Sunday, May 27, 2012

163 Days Later...

     We're in the home stretch - 163 days down, 18 to go! While I'm feeling the usual mix of bitter and sweet to see another group of kinders go, this year seems to be much more intense.  In my 13 years of teaching kindergarten, this has been my most challenging class by far. (Some might say it's the universe's way to pay me back for last year's class- my BEST ever!) Sometimes you just get a funny mix of kids. Over the course of the year, I've come to see little groups forming.  There's:
  1. The very innocent group of younger boys who still love Thomas the Tank engine,
  2. The rough and tumble bunch who still struggle with keeping their hands to themselves,
  3. The super sensitive girly girls who cry that "She's being mean to me" if someone says "I don't like pink."
  4. The crafty girls who say "I don't like pink" after they find out it will make the others cry - just to make them cry.
  5. The bunch who learns things from their older siblings and are kissing behind the bookshelves and asking how to spell sexy!!
  6. The few stragglers who don't fit into any group but just try not to get involved with the drama. And boy is there drama!
As tough as this kind of group can be, it seems that it's also the kind of group that you get most attached to.  So as we gear up for the end of the year I'm both ready for them to move on and sad to see them go.  Do you feel that way, too?

With so much curriculum to cover, there's just not the time that there used to be to foster the social skills that this group really needs. I try to fit in as much cooperative learning as possible so we can learn to work together, but it often leads to tears, broken pencils and a whole lot of nothing being accomplished.

Until day 163!  To end our Poetry Unit, we celebrated by writing group poems to share with the class.  My hope was that working in groups would foster some teamwork. We focused on the idea that "Poets feel with their hearts" and wrote about shared experiences that gave us strong feelings.  The plan was to brainstorm something that everyone in the group has experienced and then have everyone contribute at least one line to the poem. I was worried about the kids agreeing on a topic, including everyone in the writing process and just being kind to each other.  Well, on day 163, the stars aligned and we did it! Together!

Most of the poems were list poems, like this one:

Going to the Ball Game
Wearing hats
Screaming loudly
Having fun

Some of the work literally brought me to tears it was so inspired, like this one:

Lost My Grown-up
In the store
Can't find Mom
Pumpy heart
Sticky hands
I think I might cry
Really can't find Mom
Where is she, where is she, where is she
Turn the corner

When we read them to the class, the kids clapped wildly for each other.  They gave compliments like, "Jack, I really like the way you put spaces between your words. That makes it really easy to read," and "That happened to me once and you really used your hearts because that is EXACTLY how I felt."

So, today I celebrate my little motley crew.  It might have taken 163 days, but somehow between the tears, the teasing and the broken pencils they've learned to respect each other, work together and cheer each other on.  They have become a team. My team.  And I'm going to miss them like crazy...

Happy Memorial Day - Have a great day off tomorrow!

Update 5/28/12
This year my class was obsessed with Pete the Cat, so to celebrate the end of the school year, I wrote an emergent reader for the kids titled, Pete’s Summer Vacation about all of the things I imagined Pete would do with his days off.  I try to base my math and literacy stations around books we love, so it was pretty neat when the kids asked if our last bunch of stations could be based on this book.  So I went to work and came up with a bunch of math and literacy stations, as well as a cute autograph craftivity.  I think it’s the perfect way for my class to end the year. I'm going to post the 100+ page unit to TPT as well as some freebies here, but I'm looking for 2 or 3 proofreaders before I do that.  If you have some time today and can get back to me this evening with any edits, I'll send you the unit for free in exchange for your help. I know it's a busy day, but if you have the time to help me out, leave your email in a comment.  Thanks!


  1. Awww, as I read that I teared up a little. I have a group like that this year too. Not my toughest group, but also not the sweethearts I had last year. I will be sad to see them go, but happy to see them grow! Great post!
    ☺ Tanya
    First Grade is Fantabulous!

  2. That is such a sweet story!! I think it's the groups with the most varying personalities that are the ones that we get the most attached to. I feel the same way that you do about being ready for them to move on, but having a hard time letting go. I don't think it has really hit me yet that another school year is coming to an end. Thanks for sharing that story with us! :)
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  3. I have some similar groups this year! I have some time tonight to proofread if you are still looking for help.

  4. I have some similar groups this year! I have some time tonight to proofread if you are still looking for help.

  5. I have some similar groups this year! I have some time tonight to proofread if you are still looking for help.

  6. What a great poem! I love it! If you still need people to proofread, let me know!

  7. You students are great authors :) I am on summer break now, if you need a proofreader, let me know!


  8. I was in the same boat this year-it was very humbling to say the least. I am ready to read up on some new strategies this summer and be as prepared as possible for next year. I think we can learn from all experiences, even the ones that give us extra gray hairs! :)


    1. I would love for you to come read about Conscious Discipline. It is the most amazing thing I have ever learned. I am just so excited to share about it with EVERYONE! I am going through it with several of my bloggy friends this summer....and you can follow along even if you don't have the book. =)

      It is all about building your School Family. Your kiddos will learn to be more helpful, kind, and encouraging. PLUS, it basically ends ALL tattling! =)

      Heather's Heart

  9. If you still need someone I would love to help. :)

  10. I would love to help out if you still need someone.

  11. This is such a sweet post. I love when you see those moments when they show that they truly care for each other. =)

    Heather's Heart

  12. I can help proofread if you still need help! Love your blog and all your great ideas! I use a lot of your stuff in my Kindergarten classroom! My email addres is

  13. Yay, I so glad things came Together for you- even if it was on day 163! Such a sweet post. Your descriptions of the kids made me laugh out loud! I am your newest follower. I just hit 100 followers and am going to do a giveaway. Would you want to donate something to give away? I will totally return the favor when you have a giveaway! Just let me know.
    :) Dana

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