Today was one of my favorite homeroom activities of the year. At our school, all the students create an IB Binder: a two inch record of their time in middle school. It has sections for reflecting on exemplary work, service and the community they are part of, and character, also a scrapbook, and some nuts and bolts information about the IB Middle Years Programme.
As sixth grade teachers, we work with the students to set their binders up and guide them as they begin to use these notebooks as portfolios. When the kids leave at the end of the year, we hold on to their binders over the summer until that designated day when all seventh graders come back to their sixth grade homeroom for a few minutes to collect their work and move it to their current homeroom.
After three weeks with my new homeroom students, we've begun to establish our own rhythm and pace. The kids I have this year are easy to get along with, and I'm already enjoying them a lot. As teachers, it is our job to look forward, and after sixteen years on the job, I've learned to let go of one group and throw all my energy into the next. But... today, when those dozen kids that I spent every morning with last year came back to collect their portfolios, I knew how much I missed them by how happy I was to see them and how sorry I was when they grabbed their binders, and, with a cheerful wave, went off to their new homerooms.