Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Last Days of School

Well friends, the school year has come to an end and summer has arrived! 

(How adorable is this mural they drew on our last recess?! A true work of art!)

It is always such a bittersweet time of the year. I am always sad to see my kiddos go, but excited for what summer brings. I am also excited to begin preparing for next year! (After all, that IS what we do all summer!)

I had a wonderful bunch this year and I was so sad to see them leave. They taught me so very much about who I am as a teacher. I love that I am always learning with them. 

In the last few weeks of school, I am always trying to think of ways to keep them busy while still having valuable and engaging learning experiences. It is quite hard to achieve during the last few days! I decided to go to a old tried and true favorite; growing seeds!

So often we grown seeds in baggies with paper towels taped to our windows. I wanted to make something a little more portable that they could observe and document in their journal every day. I asked each of the students to bring in a small container (one that could fit in their hand) to place their seeds in. This would create a "mini greenhouse". I began by cutting sponges into thirds. 

I then put two different types of seeds in a pie tin, tomatoes and beans. I then had them tweeze their seeds into their container. 

 It was interesting because we all hypothesized that the beans would sprout more quickly because of this large size. However, the tomatoes surprised us! Even with this microscopic size they sprouted within three to four days! It was amazing. 

I allowed the kids to be the sole caretakers of these seeds. Through trial and error they found that they sprouted best when throughly watered and placed in direct sunlight. I love seeing them make discoveries! They had them placed all over the room and as the seeds by the windows began to sprout, all of the students moved their seeds to the window. 

They were so very interested about what specific care their seeds needed. I posted the packages on our mini whiteboard so they could see what the package recommended. 

It was really wonderful to be able to have them pull out their journals during that last week and log their discoveries. I felt like we were learning a lot even during the crazy days of the end of the school year. 

I also ended the year with a popular Pinterest Pin for the end of the year. I placed the balloons on my board. Inside each of the balloons was a fun, exciting, and different thing that made that day special. Mine were things like: You make chew gum today, you may choose your seat, you will enjoy extra recess today, you will read outside today....etc. 

The last day said "You will enjoy a special treat today!" On the last day of school, all of my kiddos received a pair of sunglasses with this adorable phrase tied to it that I found blog-hunting!

These were a huge hit with them and they looked ADORABLE on the last day as they ran out of my room as fourth and fifth graders wearing them. 

It teared me up to see them leave on the last day, but I know they are off to do great things. Each and everyone of them!

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