On the second to last day of school this year I decided to read to my students. It was the last day that I saw all of them and I wanted to leave them with some words of wisdom. I decided to read two books to them.
"Oh, the Places You'll Go!" by Dr Seuss
"The Big Orange Splot" by Daniel Pinkwater
This is just a classic in general-- I paused for the deeper parts of the book and afterwards we talked about High School. I took them through the phases of high school.
Freshman Year: You will spend with most of your friends from middle school and you will meet new people from the other middle schools at your high school.
Sophomore Year: This is the year people become more solidified in their activities and driver's license cause them to become more independent as well. This is the year people begin to make decisions about what they will be doing on the weekends.
Junior Year: This is the year that everyone is really into their sports and become more entrenched in their activities.
Senior Year: The Unity Year. Everyone begins to feel nostalgic and everyone hangs out with everyone again because everyone is ready to get out of high school.
I tell them that it is important to enjoy the ride because it all goes by too quickly! Get involved! Find your passion!
This book is my favorite that I read to my students.
Basically the story goes like this:
Mr. Plumbean gets a big orange splot on the top of his house. He ends up overhauling the house and redecorating it. When the people on his street see it they kind of freak out because they live on a "neat street". They send a neighbor over to talk to Mr. Plumbean and Mr. Plumbean tells the neighbor "My house is me and I am it. My house is where I like to be and it looks like all my dreams". They spend the night talking about their hopes and childhood dreams and the next day the neighbors house looks like a ship because he had always loved to sail. Pretty soon the entire street ends up changing their homes and they become known for being a "unique" street.
I tell my students that the point is: uniqueness sends. When you are yourself-- you encourage others to be themselves as well. You should never seek to be a person that others try to impress. You should strive to be a person that makes other people feel like they can be themselves around.
I then tell them that was something I strive for in my classroom. I explain to them my classroom philosophy. The year comes full circle and they recognize the "method to my madness". I will forever cherish the conversations I had with my students on this last day and I hope they do as well :-)