Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Best Parts of My Week - 6/19/17--6/22/17

Hi everyone,
     Well, it’s official…..As of this moment I am retired.  Even as I write this, it is hard to wrap my head around that concept.  During all of this past week I felt like I was having an “out of body” experience and that somebody was retiring, but not me!  That being said, it was an incredible week of special events, celebrations, and good-byes. 

…..Monday was the last day of special classes but the day began with a special assembly for the five of us who are retiring.  It was amazing!  Each one of us was invited to the stage and presented with a Superhero cape!  Each cape was themed to the particular person’s role in the school.  Mine had sports on it and it was such a special gift!  Next, our “MC”, one of my best friends, proceeded to speak about why each one of us is a Superhero.  She spoke about what we taught the students, as well as what we taught the adults, and reminded us that our efforts during our careers would pay dividends for many for life.  As if all of this were not enough, finally all 500 + students and staff sang a good-bye song.  There was not a dry eye in the house!

…..Monday night I received an email from a parent who was going through their child’s writing portfolio for the year.  She came across a piece of writing that was all about how PE was his favorite special.  He drew a picture of me smiling because he told his mom that I was always smiling and happy to see them come to PE!  I was always happy to see them arrive to PE and usually I would say something like:  “I’m glad you are here!”  I am glad to know that the students noticed that I was indeed happy to see them!

…..I spent the rest of the day teaching my classes and spent a good deal of time reminiscing about my career.  I kept picturing different events and lessons that happened over the years and wondered how it could have gone by so quickly!

…..I was presented with a gift from one of my families this week.  It was a canvas print of the graphic on this year’s Field Day shirt!  If you have read this blog recently, you may remember that this year’s Field Day shirt included a lion wearing a PE shirt and carrying a banner that reads: “We love you Mrs. Robelee!”  Again, I was crying…… gratitude…….

…..As the week went on I was overwhelmed by the generosity of my students and families.  I received so many wonderful gifts.  One was a necklace that reads “NPE 2017”, others included flowers, beautiful cards and kind words, plaques, and more.  I spent quite a bit of time this week with tissues in my hand to dry my tears!

…..On Wednesday I was surprised by a District Health and PE luncheon in honor of those retiring.  It was so thoughtful and so wonderful to get together as a department to say goodbye.  I have mentored many of my colleagues and I shared a memory or two as I thanked them for their kind words and good wishes!

…..Our 5th grade moving up day is always wonderful as well as emotional.  Of course, this year it was even more emotional as I said goodbye to families and students.  I am so proud of how much these students have learned and grown.  Many I have had as students since kindergarten and I know they are well prepared to move on to middle school.  It was so much fun to celebrate their accomplishments with them and their families!

…..The last day of school was Thursday and I knew it would be a tough one……..I had the tissues at the ready and steeled myself for the goodbyes to come.  The fifth-grade classes asked those retiring to be in the lobby at 9:20 for a presentation.  They read a beautiful card to us and presented each of us with a lovely plant that would remind us of them as both the plant and they grow and blossom……. All 87 of them wanted to either hug or high five a goodbye so we created a receiving line and did just that.  After we all recovered from that it was time to get ready for dismissal as it was an early release day and students would be leaving before lunchtime.  There is always a bit of a party atmosphere on the last day as we play music, wave streamers, blow bubbles, and do what we call the “Big Wave” as busses depart the school driveway.  We wore our Superhero capes, took many pictures, and received lots of hugs as students left the building for the summer.   I knew it would be hard but I realized how much I had been anticipating this moment and holding in my emotions so it was actually a bit of a relief to experience the goodbye and let out the emotions…….

…..After dismissal a family came back to school to deliver some gifts to adults in the building.  They found me in the library working on the PE inventory.  My gift was a beautiful card, a homemade sports-themed travel pillow, and matching bracelets to wear with my Superhero cape – just like Wonder Woman!  How great and thoughtful is that! 

…..On Thursday night, our building celebrated the end of the school year and those retiring with an amazing dinner at a local restaurant.  When the evening began, I was already thinking that I did not want it to end.   I was so happy that my family was there as well and we laughed, cried, celebrated, reminisced, and hugged goodbye.  I am still overwhelmed with gratitude at the kind words and celebration………At the beginning of my career I could not have ever imagined that it would end with so many special events and celebrations.  I am truly blessed…..

…..Even though the last day of school was Thursday I needed to go to school on Friday to tie up some loose ends and finish up some last-minute details.  It was a good thing that I was there by myself and as I finished up, turned off the lights, and took a deep breath to leave the building I reminded myself how fortunate I am to have spent my entire teaching career in one special place:  North Park School.  Thank you to everyone who made this year so special.  I will miss you all!  I am ready for my “chapter 2”, as I have been calling it, whatever that may be.  I will still stay involved in the profession in some way but just like me, this blog will be retired for now.  Thank you so much for the opportunity to share “The Best Parts of My Week!” with you.  My school website will be taken down as of June 30th, but I will continue to share my passion for Physical Education through my new website: Fizz Ed Fun - Site for PE Professionals!

Some pictures of the wonderful celebrations and thank you notes of this past week:

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Best Parts of My Week - 6/12/17--6/16/17

Hi everyone,
    Field Day week is probably one of the most intense as well as one of the most exciting weeks of the year and this year did not disappoint!  It was HOT, and despite an injury to my toe, (never a good time for that….) and one postponement due to the heat, the week went off without a hitch!  

…..Monday was Field Day for third and fourth grade students.  It was hot but the students did very well.  We have a few water stations but but the students do not get too wet from those activities so one of the parents asked if they could use the hose to mist the students and cool them down.  Normally I resist using the hose because it can get a bit crazy but since it was so hot I decided to say yes.  I am glad I did!  The parents manning the hose were fantastic and students got just wet enough to cool down.  There were several compliments given by parents on student behavior which made me very proud.  The parent volunteers remarked that the students were so polite, well mannered and well behaved!  I was especially proud and relieved because we had quite a few behavior challenges leading up to Field Day!  Students rose to the occasion and represented themselves and our school well!  I knew it would be an emotional week since it is my last set of field days and I was humbled by the kind words of so many of our parents and family volunteers……..

…...My principal told me that during Field Day she overheard a 4th grader say  “This is the best day of my life!”  How cool is that!

…..Monday afternoon I was talking about the name tags for Field Day with a group of my 2nd graders.  All of a sudden one of the students noticed that I was wearing my Field Day shirt because the third and fourth graders had Field Day that morning.  She said:  ”You don’t need a name tag….Mrs. Robelee is on your shirt!  Wait, it’s on all of our shirts - we are all Mrs. Robelee!”

…..I’m not sure when it happened but sometime during the last decade, signing Field Day shirts became a “thing”.  It is quite a big deal and students bring markers so that classmates can sign each others shirts.  On Tuesday morning I was presented with another Field Day shirt that was signed by all of the Student Ambassadors!  

…...All of the retirees from my school were invited to the last PTA meeting of the year as a celebration of our retirement.  Unfortunately I was unable to attend but the next morning I received a beautiful print of an oil painting of our school.  I was so touched and feel like now I can take a bit of North Park with me as I retire…..

…..Field Day for K-2 students was Tuesday and the word I would use to describe the looks on their faces during Field Day is simply JOY!  After all, it is the first experience for kindergarten students and all of the students were excited beyond belief!  We had so much fun!  One of the stations involves having students draw a picture of their favorite station.  As I was visiting that station I asked:  “What was your favorite station?”  One student answered:  “The sock station!”  The station that he was describing was “Hanging Out the Laundry” which is a relay activity involving socks, a laundry line, and clothespins!  

…..It was even hotter during the K-2 Field Day so cooling off the students with the hose was a must.  I started calling it the ”Kiddie Wash” and students not only enjoyed it but also giggled when I said it was time for the “Kiddie Wash!”

…...We held our annual school barbecue and picnic day on Tuesday afternoon.  Even though it was hot students and families enjoyed picnicking and eating a delicious meal outside.  This year a local law enforcement K-9 dog was in attendance.  I love dogs and I was so excited to meet Max the K-9 dog!  Students loved meeting him too!

…..5th Grade Field Day was postponed until Wednesday morning due to the heat index on Tuesday afternoon.  The weather was much cooler on Wednesday morning and everyone was glad we waited.  During this Field Day students participate in a number of “backyard” games such as ladder ball, spikeball, badminton, tennis, wiffleball, Frisbee games like Saucer Slam, baggo ball, four square, and more.  Students enjoy “Freedom with responsibility”, which means that they can choose what they want to play as long as they are being responsible, including others, and staying active.  It was such a wonderful morning!  We had terrific parent volunteers and the students were active, engaged, and having fun all morning long.  It was a bit sad at the end when it hit me that this was my very last Field Day…….

….I was going to a few different classrooms a bit later in the week and everywhere I went students were thanking me for Field Day!  It is so much work to put together, but it is so worth it when I know students enjoy and appreciate it!

.....I came back to my office to find a beautiful note from a student!

…..I received so many random hugs this week.  One student hugged me and said:   “I like hugs!”

…..One night this week I attended a dinner to celebrate the end of the year with my Southeastern Zone of NYS AHPERD family.  We had a terrific time and I was so touched by their many wonderful retirement wishes.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude and it was hard to find the words to say thank you……

…..In the middle of the week I hurt my toe and had to get an Xray to make sure it was not broken.  Fortunately it isn’t but it is quite painful, bruised and swollen.  As a result I needed to wear a surgical shoe and I was struck by all of the kind words and caring behavior of students.  They were concerned and let me know that they cared!  

…..At the end of the week I took students outside to play on the playground.  On the way back inside a discussion of favorite vegetables popped up out of nowhere!  This discussion turned into a discussion about mushrooms, which turned into a question about who cooks dinner at my house! I told my students that my husband and I take turns depending on who gets home first and they seemed satisfied with that answer…...

…..Well, the Fitness Bags Eagle Scout project is almost done!  My former student is putting the finishing touches on the project and was working on it after school one day this week!   I offered to help and we had such a nice conversation!

…..On Friday morning as the students were arriving I was standing in the hallway.  As the students were walking by one student stopped and this was our conversation:  3rd grader;  “Are we doing something fun in PE today?”  Me:  “We do something fun in PE everyday don’t we?”  3rd grader:  big smile and nod yes!  Me:  “We are going outside today.”  3rd grader:  “Yay!”

…..At the end of a third grade class I told students that it was their last PE class for the year and my last class with them since I am retiring.  Students reacted by saying:  “Nooooooooooo……..”  I responded that I agreed it was sad and that I was sad too and would miss them.  One student raised her hand and asked:  “If you are sad why are you retiring?”  I said that it was a hard question to answer and that while I know that it is time to retire and start my next chapter, it is still ok to be sad to see something end…….One more week to go and I know I will need to have my box of tissues ready!  

I hope you enjoyed the "Best Parts of My Week!"
Visit my website: North Park Physical Education to find out more about our Physical Education program.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Best Parts of My Week - 6/5/17--6/9/17

Hi everyone,
     It was one of the last two full weeks of school.  I know that summer on the way but the beginning of the week still felt like winter!  I have only worn shorts to school one day and on Monday the heat came on in my house and I wore three layers to stay warm and!  That is going to change quickly though as next week’s forecast calls for 80-90 degree days….just in time for Field Days!  Yikes!

…..We had a visitor come to school this week and I must admit I did not recognize him at first.  It was a former student who is now in college and came to say hello and goodbye to those of us who are retiring.  It was so nice to see him and catch up on what is going on in his life!  He is in college and playing baseball at a very high level.  We had a great conversation, and he is such a great person!

…..Early in the week I received a simple thank you note from fourth grader.  It was so genuine and heartfelt that it started my week off on a wonderful positive note!

…..My students were so excited to be outside this week playing a game that I call Triangle Ball.  It is a small-sided game that uses a tee, bat, ball, and two cones to complete the triangle of the field.  The rules vary by grade level but everyone in grades K-5 absolutely love this game!  It was so heartwarming to see students helping each other.  As in any school, there are a wide variety of experiences and ability levels, but those who play on a team were very eager and proud to help others with less experience.  I was especially pleased at the helpfulness of my students this week.  There is a tremendous amount of equipment involved in this activity because there are ten small fields with tees, cones, bats and balls.   Each day that we were outside my first class helped with the set up and my last class helped put everything away.  I found myself asking why I don’t ask for their help more often……

…...It rained in the middle of the week and so my backup plan was a game called Slam Ball from OPEN (  It is a lead up game for Spikeball but is fun in and of itself.  Students play with a partner and use strong force to bounce a coated foam ball into a hoop on the floor.  Points are based on catching and whether the ball bounces in the hoop.  We had a discussion about force and I asked the students how they would  know if strong force was being used.  They had some terrific answers!  They said that they would know because of the loud noise, the arm movement of the person slamming the ball, and the height of the ball as it bounced up from the ground.  I was impressed!  We had a great time playing and they worked up a sweat!

…..One of the classes that had to stay indoors because of the rain was a Kindergarten class.  As I led the students into the gym one of the students was upset and said:   “You said we were playing T-ball!” Now, it was absolutely pouring outside at the time and the noise from the rain was so loud that you could hear it on the roof of the school so I responded “but it’s raining outside........” I think she understood at that point.  During their next PE class I received tons of hugs when they found out we were playing Triangle Ball outside!

…..It was a busy week because I was getting ready for Field Days that are scheduled for this upcoming week.  I have been actually planning for a few months but the week before the actual events is busy because of the last minute details and the equipment that needs to be organized.  I spent many hours after school this week but it felt good to accomplish the goal of being ready for Field Day!  Now all I need is for the weather to cooperate!

…..One of my goals this week was to put together the second grade portfolios.  Second grade students work all year long and contribute a variety of work to their portfolio.  At the end of the year they create a cover and I put it all together in an envelope which is sent home with the report card on the last day of school.  As I was working on this project I thought about how I occasionally will look back at my son’s schoolwork that I saved (he’s 30 now….) and reminisce a bit.  I wondered if students or parents will look back at this work someday and remember PE fondly….I hope they do!  

…..Two first graders came down to the gymnasium one afternoon this week and delivered pictures and writing about why Mr. N and I are good PE teachers!  They were proud to deliver them and I was pleased to accept!  "Mrs. Robelee is a good PE teacher because......she is fun to play with you!"

…..I was setting up the obstacle course as one of the stations for Field Day on Friday afternoon as students were leaving when I heard whispers from the hallway - She’s setting up for Field Day!”

…..On Friday night I attended our Teachers union retirement party.  It’s called Beginnings and Endings because not only are retirees celebrated but teachers who received tenure and teachers who have been in the district for twenty-five years are recognized as well.  I had so much fun celebrating with other retirees!  There were many kind words expressed and I am truly humbled by their thoughts and congratulatory sentiments……  We danced and celebrated our careers and our friendships.  The beginning of the end is here and these next two weeks (actually just nine more school days….) will be be a challenge for sure.  I need to make sure I have a box of tissues at the ready!  

I hope you enjoyed the "Best Parts of My Week!"
Visit my website: North Park Physical Education to find out more about our Physical Education program.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Best Parts of My Week - 5/30/17--6/2/17

Hi everyone,
    Ok, so I have started to countdown the days that are left until the end of the school year and the end of my career at North Park.  However, I am ONLY doing this so that I can enjoy every single day!  I am still being asked by my students:  “So why do you have to retire?”  It’s hard to explain that I don’t have to retire but that it is time to move on and begin my “Chapter 2”.......

…..On Monday morning one of my fourth grade students came to my office with a retirement craft.  It is the most adorable creation that is a construction paper version of me holding a box of french fries with the message:  ”don’t eat too many of these!”  That act of kindness started my week off on the right foot!

…..Our Varsity Cheerleading team worked out their schedule to hold a stunt clinic on the last day of gymnastics so that they could then roll up the carpet flooring for me.  They were so helpful and some even offered to help me with the mats!  Some of the cheerleaders were younger and one came up to me and said:  “Do you remember me?”  I answered that yes, of course I did and said her first and last name.  She pumped her fist and said:  “YESSSSS!”  She was so happy that I remembered!  At the end of the clinic some of the cheerleaders were waiting to be picked up and one went over to our hands contracts and pointed out what she thought was her hand on the wall.  I explained that each year I have the next class make new ones and she was very surprised!  She thought her hand stayed up there forever!  I wish it could!  

…..Our school is celebrating its 50th year and there were a few events this week to continue the festivities!  We had a time capsule assembly on Wednesday and the students and adults were so excited to see what was in the time capsule that was set in the corner stone of our building during the 1966-1967 school year.  It was a wonderful assembly as the son of our original principal participated in helping us view the contents of the time capsule.  Some of the items in the capsule included a newsletter, teachers’ contract, pictures of the original PTA, a literary magazine written by sixth grade students, and a school handbook.  While everyone agreed that it was pretty cool, most of it was paper and one of the students said to me later:  “I thought there would be more stuff!”  There have only been three principals of our school and I am proud and honored to say that I have worked for all three of them.  I had so much fun sharing my favorite story of the original principal with his son after this assembly.  Our original principal loved to work with our preschoolers when they came to visit once a month.  He would often ask me if he could borrow the parachute so that he could play with them on our stage.  Back then our parachute was an actual parachute!  It had a date on it and it had clearly been used to jump out of a plane!  I loved it and so did the students!  He was extremely tall but he would get down on the floor with these little ones and smile right along with them as they shook the parachute and made some “popcorn”!

…..The 50th celebration continued the next day with an evening assembly.  It was a wonderful gathering of the past, present, and future as our original principal’s wife and family, our second principal, retired teachers, original PTA President, and our new principal (who will begin in September) were in attendance!  Our Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassadors served as tour guides for the building and their pride in our building was evident.  The next day one of the third grade students said:  “That was so much fun last night!”

…..We finished up gymnastics in the middle of this week and so later in the week we had a new warm-up which involved some jogging and rope jumping.  During the warm-up a fifth grade student walked over to the large clock on the wall and took his carotid pulse.  He was very intent on getting it right!

…..I know that school is almost over but I have been wanting to try a new warm-up based on a Math activity that one of our kindergarten teachers does with her students.  Basically there is a two-piece puzzle which includes a dog head and a dog tail.  The head and tail each have a number and the idea is to find the number that connects the two.  For example, if the head says 7 and the tail says 10, the number that connects them is 3.  I copied and laminated many of these pieces and placed them in the center circle.  Students worked in pairs and each one had to pick a head or a tail, put the puzzle together, and then use the connecting number to complete an exercise.  It went really well!  Students seemed to enjoy it and had no trouble counting out the numbers!  I really believe that one of the many reasons that I still love my job is because I constantly try new ideas and always want to improve…..even when there are only 14 days left of school!  

…..I took all of my classes outside on Friday to play grade level appropriate versions of a game I call Triangle ball.  It is a game that uses a tee, cones, and a ball to hit off of the tee.  Students play in groups of three so there is a lot of activity for everyone during the game.  One of my fourth grade students was so excited during the game and said out loud to no one in particular:   “this is so much fun!”

…..One of our secretaries is leaving to move to another job in a different building in our district.  We had such a nice farewell get together for her during a Friday morning breakfast gathering.   North Park is such a special place.   One of our teachers said it best when she said that no matter where you go when you leave North Park you are always a part of the North Park family……...That thought comforts me as I get ready to leave.......

.....My second grade students are completing their year-long portfolios and worked on their cover picture this week. One of my students drew a picture of himself on the balance beam. He said: "that's me and that's you helping me!"

…..On Friday afternoon I spent time counting Coop Cars to find out the total for our Operation Healthy North Park project during National Physical Fitness Month.  We broke last year’s record!  We collected 3,756 Coop Cars, which equals at least 75,120 minutes of exercise!  

I hope you enjoyed the "Best Parts of My Week!"
Visit my website: North Park Physical Education to find out more about our Physical Education program.