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?