end of year reflection · olw · writer's notebook

OLW Check-In: Note

My last day of the 2017-18 school year was last Friday on June 8. We had a nice last day together wrapping up with little celebrations, cleaning out our lockers, final yearbook signings, and an informal classroom award ceremony. Since last Friday I have been finishing all the final paperwork and filing for all my students. I’ve been re-organizing and ended up emptying every cupboard in my classroom. It was a much-needed task, and I was able to re-see every item in the room. This allowed me to make better decisions about placement now that I’ve lived in third-grade for three years. As I cleaned, re-positioned, wiped out containers and sat in what I would call, overwhelmed thought mode, I occasionally took a break to read some little notes from my students.

A while back Kathleen gave some suggestions in a post from our May Blog Series. Her post, Making the Most of May and June, inspired me to start some classroom journals for students to write little notes for classmates and our community. Their little notes definitely perked me up when I started to feel like I never wanted to see another misplaced pattern block or crushed crayon that had somehow found its way behind a shelf. Here are some of my favorite little notes from our community notebooks:

This note comes from our SHOUT OUT notebook. “I give a shout out to Matt and Blake and Brian for helping me with my skit.”
A collection of notes from our MEMORIES notebook.
Each of these notes came from our FAVORITE READ ALOUD notebook.
I must say hearing that my voice was, “on point” made me smile.

These little notes centered me a bit when I needed a reminder to keep going. It was also nice to realize I’d have these little notes to save for next year and could continue the notebooks with a new class. Maybe these little notes would inspire a new crew of eight-year-olds when August arrives. I’m hoping to take more notes, send more notes, and cherish in the task of note-taking through the summer months. Some OLW’s hold more meaning than others. Each word always takes on what it will but claiming a word doesn’t make it meaningful. Living it, however, does. For my birthday, some of my greatest friends got me some little gifts that were gentle reminders of my word, one on purpose and one completely accidental. Still, reminders that my word is noticing me, so I better notice it more and try to recognize the importance it can hold as I reflect, cherish, and note my experiences.

How’s your OLW going this year?


5 thoughts on “OLW Check-In: Note

  1. Thank you for asking Betsy! Forward is my word for this year. It has been a ready referent when I find tasks overwhelming me-reorganizing your room at the end of the year; WOW! or when inertia threatens to stop me in my tracks. I loved this post and have been inspired to use your idea of class journals in my work. I hope you note how your work impacts those of us who read your thoughts. Happy summer!


  2. I love words that can take on different meanings during the year. Your word, Note, came to you in the sweet handwriting of children and your wistful reminiscing about your school year. Have a wonderful summer noting the small things that bring you happiness.


  3. My OLW smacked me in the face when I needed to take two weeks off at the end of April/beginning of May. My word was “presence”. I wanted to focus on being in the moment instead of always thinking about and preparing for what comes next. I’ve always struggled with that, but more so this year.

    When I let my physical, mental, and emotional life spin out of control instead of being more mindful and present, my body kicked back and forced me to stop. Those two weeks were scary as I went through medical tests and consultations to figure out how to move forward. I learned the hard way that my OLW is more than a word; it’s a way to preserve my health and well-being.

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