I’ll start with the only picture I took today:
Yep–it’s the same as the header on the blog now. It’s the snack we shared at our Back-To-School Park Party today. Looks yummy, right? And weird, I know, that I only took this one picture. And before I was even at the park! Goodness, Mrs. Bearden, you call yourself a blogger? They were just so busy running all around everywhere getting all hot and sweaty and having fun that I couldn’t get them all in the same frame for a pic. I know, I know, my sincerest apologies. 🙂
Today’s get-together was a little bittersweet, as we were not able to visit with everyone of our Rm. 202 friends. What a great opportunity, though, for those that were able to attend, to reconnect and remember how amazing is our community of learners! Oh, and to think about how LUCKY we are to be able to stay together for another year! We’ll be missing a few good friends, but have a few new ones joining us, and for sure we’re set for a FABULOUS year.
One thing I love about family reunions like these is the ease everyone feels as they come and can just hang out with old friends! It’s so different from how we all remember feeling last summer—how when I came to do home visits and our kiddos were waiting patiently (and nervously), looking out the window to meet their new teacher? Even with the most confident kiddos there was still some uncertainty–will I like my teacher?; Will I have friends? What will 1st grade be like? This year? SO DIFFERENT IN SO MANY GOOD WAYS!
Here’s what I love about looping (for those of you who were looking for a list. 🙂 ):
1) Like I mentioned before, the beginning of the year has a familiarity that is different than with a new class. Looping brings a chance to reconnect with “old” friends and pick up where you left off. All that “getting-to-know-you” that we did last year will come in so handy now as we look back on fond memories and look forward to making new ones.
2) We can jump right back in where we left off! Instead of spending the first 6 weeks of school learning about new procedures, routines and friends, we can get started with learning about new curriculum, sharing new books and making new connections! Think of all the extra time we will have!
3) Like the last one, we can jump right back in on class projects and activities we left in May. Since I knew that we would be together again, there were several things we left “undone” on purpose, knowing that we’d be able to come right back to them in August. What a gift–wish every year could be like that!
4) Everyone already knows and trusts each other! Yes, we are different people than when we left for the summer (some of us are OLD and 8 now!), but we all have a base and strong foundation from which to continue building as we get to know our friends (and even me!) better. We can build on what we know about each other from last year and add to it! There will even be ways to get to know some friends in ways that weren’t possible last year for whatever reason; another year gives us more time and space to really “get” each other as learners and as people!
5) We get to build on common experiences. I always love how many times in the 2nd year of a looping situation you hear me (or a friend) saying, “Remember when we….?” I can’t promise that I will keep track of that tally, but it will happen, and I will probably find a way to document it. I might have to say I’m most excited about breaking our own record for number of Read Alouds that we added to the timeline. I think we added 20, which beat my class from 2012-2013, which read 17 together. So here’s your challenge, Rm. 202–21 or more!
6) I know I already mentioned time in #2, but there is SO MUCH TIME that I can save as a teacher with trying to figure out where everybody is as a learner. Again, some things will have changed and kiddos will have grown over the summer, but it’s so great to walk in on Day 1 and KNOW the readers in my class (I’m excited to fill book boxes and get readers ready for another great year!), to KNOW what they can do as writers (and then plan for how we’ll do even more AMAZING things), to KNOW the mathematicians in my room and be able to listen as I attend trainings with a little bit different angle than some others (I can already plan specifically for what I know my kiddos can do and what they might need more time on), to KNOW how adept they are with using technology and how willing they will be to continue to go with me and try new things. I know what they know about science and social studies, as well as what we’re interested in knowing more about–I can use this as I plan our year! It’s so simple, but is such a WEALTH of knowledge that most teachers (including me last year) don’t get for many more months down the road. I can tweak things that didn’t quite work and continue those that did. See? The gift of time came up again!
7) I hope I don’t speak out of turn when I mention that another thing I love about looping is that trust that is already built with parents. While I’m sure that not everyone agreed with everything I did or how we did it (thanks for being nice about it, though, friends!), I think I can confidently say that you know that I care about our kids and want just what you want–for your kiddo to feel loved, to belong and to learn something new every day. I love working on a team with families, and am excited each day to see what new things are brought to the table. I hope I do you proud as I continue to work to inspire our learners to find their best selves and work to heights they hadn’t even realized they could reach. I am so lucky to get to work with this AMAZING group of kiddos every day and SO APPRECIATE that you share your 2nd grader with me. 🙂
WOW. I didn’t know that was going to come out of a picture-of-fruit-and-we-missed-you post, but it did and now I’m feeling even more excited and energized for our year together. Here’s to making 2015-16 the best yet!
Will you help me out with something, please? I would love to make this blog a more interactive place this year, and so would you please leave me a reply to this question–What are you most excited about for our year together? What is your child thinking about getting back to work with their Rm. 202 friends? What else are you thinking? 🙂
THANK YOU and HERE WE GO!!