Winter Break

It’s been a great first week of Winter Break. Not because I’ve gone away and checked items off my “bucket list” nor did I have incredible adventures close to home, but time with my grandkids and daughter doing everyday ordinary kinds of things. We lit Hanukkah candles and they played the dreidel game and Spot It with their “Zaidie” (grandfather). We went to the library and checked out books and videos, to Barnes and Noble and bought books, to the movies to see Annie and to the Grove to ride the trolley and get hot chocolate at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. We went to the park and out to some of our favorite restaurants. It’s been a mellow visit and we get to celebrate New Year’s Eve together before they fly back home Thursday evening. They go back to school on January 5th, just like I do. I wonder what they will say about their “Winter Break” when asked by friends or in the classroom at “meeting” or “turn and talk” time? Will they listen wide eyed at their peers’ “awesome” trips and incredible gifts with a little wishfulness at what might have been? Will they hear that some of their friends stayed home and did “nothing?” What will they share? Having family time with my grandkids is so terribly important to me. I am building memories for them, memories of spending time with their grandparents and for right now, under these circumstances, memories of time with their Zaidie. They read together, eat together and play games together. And I take pictures! I wonder if my kinders are able to spend time with their grandparents? I am so deeply touched when I see visiting grandparents (and those that live in town) come to our classroom. I watch with pride as they are shown around the room by their grandchildren, my kinders. There is a Hebrew saying, “L’dor Vador” from generation to generation and that’s the essence of holiday/family time for me. Sharing traditions from generation to generation. As I write this post I know I will look for those “teachable moments” the first week back at school where I can steer the conversation to family time away from the hoopla, the glitz, the glamor but to the people and connections. My kinders will have many opportunities to talk about their trips, their gifts because the holidays lead up to that and I would never discount what is amazing and important to them. But mindful of the children who have mellow “Winter Breaks” the conversation needs to make room for them as well.
Which leads me to wonder how you approach the return to school after Winter Break, not “covering curriculum” or “getting back to the swing of things”, but giving your students time for their voice?

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This entry was posted in #relationships, #play, Uncategorized, winter break and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Winter Break

  1. Melva Herman says:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, the most important part of the holidays is the family time and the memory making. We’ve had almost a week with my brother, at my parents’ home, along with one of our daughters and two grandsons. We spent time with our other kids and grandkids before coming here, and will spend time with them when we return home. I will be sure to follow your lead and give my students time to talk, write, draw, share in any way they wish, the memories they have made over the holiday.

    • faige says:

      Thank you for taking the time to comment Melva. I lost my dad when I was 10 years old and am thankful for my family who shared their memories of him with me as I was growing up. What can be more important than allowing our students time to reflect. Happy New Year my friend.

  2. Melva Herman says:

    Happy new year to you too, I am so glad that we are friends.

  3. You have articulated so very well a question I ask myself every year the first day back after Winter Break! So many of my students travel to exotic places far and wide and want to share all that they did. Yet some students don’t go away and I don’t want their experiences to be overshadowed by those that ‘swam with the dolphins’ or ‘saw Mickey Mouse at the Magic Kingdom’ or even just went swimming at grandma’s for 2 weeks somewhere warm (it is very cold where I teach). Every year I use myself as an example and talk about the fun things I did with my own 3 sons over Break while we stayed in town. That usually helps somewhat. Yet, this year for the first time in 20 years my family took a vacation with our 3 grown sons to a warm exotic place in Mexico. I too would like to share all of the wonderful experiences I had (seeing Chichen Itza) for the first time, but don’t want to make any of my students feel like their experiences were ‘small’ in comparison.

    • faige says:

      It always comes down to the juggling act: balance. Need to see how the first few days go and follow students desire to share: the great stuff and the everyday stuff. Our job IMHO is to listen and give those who want the time and space.

  4. Agreed – even in the “hoopla, glitz and glamour” places – it is the people and connections that stay in your heart.

    • faige says:

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. Yes it’s about building relationships that’s the backbone for all of us in whatever role we have in life.

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