It's the most...wonderful time......
If last night was like Christmas eve, today was Christmas, New Years and my birthday all wrapped up into one. After days of getting their rooms ready and making everything perfect, this morning the teachers decided they weren't done. In both schools they took chalk to walk and wrote greetings to the children. As parents gathered outside (this still freaks me out... in my district a lot of parents come and do kind of a paparazzi thing on the first day as kids get off of the bus), I loaded my bubble makers and all of a sudden the big yellow buses were pulling into the drive. We were all giddy. It was like the kiddos had been away at a very long camp and were finally coming home.
Because we do so much with our incoming kindergarteners, we rarely have tears anymore (parents not included) but the eyes are wide and searching as they take those big steps down from the bus. It's a tradition that there are lots of distracting bubbles blowing floating all over the place to greet them. Not only is it super cool (because bubbles, amIright?) but nerves seem to float away on the breeze with them. After getting one school unloaded and in the door I drove to the other to say hello to the more veteran kiddos. I've had the kids at the intermediate school for 3-5 years, so I realllllly miss these guys over the summer. Despite my plea at the end of last year, they grew anyway. Braces appear and disappear, make-up begins to appear, and glowing up begins. But on the first day of school they are always my little ones as they come in for a catch up hug.
Back to the other school to check in on each classroom. I hope they never figure this out (I'm sure they figure it out) but in every room I feign irritation with the teacher. "Wait a minute..." [look around room taking stock] "I can't believe this happened again. I put all of the best kids in one room! What are the other teachers supposed to do, I gave you all the best ones/you took all the best kids! I'm telling you it's not going to happen again, you can't just teach the best kids." They seriously love hearing this and the teachers graciously play along. The fun fact is that it's absolutely true. I do have the best kids. In every room.
This beginning has felt amazing. We will be working at flipping learning in it's head. Remaking it. Rethinking it. Creating modern learning environments, safe and caring classrooms, giving students voice and choice with meaningful, rigorous learning... we will use badges, institute Genius Hour, create memories, and grow like crazy. I told the teachers to go very light on "content" for the first few days in favor of creating relationships, routines and procedures WITH their kids. Communities will be built to the solving of meaningful problems within our communities.
We're just getting started and the possibilities are endless. Welcome new year. And welcome home everyone.