I have to say that i love this time of year. I know that it gets crazy in the schools with all of the students on sugar and all excited for Christmas to come, but i love it anyway.
This last week at my school my fifth graders have been off the wall. Everyday it was a battle to try and get them to quiet down and do their work. They did pretty well on Monday and Tuesday, but by Wednesday i was just ready to let them play. So, i did. On Wednesday night we had Deck the Halls. My school puts it on every year. What happens is every grade makes some sort of art project and decorated the hallways with it. Then each grade also learns two Christmas songs. At Deck the halls all of the parents come to the school to watch their kids preform their songs and to walk the halls of art. My students were so excited to sing to there parents and to make their art work. So all we did on Wednesday was practice the songs and paint nutcrackers. It was a great day.
On Thursday we had a lesson on caring, Dance with our second grade buddies, sign language, and our class party of Holiday's around the world. I have to say that the dance part of the day was my favorite. I was the one who got to teach the lesson and was very excited to do so. And let me tell you, it is highly entertaining to teach 60 kids dance and movement at one time. In the end it was worth it thought.
First I had them warm up and get comfortable with moving around. The second graders weren't scared at all and just joined in. It took the fifth graders a little bit of time, but they eventually got into it. After the warm up we talked about using words to make movements. I had them show me movements for words such as sway and twist. Then I moved to night, Christmas, creature, and Santa. From there I had them gather on the floor and read them Twas The Night Before Christmas. From there we made up a dance to the first page of the book. then i split them up into six different groups. Each group received a part of the story and it was their job to come up with a dance to go with it. After they had all come up with their own part we ran through the story in order with each group dancing their part. Then we added the beginning that we had made all together and also created and ending. All of this was a little bit crazy and chaotic. But then we did the whole dance to music and it was amazing. When the music started the students all got in their beginning poses and where ready to start. Then they each did their part. The cool thing was that you could tell what the story was about. It was really neat to watch the story come to life and to see the students engaged in it. Even if you as the teacher are afraid of dance, i would try this with your students. They could amaze you with they can do.
Then on Friday we did absolutely nothing school oriented at all. In the morning we had an earthquake drill, then we finished reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, next we had the school sing along. After that we made and decorated 3D Christmas trees until lunch. After lunch we learned the hula and danced around the room.
The greatest part of the week though was finding out how loved i was by the students. Even though they were off the wall and annoying this week, it was also the week that made me love them the most. It amazed how much they cared about me and others in the school. I had some students decided on their own that they wanted to help some others out with Christmas. They choose to do the twelve days of Christmas for a student who needed it. They each collected the money on their own, bought the gifts and delivered them to the student at school each day. I had other students who brought gifts for everyone else in the class because they didn't want one person to be left out.
And then those cute little kids even brought me gifts. And even though i loved receiving the gifts, i have to say that i Loved the letters they wrote to me even more. Even though they were smudged with chocolate, wrinkled and filled with sloppy writing and misspelled words, it was their little "thank you", "your are the best", and "i love you" comments that made my day. Those notes and the students are what teaching is all about. And even though you spend hours more then you are paid for, and run around all the time thinking about your students and wondering if they are going to pass the tests that they need to, or if they are going to ever learn what you are trying to teach them, and no matter how many recesses you spend working out behavior problems with them, in the end it is all worth it because you know that you make a difference. And more then that you know that you are loved and that you can help them succeed. That is what makes teaching worth it.