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March… the last full month of the school year, when every week stretches ahead as a school week. There are no breaks or long weekends in March! Somehow, when I tear off February and look at the month of March on the calendar above my desk, my heart does a flip and and a dive. The. Last. Full. Month.
On Monday afternoon, I closed February the way I have for the last thirteen years – I moved furniture in my classroom. My sixth graders have grown in more ways than just reading and writing and thinking, they are now taller, looser limbed and kind of gangly (well, at least the boys are!). Towards the end of every February, it seems, we run out of classroom space. Suddenly we are crashing into each other, smooshing by teenier spaces between desks, and having to scrunch up at every step and turn. So…time to move furniture, make more space here, put things in storage there. February’s last task is becoming inventive with space.
As I move a book cases and reorient desks, chairs, and all the other stuff of classroom life, I find traces of the first days of school: a box of brand new pencils proudly labeled for sixth grade use, name tags with beautiful show-offy penmanship, that summer reading packet which vanished before it had a chance to be shared, the fifth grade photographs which hung on our “Welcome to 6th. Grade” bulletin board, the books I had given up hope of ever reshelving again. The traces of how we began our year, when everything was brand new and just ahead.
Now we are friends, a community of learners, a collection of distinct personalities. Sixth grade is no longer a mystery, and we have settled in.
Before I turn off our classroom lights, I try to imagine my kids in their “new” space. They will have opinions and suggestions, as they always do. They will probably test the limits of the “extra” elbow and leg room, as they always do. And then we will settle down to learn, as we always do.
Welcome, March, be good to us…we have so much to do!