Thanks for all you do each day to help make school a special place for the children you are touching and teaching this year, and thanks for dropping by to read my post. Today, we're sharing our reflections of our school experiences and in my case (since I'm too old to remember those beginning years), I'm going to share special memories I have of my children's experiences. They have been touched by some special teachers, and I think this is a great time to thank them for their love and caring.
My oldest is graduating this year, and this is him on his first day of kindergarten. His teacher, Mrs. G was and still is a special person in his life and special friend. We were colleagues when my son was in her class, and I had flexibility that year to be able to capture the special events that made kindergarten memorable. His class hatched baby chicks, rode on the Polar Express and sipped hot cocoa in their pajamas and slippers, celebrated Dr. Seuss day with cute little top hats, and enjoyed a visit from Zero the Hero (our Harley Riding Principal who came dressed in stretch pants, a Zero the Hero shirt, cape, and of course, his motorcycle helmet! I loved the flexibility Mrs. G had when it came to reading and math. My youngest learned quickly, so Mrs. G arranged for him to cross-grade for reading and math.
Mrs. G gave my son a fantastic start, but others also touched, challenged, and motivated him. Mrs. T in second grade expected his writing to be in paragraphs and if not, he had to redo them! Mrs. O, in third grade, included many, many hands on science challenges and reading projects. She made a point to attend his baseball games multiple times, and she included me in her math enrichment block. In fourth grade, Mr. E...well...he could have taught at Wayside School. He loved novels and shared his passion for reading. Sam's favorite that year was Where the Red Fern Grows. Mrs. L, the math teacher that year, connected with Sam too. She still follows up and tells me stories about his time in her class. By fifth grade, we knew Sam was a "Math Kid", but Mrs. P proved to him that he could write...poetry in fact! He won our city's Writers in Residence award for his poetry, and I got to see that maybe there was a little of me in him. :-)
Sam has continued to enjoy and excel in school, and I thank all of his teachers. As he's moved through middle school and high school, he's gained valuable experience through Scholastic Bowl and Math League. His teachers have helped guide him through his involvement in school and outside of school. He will be attending North Carolina State University this fall and plans to major in engineering and computer science.
My youngest had Mrs. Z for kindergarten, and let's just say that siblings aren't always the same type of learner. Mrs. Z had had my oldest in second grade, and throughout school, he's been very easy-going. My youngest is not. She's a live wire, and Mrs. Z found that out! Still, she was able to use that energy positively much of the time. My youngest is the artsy kid. She loves singing, dancing, and making things. She is the complete opposite of her brother. Mrs. Z included lots of movement which was fabulous for my busy one. In second grade, Mrs. C included movement breaks too, and as part of the routine, each child had stretch bands that they used for brain breaks. We know from research how important those stretch breaks and movement are for all kids, and I think that's a big reason second grade was the most successful year for my youngest. It sure makes a difference for improving attention.
As my youngest has moved through elementary, it has been challenging at times. She has some special needs, and a one size fits all program just doesn't work for her. She has had fantastic teachers who have been flexible with and for her. Yet, a smaller class size and differentiating the curriculum has been most important for her success. Mrs. V, a teacher from fifth grade, has formed a strong connection with my daughter, and when she was out of school for short stretch, Mrs. V called to see if she could come by to see her. It was a lovely visit, and I certainly appreciated the kindness shown to my daughter. It will motivate her to work hard for her teacher in the future, I know.
I will close with a few words about my schooling. I was the child that was quiet and sort of went under the radar. I did my work and learned easily, but I never really connected with my teachers. I did very well in school, and I just kind of went through the motions. I was never much of a reader either which is what drives me to reach out, connect with, and help my students love learning and reading. I work to find just the right books for them and try to make class time focused, engaging, motivating, and personal. I try to know each and every one...what they love, are interested in, and what will help them most. I know all of my blog readers do the same. The very fact that you read blogs shows that you have passion for teaching and learning. Do not lose that! Continue learning and growing, reaching and teaching our kids. Have a wonderful Teacher Appreciation Week, and best wishes in our Teachers Pay Teachers giveaway! I wish each reader could win.
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