Last Day of Third Grade: Appreciation for an Awesome Teacher

When I picked Quinn up from school, she and her classmates were all crying as they came to the realization that their time with their teacher, Mrs. Smith, was ending 🥺. I’m going to miss her too and am appreciative of how awesome, caring and generous she was. These last few years have been overwhelming, to say the least, but she made Quinn’s third grade experience a memorable, wonderful one for which I’m grateful.

All the best,

Tanya

I Can’t “State” It Enough! I Represent My Daughter!

Today, my daughter along with 57 third graders did presentations on the United States of America. About a month ago, each student selected a state to investigate and find out facts to share for this special day. Quinn excitedly told me, “I picked Michigan because Daddy went to University of Michigan!”

Though she worked on the project independently in school, my husband and I occasionally asked her random questions about Michigan to make sure she was prepared. We discussed ideas for her outfit, she helped locate images for me to iron on her shirt. Her dad let her borrow his University of Michigan hat and “Michiganopoly” game.

We both proudly came wearing our navy blue and gold to support Quinn, and she did not disappoint. I noticed that quite a few parents stopped by to hear her presentation as I circulated around the room to hear about other states from different children. I’m so proud of Quinn and so glad my husband and I were able to be there for her.

All the best,

Tanya

Spotting My Daughter’s Smile in a Crowd Makes me Happy

I love that my daughter’s school uses Class Dojo to share events and classroom memories. But last week’s memory was extra special. For the first time in two years, I spotted Quinn’s smiling face immediately. She didn’t blend in with the sea of children wearing masks where I had to zoom in to find her. I immediately spotted her in the middle of the third grade crowd holding with a peace sign in the air with a huge smile on her face.

Most recently, her school made the difficult decision to make masks optional. Since Quinn is vaccinated, my husband and I allowed her to determine if she wanted to keep wearing a mask. She opted not to but said she wants to carry one with her just in case.

Though I blurred out the faces of the other children for privacy purposes, they all looked so happy, and it practically brought tears of joy to my eyes to see all of their smiles. Is the tide officially turning? I hope so! These children are so resilient and been through so much. They deserve to have some fun without constantly worrying about all that came with the pandemic. We all do! Here’s to seeing everyone smile big in the weeks and months to come! 😁

All the best,

Tanya

Never Too Young to Learn the Art of (Penny)War Through Supporting, Sacrificing and Strategizing

The talk of war, especially with the current and tragic events of What’s going on with Russia and Ukraine, is all around us, and at my daughter’s school is no exception. Luckily, their “war” is all in fun and for a good cause to raise money for the classes and school through the PTO event of “Penny Wars.” When Quinn was in kindergarten, I helped as a volunteer of the PTO and collected buckets and helped kindergarten classes decorate theirs. Unfortunately, this annual tradition did not happen when Quinn was in first or second grade due to the COVID restrictions, so she and I both were excited to see it being advertised on Class Dojo.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that my eight year old went to her own bank container of coins to gather pennies to support her class rather than asking her father or me if we had pennies. Once the status came out in the middle of the week, and she found out her class was in the lead out of all of the third grade classrooms, she was ready to do whatever it took to maintain that lead.

The wheels were turning, and she began strategizing, so this time around, she was collecting quarters, dimes, nickels and even dollars to increase the gap between her class and the others. She told me her classmates planned on doing the same. As I saw all of the dollars in her ziplock bag, I informed her that she didn’t have to contribute all of her own money and that I could see if I had some coins too, but she still insisted on using her own money even with the contribution from her father and me. She informed me that she really wanted to give it in not just to help her class win the pizza party but because the money will go to the school and help when she graduates from fourth grade.

Even if Quinn’s class doesn’t win the pizza party for her grade level, I celebrate her willingness to support her class, to make sacrifices by contributing her own personal savings and even taking the time strategize to help her class win.

All the best,

Tanya

This School Year is Adding Up to a Fun Time Learning! Four Months Down & Six To Go!

My daughter’s teacher posted a picture of her on Class Dojo earning a certificate of achievement award for successfully completing the division section in the XtraMath program her third grade classroom uses. Quinn was so excited because this means she completed all of the sections, including addition, subtraction and multiplication.

I was very proud of her too, but seeing the picture and her smiling eyes made me appreciate this school year even more. Last year around this time, Quinn was still learning virtually and had not been in the classroom since March 2020. Though she must wear her mask and there are more Covid cases on the rise lately with the Omicron variant causing the number of students physically in the classroom to dwindle, the more direct interaction she gets with her teacher and classmates is all adding up to a different yet wonderful school year.

Of course, I’m all for safety first, but my fingers are crossed that the Covid cases will subside, Quinn will remain in the classroom and getting to add on terrific learning experiences and interactions for the next six months.

All the best,

Tanya

Don’t Want to Picture Losing My Baby Girl But Happy She’s Growing Into a Beautiful Young Lady

Picture day is fast approaching and will be here is just a few days. Just like when I was a kid, decades later, and it’s now a big deal for my daughter. Picking out that perfect outfit and how she’ll wear her hair is a big deal. Upon going to the hairstylist and getting a silk press for her 8th birthday, Quinn knew that she didn’t want ponytails, which is what I had for my third grade picture, but to wear her hair out.

I decided to honor her request since she doesn’t wear her hair out often; unfortunately, the stylist who did a wonderful job on her hair is unavailable. Instead of being disappointed, Quinn insisted that “I” do her hair.

When I told her that I’m not a stylist but will try my best, she reassured me that I would do a terrific job. Instead of waiting until picture day or the day before, I decided to give it a try last week after watching a few videos on YouTube. To my surprise, it turned out better than I hoped, and Quinn said, “You did a fabulous job, Mommy!”

Though it made me so happy seeing that big smile on Quinn’s face, I saw something else. My baby girl is growing up so fast! In two short years, she’ll be in double digits! But until then, I’m excited to see how her pictures turn out, and know that she’ll have a big smile on her face as my sweet little girl.

All the best,

Tanya

An Extra Special Back to School Night!

As my husband and I entered our daughter’s third grade classroom with soft classical music playing, I was filled with joy, not only because her teacher reminds me so much of my third grade teacher but because this was the first time I was back in my daughter’s school, let alone classroom for over a year and a half!

Though Quinn did such a wonderful job adapting to virtual learning last year and never complained about not being in the classroom, when I read her “About Me” presentation that she put together for my husband and me, I came to the realization that she missed being in person more than I thought.

There’s something special about being in person. That interaction with classmates and the teacher is needed for most and allows them to thrive and socialize. Though knowing that the vaccine is not available for Quinn’s age group still makes me a bit nervous, I’m grateful that she was not robbed of another year of limited to know socialization with her classmates and teacher.

On top of that, she was selected as the student of the month for her classroom which makes me very proud. This truly is starting off to be a special “back to school” experience for my daughter and me as well.

All the best,

Tanya

Look Out Third Grade! Here She Comes!

“I don’t know why, but I think this is the most excited I’ve been to start school! Maybe it’s because we weren’t in person when we started school last year,” my third grader told me. A few days ago, I shared with my daughter that third grade was one of my favorite school years. I loved all that we learned and thought my teacher was the best.

Quinn told me that she has a feeling that this year is going to be great for her too. So far, her teacher sent a lovely welcome letter addressed to Quinn, called us at home to speak with my husband and me and to welcome Quinn and had a smile in her voice and eyes when we met her in person today. Though the school is set up for social distancing, I am hopeful that all will go well and that Quinn will come home with a smile on her face and eager to learn and make friends throughout the school year.

Seeing her happy face and excitement has actually helped me feel less nervous as I start my new semester teaching in person for the first time since March 2020.

Here’s to a fun, productive and wonderful school year!

All the best,

Tanya

My Daughter’s Last Day of (Being) School(ed) with an Interesting Semester

It’s officially the last day of school for my second grader, and like many other children, she overcame the many unprecedented changes and hurdles that came with COVID-19 restrictions from virtual learning to hybrid to even receiving her learning materials in a different way. I’m very proud of the way Quinn rose to the challenge and just went with the flow, and I’m grateful that she eventually had an opportunity to interact with her main teacher and the teachers of special classes, like art, gym music and library, and some of her classmates.

While there’s no clear way of knowing what third grade will look like for her, I know if she could make it through this year with a smile on her face and still eager to learn that she’ll be just fine.

All the best,

Tanya