One Hundred

Yesterday was the last day of school.
I can't believe it- the year's over.
Four full, adventurous years of teaching come and gone.
My first 100 students.

It hit me on my way home~
I have laughed with, cried with, learned from and taught one hundred kids who will 
take on the world one day.
And oh, how they have enriched my life.

Yesterday was surreal. 
Because not only did I say goodbye to my own students, but to my first students ever,who graduated from 6th grade and are moving onto middle school
The students who taught me how to teach~
Who made me fall in love with my career.
I'll really miss them.

And then there are my amazing students from this year.
17 boys (and we're talking boys' boys) and 8 girls, who kept me on my toes in the very best way.
Hilarious, inquisitive balls of energy who soaked up everything I said, all day long.
And how we laughed, and questioned, and talked.
They want to be scientists and doctors and basketball players and teachers.
And they will be.

This last week was crazy. 
We packed in the Economics Fair, the Egg Drop Contest, the Ancient Greek Olympics, our End of the Year Party, our End of the Year Showcase (the parents loved the skit and the scrapbooks!), an awards presentation, 2 assemblies, and of course, some dance parties. 

I was also dragged on stage to participate in a Tae Kwon Do demonstration, and broke a block of wood with my fist in front of the whole school. 
Then I kissed my bicep. ha.

Yesterday at the last minute I had each of my students write a letter for me to give my new students next year. I told them to write a few encouraging words, what to expect, what gets on my nerves, etc.

A few favorites:
Dear Student,
       Miss Robinson is the most fun teacher ever and sometimes she brings in her dog or gives us ice cream. You'll never want to leave her.

Dear New Student,
      Have a nice year with Miss Robinson. You are the most lucky student in the world! I hope you have fun with her. You are going to go on a field trip to the Capitol. You will also have lots of parties and you will be so happy with this awesome teacher.

Dear Miss Robinson's Student,
      If you're in Miss Robinson's class you will have a blast with her because she is awesome plus you get to make gingerbread houses near Christmas. These are some projects you might do when you're in Miss Robinson's class: Greek Gods and Goddesses Day, Egg Drop contest and more. You will LOVE her.

Dear 3rd Grade Students,
     Miss Robinson is the best teacher you'll ever have, so don't be nervous! You'll do lots of fun projects. You'll have the best year ever.

Dear Miss R. Students,
      You'll have the best year of your life.

(That one doesn't mince words :))

Teaching is a labor of love.
And countless reasons draw me back for more.
Including yesterday, when I looked at my 25 students on their last day of 3rd grade, tears rolling down faces and eyes shining brightly, and felt in my heart the impact I have made on their lives.
It was one heck of a year.

So to you, 3rd graders of 2011:

Congratulations! Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets.  Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener there
in the 
wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don't worry.  Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.


You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!

Happy Sweet Summertime to my OES family and all of our fellow teachers!
(and thanks to Sarah for inspiring me to reread Oh the Places You'll Go. I just love it. And you.)

Happy Heart Day!

It's Valentines Day and Cupid is smiling down on us here in the DC area!
It's 60 degrees and sunny, and you better believe I'm going for a walk just as soon as I spread a little love!
This year, for our 3rd grade community service project, we teamed with a Naval hospital in our area to provide holiday decorations (and other things) to the wounded soldiers there. 
My students were in charge of making Valentines for them, and I'm so proud of the effort they put into it.
When my teammate delivered the goodies, (also in tow- bags of doggy treats for the soldiers' pets!) she told us that the nurses were so very appreciative.
This made my students feel awesome.

Today was full of valentines, cupcakes, hugs, and hearts, and my students left my classroom stuffed and happy.
They also walked around with their heads held high.
I mean- they made a contribution to our soldiers and received 15 pounds of chocolate from their friends!
What's not to love?

I'm off to pretend it's springtime for a few short hours!
Have a wonderful end to your Heart Day!

My Morning Contract

Every morning at 9 a.m. I greet each of my students by name.
It's my way of saying I've shown up-
that I'm present and notice them, and that they each belong here
And every morning at 9 a.m., I expect their greeting in return.
It's the contract we enter into: 
Both parties will be held accountable for making 
today the best.

But sometimes, by the end of the day, 
I feel totally exhausted.
Books have been read and equations solved,
and the contract is far from my mind.

Well, today I was reminded of its importance;
today it's sitting right inside my heart.
Today I remember everything it stands for, because something so cool happened just after dismissal.

People were staying after for talent show rehearsal, and 6 of my former students came down to my classroom to say hello.
Now, this wouldn't be abnormal, except that it was 
2 students from every year that I have taught thus far:
2 fourth graders, 2 fifth graders, 2 sixth graders.
It was incredible.
They sat with me and talked about all of the fun we had together.
About all of the projects they still remember and all of the laughter that we shared.
They asked each other "did you do this?" and "did she show you that?"
They compared stories about their year with me and said their year was "the best".
They told me everything they miss about the 3rd grade.
 the reasons for my contract.
It truly was food for my soul
At the end of this school year the first group of students I ever taught will head off to middle school.
The group of students I cried in front of on the last day of school.
The students I wanted to keep forever.
It is hard to believe that 75 more children have entered into my morning contract since then.

I keep a horoscope of mine that I ripped out of the paper, tucked in the pocket of my school bag:

The stars show you as very imaginative now.
Help out the uninspired.
The low-mindedness of those with nothing to do is a downward spiral.
Create objects.

Well, there you have it.
It was in the stars.

Schooooool's Out For SUMMAHHH!!

 270 Days
1,080 Lesson Plans
4,050 Emails
7,020 Morning Greetings
810 Meetings
14,040 Hugs
26 Future Leaders

 1 Last Day of Third Grade

Well, at 11:30 am this morning my SUMMER officially began! It hasn't yet hit me that the school year is really over. I mean, tomorrow is Friday and I don't have to set my alarm. What?!

So as I predicted, the end of the year did not come without tears. In attempting to write thank you cards to my students last night, I cried like a baby for an hour straight. Then, when I woke up this morning, all it took was Chris asking me if I was excited about the day for me to start blubbering again. I managed to get through the actual goodbyes with my students without completely falling apart, but I think it was only because my eyes couldn't make replacement tears quickly enough. 

I tried to make the last 2 weeks of school for my students as fun as humanly possible. I packed our agenda so full I could hardly keep all of the dates straight on my calendar. Here are some of the memories I captured from this past week (minus any of their sweet faces of course!).
Here I am with Zeus @ my class' Ancient Greek Olympics! 

One of the ancient civilizations I taught my students about this year was Ancient Greece, and one of the facts they are expected to remember is that the Ancient Greeks started the Olympic games. What better way for them to remember this than for them to compete in their very own Olympics? The week before the games I assigned team colors to each group and they each tie dyed a t-shirt to wear as a jersey throughout the games. Of course that also meant that I tie dyed a t-shirt using all of the colors, because I was the referee. I then conned my brother into dressing up as Zeus and leading the games with me. He literally walked around the entire time in 90 degree weather in a toga and it was hilarious. My students LOVED his outfit, and of course all of the games, and afterwards I even presented each of them with a "medal" while the Olympic theme song played in the back ground.
While one brother was dressed as Zeus, my other brother SURPRISED me by stopping by to meet my students! He brought one of his bulldogs, Big, and my students went crazy over both of them. They had been asking to meet the "other Mr. Robinson brother" all year and finally their wish came true!
I called the last 7 days of school the "7 Days of Favorites". We brainstormed then voted on 7 "favorite things", one for each of the last 7 days of the school year. This is from favorite outfit day. Of course some of the boys wore head to toe sport gear :).
Another favorite day was favorite book day. I had each of them bring in a pillow and blanket too, and the surprise was that I let them build a huge fort to read under. This is a picture I took with my phone of part of the fort. Believe it or not, 26 silent readers are underneath reading their favorite books!
They also chose to have favorite stuffed animal day, and here is who I brought in:). Curly's on the left, Bun Bun's on the right. My mom brought home Curly after visiting my brother at camp when I was 7 years old, and she bought Bun Bun the day she found out that she was having a girl (me). 
Here I am playing in the Teachers vs. 6th Graders Basketball and Volleyball games. All of my students signed the back of my t-shirt to give me good luck:).
After our assembly this morning I put shaving cream all over their desks so they could play around before we officially cleaned them. They had the best time making a mess and writing messages to me.

Last but certainly not least, I have to show you a present that one of my students gave to me. It might just be the sweetest, most thoughtful gift I have ever received. I don't know if you can tell, but the letters are formed out of legos! He loves legos and talked to me about them every day throughout the year. He wanted to make sure I knew that he made it all by himself :).

After the desks were clean and the yearbooks were signed, I ended our last day the only way that felt appropriate with this group: with a dance party. The playlist consisted of our favorites- the Cha Cha Slide, the Cupid Shuffle, Who Let the Dogs Out, the Macarena, and YMCA. I looked around the room at 26 happy faces boogying their little hearts out, and felt content. I know in my heart that I gave them the very best year that I could have, and that this year is one that they will always remember. Here's to you, 3rd graders of 2010- I'll miss you a whole lot. 

Time Stands Still with Lots of gLuE!

Well, I am one day away from the end of the school year! I will greet my students tomorrow morning and spend 2 more hours with them before they officially turn into 4th graders (and I start crying). I have a lot to tell you about all of the great things we've done this past week, but I will save that for tomorrow when the school year is really over. For now I just want to tell you about the gifts I made for my students!

Yesterday my students had their end of the year showcase. My brother and I wrote a really funny play that they performed for their parents, and then their parents stayed for a big class breakfast. Before I invited everyone to fill a plate, I presented each one of my students with a personalized scrap book full of their published writings, and also of pictures I have taken of each one of them this year. Making each book was a daunting task, but the looks on their faces as they sat with their parents and looked through the books were priceless.

Here is the file box where I kept all of their published writing throughout the year. In my class, "published" means the writing has been drafted, edited, revised, typed, and mounted on colored paper. The hundreds and hundreds of pictures that I ordered arrived last week and I filed each picture in the student folder where it belonged. 
The next step was to cut down all of the writings and place them in the scrapbooks with the pictures. Here is what the floor looked like as I worked on one of the scrap books.

Like everything I do, I made this a family affair :).  Once I got everything placed just so in each book,  my family broke out the glue sticks. They were faithful gluers for literally hours on end, 3 days (and nights) in a row. 
Here is the giant stack of finished scrap books! 26 in all, each complete with a letter from me on the inside cover!  
And as usual, my loyal sidekick sat beside for all of the sorting, cutting, organizing and gluing:).

As I passed out the scrap books yesterday I got a little choked up (and no it wasn't because I was finally finished making them). I was overwhelmed by the idea of the school year being over because my students are some of the greatest kids I have ever had the honor of teaching. So I made these books because I know that 20 years from now they'll still have them, and that when they look through them time will stand still. I know that they'll smile at all of our crazy adventures, and that is what made this all worth it. 

Their First Welcome!

I always try to have something fun and bright outside my classroom door to my students want to come inside on the first day of school. 2 years ago I had a jungle theme in my classroom and I made this outside my classroom!

Creative Walls

Here is our Ancient Civilization Timeline. I help them create this so they can visualize the time period of
each civilization. We build it as we study the civilizations, moving forward from Ancient Egypt.

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