Goodbyes, Last day of school

June Goodbyes

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The school year is almost over and there are a lot of feelings around that for me.  Saying farewell to students and staff always creates a well of emotions in my heart.

There is a special bond created in my classroom between my students and I.  It’s hard to say goodbye to them at the end of June knowing that I will not see many of them again.

This year we also have retirements at our school.  Teachers and teacher’s aides are moving on which also brings a wave of sadness, but on the other hand, excitement too as they move on to a new chapter of their lives.

A final difficult goodbye is saying goodbye to my principal who is also my good friend.  She has been such a professional and persoanl support for me over the past 6 years.  It will be hard not seeing her at the school every day and popping in her office to laugh and chat at the end of the day.

A school is like a family and since losing both of my parents, goodbyes are not easy for me.  I expect the tears every last day of school and this year will be no different.  I’ll make sure to bring lots of kleenex!

sunsets

Why Sunsets Are So Special

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Sunsets.  Colourful bands of light mesmerizing us with striking beauty.  If only we could slow down and truly enjoy the ending of a day gazing at the setting sun until it disappears beyond the horizon.   I can easily do that on vacation, but at home, when life is hectic, it is really difficult to just stop in awe and take it all in.  I live in a small farming community in British Columbia, Canada.  We have some of the most beautiful sunsets!  (Two of which are featured on this post.)

Thankfully, I have a new connection to sunsets.  My Mom passed away almost 2 1/2 years ago now.  One of her favourite things in nature was a sunset.  When the rays of light streamed through the clouds she would always say, “It’s like the coming of the Lord.”  To which we all smiled and giggled.  But to her, it was meaningful.

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Today when I see a sunset, my heart is immediately warmed and I feel a loving connection to my Mom.  Ever since she left this earth, I appreciate and am grateful for each and every sunset.  My heart string that is connected to hers gets an unwavering and enormous tug.  I love you, Mom.

Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.”

Daily Prompts

Daily Prompt: Laughter – how it can heal

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Laughter is the best medicine so they say…  however I truly believe it is.  Coming from two difficult years, I can honestly say that laughter is healing.  I lost both of my parents six months apart from each other.  My Mom passed away of terminal cancer in December of 2015 and my Dad in June of 2016 from a sudden heart attack in his sleep.  Through all the tears and sorrow, I somehow found laughter again.  It wasn’t easy, but it came and thankfully it was in the form of memories and reminiscing.

My Mom always used big, unusual words.  Words you would find in crossword puzzles.  She would say words like, “That path is well trodden” or “Henceforth”.  We shared many trips together where we would laugh and laugh…sometimes through heartfelt mocking, but all in all, through just living in the moment and enjoying every minute.  I feel blessed that my kids had the opportunity to go on some special adventures together with my Mom and I.

My Dad on the other hand just had a great sense of humour.  He was always positive and making funny comments or telling humourous stories from the past.  We enjoyed many family times where his smile and laughter made everyone feel lighter.

I can still hear my parents laughter and that is such a special gift.  I am grateful to have such happy memories and be able to laugh with my own family saying, “Remember when…”.  The tears still flow, not as often as they did, but they still do as I continue through this grief journey.  At times however, there is smiling through my tears.  Feeling is healing and what a great way to heal through laughter.

 

Daily Prompts

Daily Prompt: The Many Meanings of “Bubble”

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When I think of the word “bubble” all I think of is what a great word it is.  BUBBLE.  You can just see it glisten in the sun and then, POP!  But there are many different kinds of bubbles.

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Firstly, there is a personal bubble.  “Can you please back up?!  You’re in my personal bubble.”  This is a space where you can feel calm and relaxed or extremely uncomfortable.  A hug from a family member or friend does not infringe on your personal bubble, but a stranger stepping into your space can be distressing.  Some people are better at respecting personal bubbles than others.  We need to protect our personal bubbles and voice it when we feel our bubble is going to burst!

Secondly, there is the always entertaining activity of blowing a bubble with bubble gum.  Blowing a bubble with a wad of that luscious, pink, sticky candy is satisfying.  It brings back those childhood memories chewing Hubba Bubba and having a biggest bubble blowing contest with your best friends.  The bubble grows and grows until it is stretched to its limits.  Then it pops all over your face and everyone laughs and laughs.  What a joyful experience!

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Finally, there is the gratifying action of blowing bubbles with a bubble wand.  Again, a favourite childhood activity that cheers a person up and leads to feelings of  happiness.  I brought a bubble wand into my classroom, ran around the room releasing bubbles with reckless abandon and instantly all of my students were squealing with delight.  Bubbles are a fantastic emotional outlet.  Whether blowing the bubbles or popping them mid-air, they are simple spheres that lead to endless fun.  Dogs love them too!

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Have a beautiful, bubble-blowing kind of day!

 

 

 

The little things

Finding beauty in the little things

Life is busy.  We rush around thinking about what’s next on our to do list, what we’re going to make for dinner or who we have to email/text a reply to.  This past week, I noticed two things that made me stop and appreciate the little things.  As I pulled in my driveway one day after work, I noticed a beautiful daffodil glowing in the warmth of the sun.  It wasn’t nestled comfortably in a garden surrounded by other annuals revealing their colours and joy.  This pretty pop of Spring was in a ditch across the street from my house.  My eyes were immediately drawn to this pale yellow object and as I approached it, it’s simple beauty spoke to me.  A single daffodil growing independently in a spot no one would expect.  I was grateful for that daffodil.  It’s unexpected presence made me smile and brightened my spirit.

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The next day, again as I drove into my driveway after work, I got out of my vehicle and my eyes were drawn to a busy bumblebee gathering pollen from a dandelion flower.  I grabbed my phone to take a picture as it busily went about it’s work.  I was encouraged by this natural, little phenomenon.  It reminded me for the second time that week to pause and enjoy the little things around me that might be overlooked because im so busy buzzing around like a bumblebee tending to daily life.

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So what I’ve been reminded of through all of this is to slow down and be observant of the little things around me.  You never know what you might be missing!

gratitude

Gratitude in your Classroom

Gratitude is an important concept for kids to learn.  Being grateful for things that don’t cost money or aren’t material possessions can be quite difficult for students to grasp.  This is the second year I have done gratitude journals in my classroom.  They are proving to be so valuable.  I can see how my students have grown and become more aware of all the little things that they can be grateful for.  We have these great mini-binders from Staples that we use as our journals.  The bonus is that you can reuse them every year.  I just send the personal pages from each binder home at the end of each year with each of my students.  Here is what the binder looks like…

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Here are a few examples of what they have written…

 

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Their gratitude has become deeper than simply “I’m grateful for my family” or “I’m grateful for school” (even though those are awesome things to be grateful for).

This year I also added a weekly, whole class gratitude.  We reflect on the week and decide what we were most grateful for.  Once we agree on something, a student writes it on a piece of paper and puts it in the “gratitude box”.

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At the end of the year, it will be fun to read all the weekly gratitudes together and enjoy all the positives that the past year included.

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Parents appreciate the fact that their children are being mindful of all the things they can be grateful for.  It is an activity we do at least 3 times a week and my hope is that the happiness and positivity that come out of writing in these journals will encourage my students to continue having a heart of gratitude through the years.

I personally write in gratitude journal at home every day.  I know it helps ground me and focus on the good…even on those tough, tiring days we all sometimes experience.  Gratitude changes everything!

Earth Week

Earth Week

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This week was Earth Week at school!  We had so much fun being kind to our planet!  My class was involved in many activities that demonstrated responibilty and being mindful of how they treat the planet we all live on.  To start off, I had my students create PowerPoint presentations about how to take care of the Earth.  They presented these to the class a week later.  It gave them the opportunity to be creative and come up with ways they can help the environment (ie. turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, turning the lights off when leaving a room, composting, etc.).  Another activity we enjoyed was planting conifer tree plugs in a small forested area on our school property.  The next day, we simulated the life cycle of salmon (like a giant tag game of predator and prey) all around our field and playground areas.  Then, there was the “un-nature trail”.  Students had to look for things (which I hid ahead of time) that they shouldn’t find while walking on a nature trail (ie. a glue stick, a stapler, a container of Play-doh).  They loved this game!  Finally, we ended the week with a community clean up.  A true sense of pride and ownership comes from being involved in activities that help save our planet!  I hope all of my students will continue to be passionate about caring for our Earth!