As a teacher, I find myself making New Year resolutions at the start of the new school year. January is just the time to pause and reevaluate the steps to meeting my resolution.
This school year's resolution was meant to minimize the everyday stress of paperwork, lesson planning and implementation, and keeping up with the "time lines" all while meeting students' needs. Basically, my resolution was to NOT sweat the small stuff.
This resolution was totally forgotten the last week before break. THE SMALL STUFF WAS ALL THAT MATTERED!
Before continuing I do need to say that we were one of the only counties in Florida to have school on December 20, 21, and 22.
Here is what the plan was for these three days:
Monday - Winter Celebration (with parents invited)
Tuesday - Annual Polar Express Day
Wednesday - Roll with it day (aka...entertain hyped up, sugar-filled kids day)
I was aware this plan sounded way too simple. It was anything but...
We invited all the parents of second graders (6 classes worth!) to come to school for a Winter Celebration. We talked about different winter holidays and sang songs, recited poems and showed some examples of holiday symbols. This went surprisingly well, considering the fact that we had to organize around 100 seven and eight year olds. Even the surprise delivery of over 100 red balloons was bearable.
After the celebration, the parents came back to the room to have some treats. More fun came with the opening of gifts from the Women's Club. They were sweet enough to give my class goody bags. With snow globes. Of course, in the middle of all the chaos and having twice the number of people in our small little portable, I hear an "uh oh!". A snow globe had fallen off of a desk and broke. Thankfully, a wonderful mom grabbed some paper towels and took care of it before I even knew what happened.
As the parents left (and some took their kids home!!!) I thought to myself: The hard part is over!
I scrambled to finish our gifts of handprint calendars. The back table of my room had been taken over by this project for about three weeks and I was ready for it to be done.
I know I had left myself little wiggle room in finishing these 12 months of painted handprints. I didn't think that I would be rushing to finish up calendars for students who were absent on important days. Don't even get me started on the ones that checked-out early this day or the ones who decided to miss the whole week and start their vacations early. (Grrr...)
To the relief of one little darling that had asked EVERY day ("Is it Polar Express Day yet?"), it had finally come. The PTA hosts our annual Polar Express Day and we love it. We all know this means we get to wear pajamas to school, lie on the floor and watch the movie, and drink hot chocolate.
We had read the story and made quilt squares earlier in the month so were very excited for Polar Express Day to come.
We give students little Polar Express tickets like this:
We waited (quite patiently) for the Conductor to come around and punch a hole in it. Pretend I have a picture of the Conductor...she was adorable.
I passed out bells on strings to everyone.
One little darling rushed up to me with a stricken look on his face.
Him: Ms. Buckler! My bell doesn't work! I KNOW I believe in Santa so it can't be me!!!
Me: Really? Let me hear!....(no sound)...I can hear it! Are you sure you can't?
Him: Oh no!!!!!
Me: Calm down! I'm just kidding! There's no ringer inside. Here have another! Have two! I'm sorry! Of course you believe in Santa!
Yes, I felt horrible.
We got rid of the broken bell so no one else would be traumatized.
I then decided to pass out leftover treats from the day before. However, my slippers were a little too slippery and this happened:
I reminded myself....DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF... as I begrudgingly finished up the last of the handprint calendars.
We finished the day by making some Snowman Soup and drinking hot chocolate.
This turned out to be the best day. We played games, danced to Christmas songs, and did another project.
We made thumbprint cards of Santa and his reindeer for our parents.
I remembered DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF when one darling's Rudolf ran out of room and had to fly up the paper. We turned it into a masterpiece. My favorite one yet.
I went home on Wednesday at 3:15 to catch up on my holiday to-do list at home. Overall, these three days were fun, but I don't mind if the district decides to change the calendar next year.
I just wish we had found some time to clean up and rearrange the classroom, because I know there will be lots of SMALL STUFF waiting for me to take care of on planning day.
I hope everyone had a great holiday! I'll be rested and ready to keep working on those resolutions.