Saturday, June 9, 2012

End of the School Year

My first year of teaching has come to an end.  I could not have been more blessed with a wonderful class, school and co-workers.  I truly miss those kids so much now that summer's here!

Our last few weeks together were really special and will always make me smile when I think back on them.  This class and I will always share a bond.  We went through a lot together and they were my first class.  They better come back and visit me!

I planned some fun activities for us to do at the end of the school year.  First and foremost, I was attending a workshop during the teacher workdays, so I had to get my room packed away before most.  I capitalized on the students' energy and had them help me.  We had fun taking down posters and packing a few boxes.  They loved to help and I definitely appreciated it!

After we organized and put away all of their books, I went out and bought shaving cream so they could clean the desks.  I remember how much fun shaving cream was when I was a kid, so I wanted them to experience that too.  Umm, to say they loved it would be an understatement.  I only used 2 cans on 25 desks, but that was more than enough.  They had a blast!  And it makes the desks amazing clean.  I let them play around with it for about 30 minutes, drawing pictures, writing notes to their friends, etc.  Then they had to buff it in and I came around with a wipe to clean any excess off.  It was so easy and made the room smell really good.



After we cleaned the desks, we put them all in a big circle (instead of their team seating) and enjoyed a class pizza party, games, movies and stories.  I taught them how to play the "Cup Game".  We used to play this game all the time in high school during SGA functions.  I loved it and I think my students loved it too.  They told me they went home and taught their parents and siblings.  Here's a video if you want to learn how it goes.  We got going really fast and if you messed up, you were out.

The song I taught them is a little different.  It goes, "Clap, clap.  One, two, three.  Clap, then move.  Clap, upside down, then to you!"

I made my students a small end of the year gift.  I couldn't go spend a fortune, but I wanted to get them a little something.  I saw an idea on Pinterest (of course), so I tweaked it a little to work with what I had.  I thought it turned out cute and they loved it.  It doesn't take much to make kids happy! :)

Here are the supplies you need: ribbons, gift tags, swirly straws, kool aid packets and a hole puncher.

Punch a hole through the gift tags and the corner of the kool aid packet.  String a ribbon through them both and tie it to the straw.  Easy peasy, cute and colorful.  I think this project cost me about $12 for 24 students.  Not too bad!

My favorite activity we did by far was on the last day of school.  I taped a piece of paper to each of their backs, gave them all a marker and told them to go around the room and write on each others paper taped to their back.  The only rule was they had to write something kind, something they liked about the person.  Surprisingly, they did amazing on this.  They never got rowdy and they were REALLY into it.  I didn't even have any problems with someone sneaking something rude.  I shouldn't have been surprised because we were pretty good about having a very supportive classroom.  Like I said, we went through a lot together this year.

Once everyone had a chance to write on each of their classmate's backs, I told them they could take the paper off and read it.  I had some students crying over the nice things their classmates wrote.  It was an amazing activity.  I told them to always keep it in a safe place and anytime they had a rough day to take it out, read it, and remember that someone loved them.  I had a teacher that did this activity with me in high school and I still have my paper.  It really made an impact.

Once we were done with that, we did a round robin and shared funny stories and favorite memories from our year.  We were laughing so hard at some of the stories.  I read them a poem (another Pinterest find) that totally fit how I felt about them.

The great thing about teaching older kids is that they can write notes to me and tell me how they feel.  I received several notes that made me cry and thank the Lord for giving me this amazing opportunity.  I will keep these in a very special place and look back on them anytime I have a bad day.  They make everything worth it.  Students told me I had "impacted" their life.  Me?  Impact?  Just reading those words made me praise God for HIS work through me.  It was all Him.  On our way to the buses, my "challenge" for the year handed me a folded up piece of notebook paper.  He told me not to read it yet, but gave me the okay a few minutes later.  I opened it up and read his words.  He said, "I'm going to miss you.  You were the best teacher I ever had.  I love you."  You know the tears starting coming.  As I put those kids on the buses, the girls were clinging to my hips and crying.  This may be some of the hardest work I've ever done, but it is by far the most rewarding.

I have to give all the glory to the Lord, though.  I asked Him for wisdom each morning on my drive to work.  I couldn't have done it without His guiding hand.  There were times when I'd be dealing with a situation in class, I'd be getting upset, and I'd remember to just stop and pray for His direction.  Each and every time I did that, He opened my eyes to the situation in a way I'd never seen it before.  I just praise and thank Him over and over for this opportunity.

I'm so excited about next year already.  I can't wait to meet my new students and form new bonds.  I hope all of you teachers out there have a great summer!


Holly said...

Cute ideas! I have always wanted to be a teacher for many reasons but mainly to touch students lives and provide life lessons some kids dont receive at home. Hope you enjoy your summer. I love your blog. Feel free to visit mine sometime:

Amelia ♥ said...

I loved the kool aid idea, very cute! And the poem is so sweet. I've gone back to school and am studying Early Education so hopefully I'll be in your shoes one day soon :)

Carrie Louise said...

Holly, that is EXACTLY how I feel. Sometimes, you're the only love they receive! Thanks for reading my blog!

Amelia, I am so proud of you! That's fantastic! It's very very rewarding. I just love it.