Thursday, June 16, 2016

It is the Beginning. . . Not the End

The day has finally arrived where I sit down and type my final blog of the year. I want to thank you all for taking time out of your busy schedule to keep up with all of my emails, notes, blogs, comments, and FYI's. Parent communication and a bridge to home is what made our classroom community so strong and lasting. I know in the beginning, for many of you, it is a transition to get used to your inbox being filled with Ms. Freedman notes. However, your inbox will now be quieter.  It has been a pleasure to share daily information and insights into your child's educational experience in the fourth grade. It has been an honor teaching your agent, so thank you for letting your greatest gift spend 180 days with me. I hope your child had an enriching and positive experience in the fifth grade. They are heading off to 6th grade with all the tools they need to be successful. I look forward to hearing about all the successful adventures your agent goes on through his or her career as a student here in Mansfield and beyond. A final thank you for making fifth grade simply unforgettable. I will always treasure this experience.

The curtain is coming down. The inboxes go dark.

Have a wonderful summer!

Monday, June 13, 2016

2,879 tabs open

As we get closer to the end of our journey in fifth grade I began to reflect on our year. I happened to come across the photo above that made me laugh because it is exactly how I feel. Even today, with two and a half days left I still feel this way. We have to complete our bridges and Revolution Musical. Students have worked so hard on their STEAM lessons this year. Their inventions that arrived are so impressive! Some should patent them. It is amazing what their inventive minds created! I cannot wait to share the finished product with you all! The skills students gained during these activities will resonate with them long after they leave me. They worked in collaborative teams, discovered design process thinking, and presented work to an authentic audience. Our students should be so PROUD of their work as these learning experiences will certainly help others! I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for giving me their best self each and ever day. I could not have had all those tabs open without them!

As I get ready to close those tabs we will be packing down our classroom, celebrating our success, and giving our final presentations of the year. Please reflect on the student who walked into our room in September. I promised you all it would be a completely different kid by the time he or she walked out. I hope you all agree that is the case. Our students have grown so much this year and I was thrilled to be part of that!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Hutch; A Creativity Magazine for Kids and Big Kids

For the past five years my students have been published artists and authors thanks to Peter Reynolds and the Blue Bunny’s Hutch magazine. Every year students are given two assignments for the magazine based on the theme. Prior to this June I sent the assignment home for students to work on. They had a month to create something that spoke to the theme. Examples of themes were family, what can you make, and act of kindness. I had students write poems, stories, paragraphs, captions for pictures while others drew, built structures, took photographs, or made videos (they submitted their script and YouTube link). Some are asked to go on special assignment for the magazine, reviewing movies and books. Others interview authors.  Students wait patiently for an email from the magazine’s editor, Nancy Marsh. A sprinkling of students is in the last ten issues. I could not be more proud of my students for submitting an assignment to be considered for publication. Hutch magazine provides an authentic learning experience for students to share their work with an international audience. As a teacher it gives me an opportunity to provide a learning experience for students to create, take risks, and push limits with their innovative thinking. There are no boundaries when it comes to creativity.

This June I decided to have students work on their final submission in class. The theme is The Great Outdoors. Watching students sit around the classroom with various tools writing and drawing was astounding. I listened to their quiet conversations and saw students offer ideas to each other. The creative collaboration happening in the room was electric. Students work was impressive, and I realized students work better in a creative and collaborative community than at home in isolation. I look forward to seeing some of the students who are working so hard now receive an email from Nancy in the fall. I hope some of you consider submitting your child’s work (or your own) to be considered for publication in Hutch. It opens doors for students, inspires them to think big, and affords them opportunities to think in new ways. Their smiles say it all! 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Our Voyage to Our Daily Bread

Today our students made their voyage to the pantry. We learned about the history of the pantry and how the pantry operates. One of the most rewarding aspects of today was seeing how well the students worked together to accomplish something. You all would have been proud to see them volunteer to make their community a better place. When we returned to school I asked the students to share their thoughts on their experience. Their words were so empowering I felt compelled to share them with you.

“Today at the food pantry was so much fun. I loved that there was so much to do because half the time people are always crowding around me and I never end up doing things when I am there on a Thursday. I would love to do it again.”

“I enjoyed this project a lot. Since I got to go to the food pantry I felt like I really helped the community.”

“It made me feel great. I got to help people who are less fortunate. I loved giving back to the community. You should do this every year so you can give other kids this experience.”

“It felt great to know that we helped our community. It was fun and a great experience.”

“I really liked this field trip because I am helping other people. I think you should do this again because other kids will want to help others like this.”

“I felt really happy to help all of the people at the food pantry. I hope you do this again next year so other kids can experience the same feelings.”

“I felt good about helping the pantry. I could do this every day.”

“What was rewarding today was that we made an assembly line and we did work really fast. This felt really fun and I love that I helped out.”

“Knowing that I helped a lot of people is rewarding. Helping was fun. I liked organizing everything.”

“I liked how we helped out the food pantry so much.”

“I felt good about myself because I was helping people.”

“When I found out about the volunteering at the food pantry I was excited to be able to help others.”

“I think it was really nice to do this trip and it was very fun. It was nice to do it because we are helping families who need food. It was really fun because we got to stock shelves and afterward we got to have lunch and recess at the common.”
“I think that it was fun and It made me feel good that I was helping people. We did an assembly line as we put paper bags in plastic bags. This made the work go by fast and we were done in no time. It was really fun.”

“I felt very accomplished today. I know I helped buy some of the food and health care stuff is just amazing. When some one stocks a shelf that person has just helped a family out. It was fun to help the food pantry today.”

“I was kind of nervous at first because I didn’t know what we were going to do. I think it was a really cool trip. I love how we got to participate, unlike some other field trips I have been on.”

“I felt really happy knowing it was helping the people in need. It was enjoyable sorting things and putting them into shelves.”

“I felt really good afterward because I knew I had helped people. I felt better than usual because we did so much more than we’ve ever done. The first time I went to the food pantry. I didn’t know what to do but now I feel comfortable there.”

“I know that I help others to feed people in need of food. I have learned that the food pantry can be very fun.”

“I liked how we were helping the town.”

“The field trip made me feel happy because it was fun putting all the food away and playing in the common.”

“I really liked it.  I think we should have stayed longer, but I liked it. I thought it was really fun.”

“Today’s field trip was amazing! I love when we opened bags, putting food on the shelves. Also I liked that people will get food and not starve to death.”