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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Going to the Farm and My Last Day

Today is a great day and a sad day. I have been student teaching in a kindergarten class for seven weeks. I started the year with these children and have gotten attached to them. I have helped them learn to read and write. We made butter, planted seeds and learned all about apples and farms.

But today was my las day with them. My placement had to end, I knew it was coming but it seemed so far away. I was greeted with hugs this morning and was showered in drawings and handwritten cards. We all kept our coats on and we waited for the bus. Yes, the bus, because today was our fall field trip. We were going to the farm.

The bus ride was a half hour long and was filled with the sound of children's chatter. Excitement was in the air. Faces looked out the windows and there were questions about what was waiting for them at the farm. Finally the farm appeared on the left and cheers were heard. Somehow order was established and we all got off the bus. We saw the ponies, a rabbit in a barn and a lot of pumpkins.

We first saw an angora rabbit. We surrounded an angora rabbit that was sitting so still, you almost wondered if it was real. The tour guide showed us how the wool angora could be gently plucked from Cotton Candy. The rabbit just sat there and didn't flinch when all the thrilled children got to touch her. When we moved on the rabbit finally moved, she turned around to face the class. Maybe she has had experience with young children before and wanted to keep an eye on them.

The tour continued and we saw a miniature donkey, miniature horses, turkeys, fancy chickens, ducks and pigs. Then we saw a three week old calf prancing around. She wanted her bottle and then decided to play. In the next room of the barn we saw sheep and goats. One of the goats was ready to be milked.

She was so patient while all the children lined up to milk her. They were unsure, but as soon as they squeezed her teats their faces lit up. Earlier this week we made butter from cream and learned about how cows were milked on a dairy farm. Today they made the connection between that and this goat. They were amazed by how warm her skin felt and how the milk came out in a stream.

We went on a hay ride, and it was real hay, earlier we learned the difference between hay and straw and all the children confirmed that it was really hay that they were sitting on. The air was cold as we travelled through the fields. I had to put my gloves on. Soon we saw the pumpkin patch. It looked like a field of dirt with scattered orange balls all over.

Finally we stopped and the children were off to pick their pumpkins. I even picked one.

It wan't as orange as the others but it caught my eye and called to me. It was then that one of my students ran up to me showing me what he found. In the middle of this pumpkin patch full of dying vines and scattered pumpkins he found one small green one with a caterpillar on it. He reluctantly let the caterpillar go back into the pumpkin patch.

The children rode the ponies and pumped water with hand pumps to race ducks down PVC pipes. Then we ate lunch and back to school we went. The motion of the bus combined with the fresh air from the farm lulled some to sleep and seemed to calm down the rest. The field trip was over and my day was almost done.

We talked about our favorite memories of the farm, I liked milking the goat the best and so did a couple other of my friends. Finally the day was done and I had to say good-bye to all these children that I have brought into my heart. Tears filled my eyes as I called them into line by bus numbers. We sang "We All Had a Happy Day" one last time and into the hallway we went. I led them to the school door for the last time ever and we slowed the line down as each one gave me a hug. Some children even gave me two.

I watched them walk away and knew that as they grew part of me would always be with them. I helped build their foundation that all learning will be built on. I wondered what they would become when they grow up and tears finally came. I didn't write a morning message before I left. I had to walk away and trust that I was a positive influence on my students.

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