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It was pitch black, bitterly cold, windy and bleak when I reluctantly set out for school on Monday. Winter Break was now a thing of the past, and all I could think about was how much I already missed it. I felt more in tune with my sixth graders as I was driving (who were, no doubt, just as reluctantly getting ready for school at that very moment), than the mature, seasoned educator that I was supposed to be.
The classroom looked just as it did when I’d shut the lights off and locked the door on December 23rd., down to the whiteboard still covered with holiday messages. I guess our custodian didn’t have the heart to erase all those wishes for “happy holidays and an awesome break!” that stretched from one end to the other. Reluctantly, I cleaned off the board and began getting ready for my kids.
Marcy was the first one in. She didn’t bound in as she usually does…she shuffled in. Instead of her usual, peppy greetings, she sighed and muttered, “I’m sad.” No further explanations were necessary. Soon, she was followed by the rest of my morning class – each one just as dejected and tired as the next.
“Back to regular stuff,” one student said.
“Yeah,” another sighed, “regular stuff.”
It was going to be a rough Monday.
After our morning announcements, I took one look around the room and knew I had to do something. Clearly, a mini lesson on types of feature articles was going to fall flat as the proverbial pancake. Looking around the room, I had a feeling that I knew exactly what was on each kiddo’s mind: winter break memories, winter break fun.
So, all of us, including me, pulled out our writer’s notebooks and got to work writing them down, capturing them before the little bits we wanted to hang on to the most had wafted away just like the snowflakes outside our window, melting into forgetful oblivion. The room was silent as we scribbled away. I glanced up briefly and spied my kids smiling to themselves as they wrote. Even Marcy. She looked up and caught my glance, and then broke into a wide grin.
“Happy?” I asked.
“Yeah, I’m happy!” she said, “so much good stuff happened over break!”
Sometimes, you just have to write about all that good stuff before you can get on with the regular stuff. So, we did.