Today was my last day doing field work in Mrs. Jones's class at Ash Elementary! It has been an awesome semester helping out there, and I wanted to give the kids something to remember me by, so I made these "Encouragement stones." I got the idea from two different blogs... First Grade Frolics and Create-Share-Inspire. These teachers made alphabet stones for students to manipulate while doing word study activities, and there are some worksheets that go with them. You should check it out!
I adapted the idea by getting a package of motivational stickers with encouraging words on them... you know, the kind teachers stick on worksheets and on kids' hands! I also bought some large "puddles" (the flat glass stones sold at the dollar store), and I had some sparkly Modge-Podge handy. I just stuck the stickers onto a piece of plain paper, cut them all out, put Modge Podge onto the flat side of the stones, and placed the stones on top of the stickers. When they were dry I turned the stones over and Modge Podged the flat side also, so the kids couldn't peel the paper backing off.
Today I gave them to the kids, and said that they were to look at whenever they wanted a little bit of encouragement. I was worried the kids might think they were useless, but the kids all absolutely loved them! The sticker package I had bought had almost enough variety for every kid to have a different sticker, so they were having a lot of fun comparing them. They also were doing things like spinning them on the desks, and they came up with different ways they could use them. Some said they would use their stones as player pieces for games, some said they could turn them into magnets, some said they would add them to their rock collections, etc. I'm definitely going to keep this idea in mind... although it could be a choking hazard for really young kids or some kids with special needs who stick things in their mouths!
I didn't know it, but the kids also had a surprise for me, too! They gave me a little set with a book of quotes about teachers, and some rubber stamps. I promised the kids that I will bring this with me when I get my own classroom, to remember them by!
Plus, they all wrote me very heartfelt letters.
Some quotes from the letters...
"Thank you for teaching me all a bout time. Thank you for teaching me that the hour hand needs to travel with the minute hand. Time is fun but you are more fun than time."
"...One time you asc if we went to Sixflag. I said no. Then you said someone at Sixflag tride to ges her age and she was rog. Thats when we learned about estemat. It is a good ges. If I ges there are 100 cheldren in my class that is not a estemat." (That boy remembered everything about the first lesson plan I taught!)
"...You are veree nise to me you are cole and you help me in your games like the clok game. I had fun wet you."
"I had a really fun time with you playing the clock game where you showd me the clock and we had to tell you what time it was. I wish that you never left. I am prettey shore that our class will never forget you because we all like you."
"You are so much fun to do clockes. One time you play a game with us and you are so nice to me."
"... I think you are one of the best substitute teachers." (I wasn't really a substitute teacher, but thanks!)
"Thank you for teaching us shapes and sizes." (I never taught them about shapes and sizes! The little guy who wrote that had a lot of trouble understanding time. Maybe because he thought I was talking about shapes and sizes?)
"Your storys are great. Estamating yor age was vary fun."
"Thank you for teaching me different things in math. My favorite was the grouge sale."
"The things you have done are amazing." (Wow!)
Kristie, the little girl I've mentioned before who is in special ed because of behavior problems, was absent the day they wrote the letters, but hurried up and made me her own special card just as I was reading the other letters. Here's what she gave me...
Finally, the teacher took a picture with the entire class and me together. I will treasure it forever!
I was so lucky to get placed in this class. Mrs. Jones really pushed me to get out of my comfort zone, and she wasn't afraid of giving me real criticism. In the handful of observation placements I've been in before, I've mostly heard "That was good," but Mrs. Jones gave me really specific things that she thought I needed to work on, as well as things she thought I did well. I hope I can keep in touch with her as I progress through my student teaching experience next semester!
I'm really going to miss those second graders.