"Is Grammie coming today?" This asked by multiple students in my 5/6 block every Monday.
Grammie is one student's grandmother. She came to read us a picture book back in January of this year. She didn't know which to choose, so I asked if she could read The Sweetest Fig by Chris van Allsburg. She loved the story and she loved coming in to read it, and we clicked immediately. She then came again, to read another, and said she'd love to come by more often. I asked if she'd come in to help us with our Genius Hour projects, and her face glowed.
When you see Chris Avelle, a.k.a. Grammie, with this group of 7th graders, you immediately know she used to teach. She's a natural with children. She had "little ones," and has transferred all of her knowledge about how to work with them to this new age level. She loves to work one-on-one with students, and is very grateful for the time in the classroom and with children once again.
I don't think Grammie realizes that I feel just as grateful to her for coming to join us. She has been able to give all of her attention to one child at a time, and I am free to tackle short bursts with the rest of our students who don't need as much guidance.
I don't think Grammie realizes how much the students feel grateful having her presence in our class. They see her visits as a very special treat, and they want to show her what they're doing and all of their progress.
I don't think Grammie realizes what an impact she's had on the culture of our class and how these students will never forget that Grammie came in to visit with them for many weeks in a row.
I'm writing this as a public thank you to Grammie. I've made her a gift - sharing my passions for art and words, and students have signed their autographs and messages that we attached to the back of it. Her presence in room 239 has reinforced the idea that everyone is welcome in our classroom as a teacher, and we all have our gifts to share.
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."