A Letter to 8th Graders, Yours Truly, Mrs. R.

May 26, 2020

Moving to virtual learning separated teachers from their students in ways neither side liked all that much.  In advance of 8th-Grade Graduation — a time when separation is a traditional outcome — one teacher emailed her homeroom with memories of them as a class that she will carry always.


Dear Ham 8’s,

Here are a couple of photos for you to have. The one of you working together (bottom of the page) is one of my favorites.

Remember the “fireplace” on the Clearview screen, and the lights we strung to make it festive? Privacy panels? The schedule and Skills list up on the whiteboard? The analog clock that you would look at, asking what time it is because your world is digital? The coordinate plane marked on the floor with tape so you could graph using string, and stand in whichever quadrant your Mood Meter placed you? Backpacks on hooks on the window grate? Rearranging tables for group work or quizzes?

Well, all of that is still a part of what this year means for us, and it always will be.

We have learned that the classroom can be anywhere as long as students are connected with each other and teachers. And while we are much more used to sharing the same physical space as we learn, we made the very best of our virtual connection.

While I am missing you, us, and the classroom we shared, I am so proud of you, and your parents, for your seamless pivot during this historic time.

There is no one with whom I would rather be together “in this”, even if “this” has to be whatever we make of it, away from bricks and mortar – in our alternative, virtual, shared classroom space.

You continue to amaze and inspire every single day.

Yours truly,
Mrs. R.

By Martha Richardson, 8th-grade teacher
The Hamilton School at Wheeler

Eight 8th-graders with wall studs at a Home Depot.
Martha Richardson’s 8th-graders continue a decades-long tradition to decorate and donate wall studs to Rhode Island’s Habitat for Humanity for their “Wishes In The Walls” community project.
A large group of 8th-grade and 3rd-grade students sit on a classroom floor surrounding a wall stud they will decorate together for Habitat for Humanity.
Hamilton 8th-graders and their 3rd-grade buddies meet during the “Wishes in the Walls” Habitat for Humanity project.
Two tables of students work together in a classroom.
The Hamilton 8th-grade homeroom work in their classroom at Wheeler.


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