Monday, June 22, 2015

Farewell Kindergarten & Father's Day 2015

Last week my 6th Kindergarten class graduated and my first class (who were 2nd graders at the time) graduated 8th grade.  I can't believe at the end of this week I will have finished 7 years of teaching.  Saying goodbye to this year's Kindergarten class was super bittersweet.  I always get a bit teary-eyed saying goodbye to my students each June, but this year was especially tough. I had my biggest class ever with 28 kids and this was the second time out of 6 years where I had no grade level partner because the Kindergarten enrollment wasn't enough to split into two classes.  Fortunately, I had the most amazing teacher's aide who was always there to help me.  I couldn't have done it without her, especially once I was pregnant. This year's group was challenging at times because managing the sheer number alone was daunting at times.  However, I am so proud of how much they accomplished.  We used a new reading bench-marking system and every one of my students hit the minimum June level they were supposed to reach or scored higher.  Additionally, we spent about two months working on "The Kindergarten Sight Word Challenge".  Our goal was for all 28 students to have memorized all 86 of their sight words (words that can't be read by sounding out, they require pure memorization).  I promised the kids if we reached our goal we would have a big ice-cream party.  While we didn't quite get every child to learn every single word, we had 22 kids who learned them all and the other 6 came incredibly close.  The main thing was every child showed improvement and we all worked together to reach our goal.  The children would quiz each other, I would test them each time we went in the hallway, and even the lunch parents would take the flashcards and randomly ask the kids.  It was a really fun two months and I was amazed at how far they progressed.  Last, I really wanted the kids to become fairly fluent with their addition and subtraction facts.  I would give them 10 problems each morning, 5 addition and 5 subtraction as their morning work. In Kindergarten, they really only need to know their facts up to 10, but we tried for them to get up to 20.  In the beginning some of the children would cry tears of frustration, but with practice and hard work they made so much progress. Most of the kids gained a lot of fluency with their facts and many could add and subtract in their heads without relying on counters.  I really hope this class does well next year because our efforts in reading and math should have them very ready for first grade.

My entire school community was very generous when they found out I was pregnant.  My co-workers threw me an amazing surprise baby shower!  And I really was surprised.  I never expected it to be the day they made it and each person made such an effort to make me feel special.  Additionally, the parents of my students threw me a huge surprise shower in place of an end of the year party for the kids.  They decorated the basement of our gym, had diaper centerpieces, bibs for the kids to decorate, tons of pizza, chocolate lollipop favors, and more!  The generosity of these families or mine and Tom's appreciation can not be really put into words.  We were blessed with over $800 in gift cards, not to mention a ton of presents!  I filled three huge tubs with baby items.  What a wonderful start my school gave us for our future arrival!

After approximately 175 school days, it was time for my kindergarten to graduate.  We practiced our script for over a month and each child was given an individual part and there were some group parts that they all said together.  The script goes through the alphabet and the kids share everything they have learned over the course of the year.  After all of the practices, the real day the students did the best they had ever done!  The program went so smoothly and I couldn't have been more proud of them.  Before we processed off the stage I went up to the microphone to give my sincere thanks. Through tears of joy and sadness I attempted to sincerely thank the families and express my love for them and the kids.  The song we exited to said "Farewell, farewell, farewell, farewell, farewell Kindergarten, we must leave you now.  The place that we first met, new friends and pals...."

I am thrilled that I will be home with my baby girl all next school year.  But there is a part of me that can't believe this journey has ended.  When I return to school the following year, I am not guaranteed to return to Kindergarten.  I am ok with that though, I am sure I will enjoy any grade.  But I will never forget how special of a school year Kindergarten is.  Watching kids grow from "babies" to little boys and girls who are ready for the world.  Seeing kids who may not have ever gone to school before or maybe only know a handful of letters be able to read is the most amazing and rewarding experience.  Not to mention the daily hugs....
_________________________________________________________________________________This past weekend we celebrated Father's Day.  On Friday night, Tom and I made our annual trip to the Mattituck Strawberry Festival.  We really enjoy this every year!  We sampled strawberry daiquiris, chocolate covered strawberries, a pretzel and a funnel cake (did I mention we like the food at the festival?)  We also walked around the craft vendors, rides, and games.  We bought a strawberry hair bow for our little girl to wear when we bring her with us next year! I also bought some fresh strawberries and made homemade strawberry shortcake which we enjoyed the next day.  

On Saturday, we went to the beach with Tom's family.  Even though it rained a little, we enjoyed bringing Tom's truck and my father in laws truck right on to the sand and having your own little piece of the beach at Shinnecock is like your own peaceful haven.  We had so much fun watching my nephews run around and I can't believe they even went in the cold water!  On Sunday, I gave Tom a few gifts from the baby and I.  I gave him stuff to clean his truck and tires (we are headed to Carlisle, PA this weekend for Tom's favorite car show GM Nationals) and I gave him a tool belt since he has been doing so many house projects.  We met up with Tom's dad and sister for a quick Father's day breakfast.  Then, we met up with my dad and brother for a delicious Chinese food lunch.  After, we went back to my dad's house to play a few board games that we enjoyed as a family when I was growing up.  We gave my dad his first grandpa hat from the baby.  Last, at night we took Tom's dad for a nice dinner.  We saw the most beautiful rainbow in the sky on the ride home.  Overall, I am so lucky to have my dad, my father-in-law, and the dad to be, my husband.

Our beautiful farm table and stools that Tom restored (he has one more stool to go but you can see what it looked like before)

Indy enjoying his new bed


  1. You are truly one of the sweetest people I have EVER met! Having my children learn under you was a gift that I will treasure forever! I am so thrilled that you will be able to spend your daughter's first year home with her - you will enjoy every second of it!! To watch them learn and grow each day is an amazing adventure and knowing the person that you are, you will truly enjoy each and every moment. I wish you and Tom the best and know that you will be amazing parents!! From the moment they place her in your arms, you will be in love immediately and I know that you will blossom into a wonderful mother!! God Bless you all!!

    Maureen Saliba & our "clan"

  2. Love this Jamie!! I am really so sad I didn't get to go to the graduation this year!!! The table came out great!! Tell Tom to be on the look out for a round table to restore for me!! LOL I'll miss you next year!! :)

  3. Thank you Mrs. Saliba and Katie! I'm honored to have you both as blog readers! Xoxoxo