That time has come…the time for my final lesson of the year in my classes. My 3rd grade homerooms are pretty tight knit and family like, with many students feeling sadness and anxiety about leaving their homerooms for the great unknown of 4th grade. Enter: The Invisible String and a web of warm fuzzies.
I kicked off the lesson with a quick snowball fight, asking the students to list something they remembered learning from me/something I taught them for each round. It’s a fun way to gather a little bit of data about “what stuck” with them. I also find activities like this to be enlightening because I get to see myself and my teaching through their eyes. For example, I’m not sure if I ever used the word “patience” in my lessons this year with them, but two of them wrote that I taught them patience. I was also really surprised by how many recalled the conflict escalator lesson – the visual seems to have been really meaningful for them.
In some rooms, I used the carousel activity instead, posting reflection questions around the room for them to respond to. Many of the students wrote about remembering and enjoying our lessons about Kelso’s Choices and being an upstander – hurray! Note one kiddo’s hope to go to “high school” – they’re still working on their appropriate use of quotation marks!
Then came time for The Invisible String! If you don’t own this book yet, get it. It’s so great for any type of missing someone. After reading, we briefly talk about how it connects to the end of the year – getting scared about something, missing people, and feeling connected to important people no matter what. Then we take turns passing a skein of yarn across the circle, saying kind words to one another. It starts with one student holding the end, picking a classmate across from them, and picking one of these (projected) sentence stems to finish for them. My super amazing co-counselor is the genius behind this activity!
The yarn gets passed to the next person, looped around their finger, and continues until everyone has had a turn and it goes back to the first person again. If the teacher isn’t already sitting with us, I suggest a student pass it to him/her. We continue until the last person passes it to the first person. After we’re done, we take a moment and marvel in the web of connection that we’ve created, and then I offer to cut the string so that each student can keep a piece for themselves. It is ‘cheesy’ but in the best way possible and truly brings out both positive feelings about the school year as well as some closure.