Thursday, June 6, 2013

Last Week of School

After a dreaded stomach bug chose to strike the last week of school (right after I mentioned how ya never know when you'll get one!), end of the year shenanigans, having to leave a day earlier than planned to fly back home, begging a security guard to let me on the last possible bus that would get me to the airport in time, almost missing my flight to Tokyo, not getting on my flight to Detroit, being rerouted to San Francisco and adding an extra layover in Atlanta, I finally made it home! Did you get all that? In short, it was a hectic week. I had to quickly finish cleaning my classroom and packing my suitcases right after school ended last Friday, so I did not have a chance to blog about our last week of school. It was nothing short of crazy! I tried to keep things as normal as possible as far as routines, which didn't work out so well when I was unable to make it to school on Tuesday! When I was there, we finished up our Sunshine and Shadows Unit in Science by writing some facts we learned about the sun. I used April Larremore's The Sun and Stars Packet for some ideas to help with this unit.

We also painted Here I Come! poems, thanks to Little Miss Kindergarten. Unfortunately our choice of paint is limited, so the paint we used covered the writing a bit more than I would have liked, but I still think they came out okay. And let's be real, Kinders love to paint anything!

On Wednesday we had a Teacher In-Service day where the teachers could use the time to tie up any lose ends before the end of the school year, clean our rooms, hand over portfolios to the next grade level and tell the teachers about their incoming class. I already know my future class very well because the Pre Kindergarten and Kindergarten class collaborate often throughout the school year. We also had a Transition Day on the Friday before the end of the year where the students moved up to their next grade level for about 20-30 minutes to see their new classroom and learn about what to expect the following year. I used my time with the Pre K class to have their very first Morning Meeting! We did a quick greeting, sang the song Bear Hunt, shared our favorite animal (this was not my plan for sharing time, but they kept pointing out the different animals they saw on my alphabet and on my carpet, so I thought it was more fitting for their interests), and read a morning message. I used the extra time after our meeting to read the story Look Out Kindergarten, Here I come! It is such a cute story and it got the kids even more excited about moving up to Kinder!

Thursday and Friday of the last week were half days for different assemblies. Thursday is a Sports Assembly that highlights the winners of the big sporting events throughout the year (such as cross country and field day) and to honor the different sports teams. The biggest announcement of the assembly is the winner of the House Cup. The entire school is divided into three Houses and all year the Houses compete against each other in different events to win points  (think Harry Potter). At the end of the year, the House with the most points wins a big trophy. And bragging rights of course. I will talk more about Houses in another post.

Friday is our big Moving Up Day celebration and class parties. Moving Up Day is the time for all of the students in Grades Pre K- Grade 5 to receive certificates of completion and subject awards. Also, one student from each class is awarded a medal and certificate for being the most improved student in their class. We also sing the Moving Up Day song. Each class has their own verse in which we change the words a bit to fit our class from the year. The words tell a little bit about us and what we did during the year, and then say that we are "going out" of our class and are "safe now" in the next grade level. We sing a song as a whole Lower School as well. Both last year and this year we sang songs by Bruno Mars... He is widely popular in the Philippines. :)

After the awards assembly, we had our class parties. I started our parties with some of of Reagan Tunstall's Minute to Win it games. Most of the kids loved the games, but I had a few kiddos who were suddenly self conscious and did not want to participate because they thought the games were "too hard." Eventually their friends convinced them that the games were fun and they decided to give them a try.

Once we were finished it was time to eat! Most parties at my school are potlucks and the parents bring in mounds of spaghetti, fried chicken, pizza, and a variety of Korean food. Since our party was at 11 am and honestly, I wanted to do something a bit different, I requested we had brunch instead. I planned the party with my Homeroom Mom to make sure she agreed this would be accepted by both the Filipino and Korean families. She reassured me that they would be okay with it and eat anything so I went forth with the brunch idea. Normally the parents sign up to bring whatever they want, but this time I made the list of brunch items I wanted them to bring in and asked the parents to sign up for one of those foods. We had some difficulties with the sign up process, but in the end, most parents ended up bringing in something from the list. I still had one bring in cupcakes and one bring in hotdogs with marshmallows (it's a very popular Filipino snack) and wouldn't you know, every single kid went straight for the cupcakes and hotdogs and totally skipped the brunch foods! I was also hoping that this style party would lend itself to healthier food options, but all of the brunch food that were provided were from McDonald's, and although I had two spots to sign up to bring fruit, we ended up with only one tray of fruit and then a big box of doughnuts (that were not on the list). I tried. I really did! Oh well... Here's to next year!

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