The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Rainy Days

One of the most distinct memories I have from grade school comes from an event that happened when I was in the third grade. I think. Despite the fact that the memory is so very distinct, I don’t actually remember what year, or even what time of year, it took place. I only remember that it was when I was at Washington Grade School, and that it was after first grade but before fourth. So either second or third grade, and I think it was third.

The memory is of spending over an hour in the school building after school let out, due to severe weather in the area. The sky was incredibly dark, the street light outside the south end of the building was shining through a misty haze, and the students and teachers were tired and ready to go home.

Fortunately, I haven’t had anything quite like that happen in my professional teaching career. But I have had my share of rainy days. After a summer of severe drought in the continental United States, it is weird to have so much rain all of a sudden. We’ve had several days at school where it has been dark and gloomy. Clouds were lowering but we haven’t had much rain. At least not during school.

I woke up yesterday morning and discovered it was raining, so I arranged for a ride to school. (For those who don’t know, my wife and I no longer have a car, so I have been biking to school nearly every day. It is almost six miles each way, but I love doing it!) The rain stopped in the early morning, so the students were still able to make it outside for lunch and afternoon recess. The storm from yesterday had mostly cleared up, but I kept my eye on the weather radar throughout the evening.

I got up this morning and saw dark storms to the south of us that didn’t look like they were going to hit us. But, after getting thoroughly soaked last Friday on my way home, I decided not to risk it and arranged for a ride again. About an hour or two after school started, it started raining. There was the typical gloom about the building outside, which turned into a gloom among students inside the building. The rain stopped around lunch, so students were able to go outside, then it started raining just as they came in. Providence smiled upon us, though, as the storm passed and my class was able to go outside in the afternoon. So far, the storms have not returned, but the weather radar is still looking ominous. We’ll see if the storms clear up by tomorrow.

I was concerned throughout the day that the rainy weather would result in students dragging throughout the day. When it is dark and dreary outside, our bodies want to go back to sleep. It makes sense. Most of us are conditioned to sleep when it is dark, after all. I definitely had a few students who were struggling to keep up today, due to the gloomy weather, but the vast majority of the boys and girls were working hard all day. We worked on their animal inquiry projects by learning about ecosystems, the students practiced writing related math sentences based on Factor Triangles, and we did some more work on responsive writing as we wrap up our first reading unit on journeys.

So despite the rainy days, we’ve made a lot of progress this week. I hope the students realise how much they’ve really done! Due to a staff development day on Friday, tomorrow is the last day of school for students, and I’ll be gone in the afternoon for a doctor’s appointment, so the week is quickly coming to a close! And just one more day until the big reveal of our amazing project we are undertaking at Wiley Elementary!

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