Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Slice of Life - Goodbye, Sixth Graders

I love participating in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers and writing a story, reflection, or musing at least once a week.


Poster can be found at Etsy, here.

     As many of you know, I began a new phase in my career in 2012 when I came to Kings Local Schools as the 4th grade reading gifted intervention specialist.  Kings has three elementary schools, K-4, so I traveled to each school every day to teach reading classes.  Even though the daily travel was not ideal, I knew I had found my dream job.  

     When I got my gifted endorsement in 2008, I had dreamed of being a gifted teacher.  I was able to teach gifted clusters in the regular classroom, but my former district had cut their pull-out program, so there was no way to do what I really wanted to do.  I was so fortunate that the Kings position came open and that I was hired.  I could not have been happier to meet my students that fall.  It was so fun to get to know each one.  We did some very unique things that year.  I was able to incorporate technology, so we made Animoto book trailers and enjoyed Skype visits from Kate Messner, Tanya Lee Stone, and Laurel Snyder.  We went to the Cincinnati Zoo for a parent/student book club over The One and Only Ivan.  We loved read alouds like Wonder, Capture the Flag, and Bigger Than a Bread Box, and read countless picture books for a Mock Caldecott unit.  I organized a Mock Newbery Club, also, and we met over the summers at my local library.  

     Miraculously, an opportunity came open at the intermediate building in my district the following year.  That meant I would teach gifted language arts (expanded from just reading) to 5th and 6th graders as their teacher of record.  It would also mean no more daily traveling, and I would get to follow my 4th graders!  I snapped it up (after an interview and offer).  It was overwhelming at first since I had to teach both grade levels and all the language arts.  I increased my number of students to 105, which was also daunting.  However, after working countless hours last year, I have my program much more organized and manageable.  I also got to teach the same original kids for three years in a row.

     Now, the year is coming to a close, and my sixth graders will be leaving for the junior high.  As my fellow teachers know, some years are more emotional at the end than others.  This one trumps them all.  I really can't imagine saying goodbye to these kids on the last day.  I've read many last Kidblog Slice of Life posts by my 6th graders expressing the same thing from their perspectives.  They've had the same language arts teacher for three years!  I'm sure some are looking forward to moving on to a new ELA teacher. ;-)  However, for many of us, it's going to be sad.  I'm going to be excited for them, though, and plan on following their junior high and high school journeys as much as I can.  I hope they are prepared for all the reading and writing that will be required of them, but more importantly, I hope they will continue to love learning and be kind, generous, and excellent in all they do.  I'll be rooting for their successes and will always remember this very special class of 2021.

     A little trip down memory lane...

4th Grade - 2012-2013

5th Grade (with some picture of that year's 6th graders) 2013-2014

6th grade (with some of this year's 5th graders) 2014-2015


  1. This ending is going to be emotional and memorable indeed, tears and laughter mixed up. I hope that eventually you will remember the joy.

  2. A goodbye that will be forever etched in your heart, Holly - three years with one group. That's a gift!

  3. Oh, so many teachers Slicing about saying goodbye. It's going to be hard for you. I hope, no I know, you will stay in contact with these kids. I'm sure you've changed their lives in countless ways.

  4. This age group is always difficult to wave good-bye to anyway! They form such close attachments. The GREAT thing is....THEY COME BACK! They are the age group that come back when they have a day off, to come and see you! And that is so special! Wait for it....it will happen!