The end of the school year is not a winding down kind of experience for teachers. Quite the contrary, it is a spiraling upward experience and in some cases, on the brink of being out of control. Most of "outsiders" don't realize this and always reassuringly remind one in the field that school is almost over. The last month of school is a cacophony of field trips, concerts, paperwork, graduation rehearsals, more paperwork, another field trip, field day and more paperwork. Budgets are due, report card comments need to be written, retirement parties, end of the year evaluations, end of the year goals reports, end of the year summative, and don’t forget the training. The sheer frustration of dealing with ever changing "education initiatives" encompasses trading out one program for another, spending hours recording textbook numbers, along with all the manuals and hoopla to the obsolete list. You are not only busy unpacking the newly adopted better program, but attending training sessions on top of it all! Yes, training for new programs is usually crammed into the last month of school, as well. Oh, and did I mention that the students have practically checked out mentally, the behavior problems have been more of a problem than ever. And the weather?!?! We have been in the throws of a heat wave this last week and air conditioning is available in only parts of the school. You are either sweating profusely or chilled to the bone. Today was the last day of school for me and I, along with about 3/4ths of the teachers in my building, was shut out of iPad training. Not a problem, I’ll keep calm and carry on. Packing up the room is always a cathartic chore. Bulletin boards need to come down, books put away, closets cleaned. There is always more paperwork, checklists to sign, keys to be handed in, and did I mention the heat wave? So, another year down and I’m excited about going back already. Our school will be adding iPads to two more grade levels and I will return to school in a one-to-one iPad scenario for the three grades that I teach. My goal this summer, besides diving into TWA, is to learn more math. I’m going to be using lots of the apps by Esa Helttula, they are fabulous teachers within themselves. I’ll also be relying on help from iTooch since they just released an app with junior high math and reading, and more. Futaba will help me stay current as I will playing that game with all the kids I tutor. Last but not least, I’m staying in touch with Annie Fox, and her Middle School Confidential Series because her expertise is invaluable. During a skype session this year, one little girl asked what to do with a friend who is mean, and she had the perfect answer, “take a vacation from that friend.” What great advice. Talk about vacations… TWA won’t be taking a vacation this year, we are ramping up with several new hires and hope to review more great apps than ever before. Stay-tuned!