As I'm sitting in my library typing this post, remnants of the last week of school are apparent. In one corner are baskets of picture books that I want to organize into mentor texts for the beginning of the year. Books on friendship, manners, diversity: but mostly about building a community. In another corner are gifts from students, newly purchased professional books, and my books bags from school dropped from the moment I came in. In the middle are my kids' art work, summer reading programs, and brain games they were excited to look at when they got home. My kitchen is messy, laundry is clean/not folded, and my family has dispersed to their own "getting ready for the weekend" activities. Authentic evidence of how crazy the last week can be!
Our last day tradition at school is the 5th Grade Clap-In. The entire student body lines the halls clapping, as the fifth graders walk through one last time. For the adults, it can be emotional when you see that special student whom you made a difference walk through. Today, I was already teary due to a retirement breakfast speech, so the tears flowed freely. As one particular class walked by, six students broke rank and came over to hug me, boys and girls. (At this point, I was flowing like a faucet!!) What a special moment that was! I guess it's never too cool to hug a teacher.
Later, a family I had 4 years ago was out in the hall with their two toddler daughters. An amazing family that recently adopted a toddler from the Ukraine and what a beautiful family they have. The mother has been blogging about her adoption process and bringing awareness to children with special needs. As I read it tonight, one common theme was prevalent in her writing: treat each day as a gift and live a life filled with love. I'm attaching the link to Loving Alina and Bridget's Light. Bridget and Alina's mother writes with love, with gratitude, and with appreciation for her children. Check it out. It's amazing story!!
So, now that the last student has left the building, the desks are piled on top of each other, my books have been used, I think the gift I gave my students was a classroom environment filled with possibilities!
As you begin to renew yourself this summer, live each day with love and gratitude for the gifts around you.