Year 23 starts with kids on Tuesday. Last year was super hard. This year looks to be as hard or harder for various reasons. The difference, in my mind, is that I think it’ll be hard for everyone. Teachers, students, families, and all school personal.
Last week I had listening conferences with almost all of my students’ families. It was an absolute gift. I got insight into my students’ interests, strengths, activities, and needs. Sometimes the student was there too, but not always. And families were overwhelmingly supportive. There are clearly concerns about how this year will go and whether or not their child will get what they need, but they could not have been more supportive of me.
Yesterday I created goody bags for each student. I included a bookmark (because I had some left over from sending them to last year’s kiddos in June), crayons (I’d ordered these when I still expected to be in person and they’re fun shapes so I thought kids would like to have a set to use), window markers (I’d read something about these being great for learning from home and I found them for super cheap), little containers of bubbles (just for fun), a cute pen, and some books.
Once our public libraries opened again in the spring, I contacted some of the ‘Friends of’ various branches near me to see if I could buy some books. I knew they wouldn’t be hosting any book sales for a while but I hoped they could find boxes or bags of kids books and I was willing to buy them without going through them. Instead, two different volunteers responded and pulled a collection of books for me to peruse. Between the two branches I ended up with a great collection of books (168 when I made my 13 year old count them). After listening conferences and a reading survey I posted on our google classroom (a few kids filled it out) I picked five books for each kid. I wrote each one a note explaining why I picked those books for them.
I included a note for the parents with a magnet for their fridge that has a picture of me (I’ve never included that before but it seemed like a good idea given that they’ll only see me virtually) and my contact information.
We (I dragged my kids with me) dropped off bags at 17 houses (one house has twins so two bags went there). I was able to talk to someone at almost all of the houses. It is amazing how meaningful it is to see someone in person. Again, such a gift.