These are some of the fiction books I took out of student book boxes while cleaning up the room this year. . . along with many copies of Dogman.
I didn’t know packing up the room would be difficult. Then, I went into my “time warp” classroom. The calendar still said March. The lessons and materials were ready to go for the week of March 16, 2020 – which turned out to be the first week of the “stay at home order”. I emptied student desks and put everything into grocery bags with the student’s name on the front. I packed up all of the unfinished work, crayons, pencils, and markers. In each bag, I put all of the little treasures that were in each desk – special hand-drawn figures that had been cut out and colored, bookmarks, little notes that were written from a friend.
The most difficult thing was emptying all of their book boxes. Each student has a book box for books they are reading, hope to read, or just like the looks of. They bring the box over to their seat for silent reading or move it next to a friend for partner reading. I put the school library books in one pile, the public library books in another pile, and the classroom library books sorted into fiction and nonfiction to be put away.
There was big excitement when my class discovered my copies of “Super Happy Party Bears” by Marcie Colleen. The books are autographed by the author because I went to a reading and bought one of each copy! She personalized each one. The kids talked about these books, shared them, and tried to figure out who gets which one next. Obviously, many students are reading at home. Our online reading lessons are good. But . . . it’s not the same.
I pulled out all of the bookmarks, sticky notes, and whatever else they used as a bookmark. Books that never got finished. That’s how I feel about our school year. It’s a strange feeling. I want to go back and finish the read aloud I was reading to the whole class. Do our end of the year activities. Finish with a great community-building picture book. So, the school year is ending. But it doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like THE END as it usually does. This school year feels like the middle of a book where the bookmark gets yanked out.