As I was thinking, I remembered something that one of my second graders said to me. It was a quieter working time in the classroom. The boy looked at me and said, "Mr. Wiley, do you remember when we made necklaces? Mrs. Wiley was here. We made cookies, too." He was talking about things that we did in our Christmas party. Now it was April or so. We talked a few minutes about what we did that day. He returned to work and I continued around the room to monitor and help.
But I thought about that then. And I continue to think about that now. It was a fun memory for him. (For me, too.) Not a lot of cost or effort. But a fun memory. I remember how he would wear his straw and yarn necklace occasionally to school. In January. In March.
I think back to my own elementary school days (long, long ago). I remember the birthday card waiting on my desk in first grade. I remember making a ceramic leaf and a ceramic rabbit in third grade. (I still have that rabbit somewhere....) I remember learning about Japan in fourth grade and seeing actual items from that country; I especially remember the fishing net with the glass floats.
So often I think we get caught up in "school." In the instruction and learning and things that must be done. But I'm reminded that one day kids will be adults looking back on their elementary years. They will remember fun times and simple things. They may remember unpleasant experiences, too. But mostly those kind happy things will shine.
Are we planning for those times? Do we allow fun and simple experiences to be a part of our classroom? Do we laugh at the silly things and revel in the fun of stringing straws on yarn? What memories are we building in kids' lives?