Today was our last day of school! It was bittersweet. I absolutely loved my class this year. They were one of those classes who just genuinely CARED about one another. During our closing circle today, one of my little sweeties started to cry. I watched in awe as one little girl put her arm around him. Another little boy got up without being asked and retrieved a tissue for his little friend from the back counter. I sat back, taking in that very simple but very powerful scene. These were classmates who generally did not gravitate towards each other on the playground or outside of school. But in our classroom – they were a family. They had learned the true meaning of what it meant to “take care of each other.”
🙂 Another favorite moment of today was our “I feel…” writing activity. On the very first day of school, my students complete an “I feel…” writing activity. You can use regular writing paper, or you can grab my template, which is included in my Back to School First Week Fun pack in my TpT Store. Here are some examples from our “I feel…” writing activity this year – the first day of school!
I save these writing pieces and tuck them away in a safe spot. I don’t tell the students what I’ using it for. I just tell them that I can’t wait to take them home and read them. 🙂 Then, today, on the last day, I gave each child a regular piece of writing paper. I told them to write about how they were feeling in that moment. We all started with the same prompt, “I feel…”
As they wrote, I passed back their papers from the first day of school, face down on their desks. On the count of the 3, we all flipped our papers over. There is always a lot of laughter and squeals as they compare their writing from Day 1 with their writing on the last day. I often hear, “I can’t even READ what I wrote!” or “Look how BIG my writing was!” and “Oh no, this is horrible!” But it is all said with a big smile on their face, as they look over the piece of writing they just completed (quickly – and, let’s be honest, it’s the last day of school…and not their best work haha!) They can instantly see the improvement in their writing and it’s a moment when they all realize, “I worked hard and it paid off!”
It’s one of my favorite moments of the school year. 🙂 So many of my little sweethearts have come SO far in their writing abilities, especially the samples from above. They were two of my most struggling writers on Day 1, and looking at these before and after pictures makes my heart SO happy! 🙂
Thanks for letting me share our little celebrations from today. 🙂 Maybe you will be able to find a few minutes to squeeze this simple little “assessment” in next fall for back to school! Have a wonderful Friday!
What a great idea, Christina! I really like the idea of using the same prompt for the first and last day. I always put together a portfolio of each child's writing from the year, and it is hilarious to hear them talk as they read through it. They always exclaim over their early writing and last year one little girl even squealed, "It's so EMBARRASSING!!!!". It is so powerful to show them on paper how they've grown as writers (and readers and thinkers) through the year!
Have a happy summer vacation~ I hope to get to meet you in Vegas this year! 🙂
First Grade Bangs
Oh my goodness! What an amazing idea. I definitely want to do this next year. Thank you for sharing!