Monday, May 30, 2016

The Countdown Is On...Or Is It?

The time has come when many kids and teachers around the country are counting down to summer vacation.  The countdowns were on throughout my building before we finished up last week.  A couple years ago, I stopped counting down. Why you ask?  This post was inspired by the child who informed me the day before the last day he "is NOT going to first grade."  It was a very matter-of-fact statement that he meant.

Reason 1:
It is really upsetting to some students to know that our year is coming to an end.  Summer brings the unexpected for many of them.  The majority aren't looking forward to vacations or special activities as these aren't typical for my students.  They won't be around their friends and the summer brings many unknowns.

Reason 2:
I've found that some students do not like the lack of routine that comes with summer break.  When they come to school, they know where 2 meals a day will come from and they know, generally, what our day will look like.  This, for many of them, is missing in the summer.

Reason 3:
One word: Behavior.  Since I stopped counting down, I have seen less severe behaviors at the end of the year.  Yes, I do have "spring fever" in my room, but there is less of the acting out and just kids who are ready to enjoy some of the great outdoors; nothing a little recess or GoNoodle can't fix!

Reason 4:
I like the routine and structure of the school year!  Don't get me wrong, I like the flexibility of summer, but I enjoy a "purpose" that comes with the school year.  My summer routine includes things I can't do during the school year like an early morning walk around my neighborhood.

In the process of packing up for the summer- there is still work to be done when this was taken!

Reason 5:
I find it stressful to know how much I need to do at the end of the year without that number looming over me!  I always have a general idea, but I don't really need countdown.

Yes, there are always students (and staff) who count down and let others know how many days are left.  I tell the kids to let me know when tomorrow is the last day!  I keep things as normal as I possibly can until the last day as this is comforting for many.

These are the summer sights on my morning walks since by break began late last week:

If you are finishing up, may your days be a "normal" as possible.  If you are finished, I hope you are enjoying your summer!

Do you do a countdown with your kiddos?