It seems to happen almost every spring: The end of a school year sneaks up on me in a strange way. Before I quite know what has happened, my comfortable every-day routine becomes a thing of the past. My students leave my classroom and never assemble there again in the same way.
The end of this school year has come even more stealthily than some, and I blame this fact on the long winter. After all, wasn’t it just yesterday that I took this picture?
Ok, it was almost two months ago, but still—after we were finally finished with winter weather, only a few weeks of school remained. Now we’re down to only three more days, and all that end-of-the-year nostalgia fills my mind.
Nevertheless, we have enjoyed these last few weeks to the fullest. There were dandelions to play with, and if you are a little girl, why would you not “paint” your face with dandelions?
Our field trip day was one of the major highlights of the year. We visited Ephrata Cloister and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Thanks to Faith Builders’ Living History Threads curriculum, we learn about Ephrata Cloister in our third grade history class. I love the way this field trip ties in with our history lessons. I can also highly recommend the discovery tours that Ephrata Cloister offers for school groups. The engaging, interactive tour provided a fun learning experience for my students.
At the Ephrata Academy we experienced a taste of 1800s-era school days and were able to try our hand at writing on an old-fashioned slate.
One of the students got to dress up and act out some of the jobs of a “sister” at the cloister while our tour guide gave us an overview of the cloister lifestyle.
We toured some of the buildings and learned about colonial medicine at the apothecary. Can you tell that by this time we were warm, tired, and ready for lunch?
I love this place. There’s something so quiet and dreamy about it, especially in the beautiful spring weather.
We ate lunch at the picnic grounds there at the cloister, then headed to the Railroad Museum.
(Of course lunch tastes much better if you sit on the picnic table rather than on the benches.)
The Railroad Museum also offers great tours for school groups, and we had an excellent tour guide. The students got to try various old-fashioned railway jobs, and one of their favorites was loading luggage into this old car.
And then, of course, we had to visit the all-important gift shop. It amuses me now, but I still remember that thrill of being able to buy souvenirs on field trips when I was a student.
It was a good day, and it’s been a great school year. I’m grateful for all the days I had with my twenty precious children.