately?  Can it really be MAY!?  What happened to April?  It was National Poetry Month, state mandated testing for many of us, Easter, and the beginning of baseball/softball practice, working in the yard, and switching out your closet for warmer-weather clothes... 

With Spring Break barely visible in the rear view mirror now, we are heading into the homestretch of our school year.

May brings lots of end-of-the-year activities, but first up we need to celebrate all of those hard-working mothers!  

Do you have any special traditions within your family or school?  A Mother's Day brunch or tea sounds like a lovely way to pay tribute to all our mothers do.  One school we know of has a tea, and another combines May Day with a Mother's Day celebration and have their kindergarteners make cards and perform a dance around a maypole.

No matter how you celebrate, be sure to send home something in your students' own handwriting and words that explains just how loved and honored those moms are!  Here is a resource to help if you need something - it's our Mother's Day Flip Book!

In years past we've also used Glennon's Key Jar idea over at Momastery.  Our mothers loved how it opened the door for many fun discussions around the dinner table!

Another fun project is found on Kodak Moments:   Ok, so initially we thought the grass head as a gift was a bit skimpy, but they turned out so cute!  Seriously, a plastic cup and a photo and a little soil and grass seed - who knew?? Honestly, they were such cutie-patooties that our moms raved over them!

One last idea is to decorate a simple glass votive candle holder with washi tape - pop in a tea light, and BOOM - you have an instant gift that even the youngest kids can handle!  If you can find taller votives from The Dollar Store or Target, use washi tape or wrap with crepe paper streamer paper for another instant gift (image below from Martha Stewart) that any mom will love!

We'd love to hear how you and your students or kids celebrate and honor the mothers in your lives!  Leave us a comment here, or search for us on social media.

Thanks for stopping by today!