My Box Of Hugs

The start of a new school year is very exciting, but it can also be very overwhelming. I think that we can easily forget how independent and resourceful the students become by the end of the year … and that it takes time to get there. With four- and five-year-olds, the school year often begins with tears, screaming, short attention spans, reliance on the adults in the room, and much new learning (for both the educators and the students). I’ll admit that for the first four days of school, I’ve been struggling to stay up to 9:00, savouring every drop of those morning coffees (and yes, that’s plural), and reminding myself that growth takes time.

Many times during this first week of school, I’ve thought about Kristi Keery-Bishop‘s blog posts on her “box of hugs” (post 1 and post 2). I’ve found many little “hugs” this week.

    • Seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter as the students played together outside … even following the bike path and heeding the sign to stop. 2015-09-12_15-08-322015-09-12_15-08-46
    • Having all of the students join in with me, as we sang and read, Mortimer.
    • Seeing students that cried earlier in the week, coming into the school smiling.
    • Working together to clean up the classroom materials … even doing so a little bit quieter and a little bit better each day.
    • Listening to a student read me The Cat In The Hat. Reading together is such a special time!

  • Working with some of my first guided reading/oral language groups. Having students eagerly join the groups to work together made me even happier. 2015-09-12_15-11-18
  • Connecting with some new parents, and hearing that they’re happy and their children are happy too.
  • Seeing a student choose to write me a sentence, and feeling proud that he did so all on his own. 2015-09-12_15-12-32
  • Listening to students read and sing along to the songs posted in the bathroom … showing me that literacy skills can be developed everywhere. 2015-09-12_15-13-16

At the beginning of the year, when it’s easy to focus on what isn’t right yet, what still needs to change, and how we’re going to reach our next steps, it’s sometimes hard to find these positive moments — these little “hugs” — that make even difficult days, a lot better. Since September can be a challenging month, I wonder if we could all share our #SeptBoxOfHugs (either through blog posts, Instagram posts, or tweets … with this hashtag). We may have “hugs” every day, or maybe just one a week, but at a time of the year when there can easily be problems aplenty, maybe this positivity will inspire even more happier moments … for ourselves and othersWhat do you think? Who’s in?


6 thoughts on “My Box Of Hugs

    • Thanks Sarah! I don’t know if I’ll be able to share every day either, but I’m hoping that by thinking about these enjoyable/fun/meaningful/positive moments, this will have a positive impact on my attitude and the classroom environment. I know that it’s easy to focus on what’s not working well, and as school begins and routines aren’t established yet, somehow these problems often seem at the forefront of our thoughts (it bothers me to admit that this is true for me). When I took some time to look for my “box of hugs” this week, my attitude changed. I was happier. This is how I want to continue to feel, even in the midst of what may be stressful times. Here’s to a year full of “hugs!”


  1. Leave it to you, Aviva, to take my mini-musings and make them into something meaningful! Your idea is a great one. I will join in as much as I can and look forward to learning about other people’s boxes of hugs. I may be a little slow, but I recently came to the realization that a spirit of fun/enjoyment/contentment is probably more closely tied to engagement than anything else. Interest is great, appropriate to ability and comfort level is wonderful, but if there is an environment of fun – adults enjoying things, kids enjoying things – risk taking will happen, community will be built and people will put in more effort. If taking the time to enjoy the little things that make your day isn’t reward enough, perhaps those other advantages might inspire people to stop and find their box of hugs too. Thanks for inspiring!

    • Thanks for the comment and the inspiration, Kristi! It’s funny that you mention this connection between fun and engagement. I didn’t really think of this before either. But this week, as I was experiencing some challenging times, I thought about your blog posts on your “boxes of hugs.” I was determined to find my own. Every positive moment, in its own way, inspired something new. I think that I took more risks with each “box of hugs,” and while I’m still FAR from perfect (and that’s okay), I felt like we were moving in the right direction. You’ve inspired me in numerous ways over the years, Kristi, but thanks for helping me at a time that I really needed it in a way that you maybe didn’t even know. Even if we just share sporadically, keeping focused on the good things, seems like a great thing to me!


  2. Hi Aviva,
    I want to quickly share with you a nice ‘Hug’ situation that happened to me this week.
    I believe it was Thursday, after second nutrition break and I was coming into the school after recess duty. I had to stop students at my classroom door to give some instructions before they entered so I stood in the doorway and stretched my arms out. The student who was in front of me thought that I was stretching me arms out looking for a hug. She hugged me and I hugged her back and we both laughed at the same time realizing that this was not a hug moment but a do not enter moment. For me, an awkward moment but funny. For her, probably even more awkward/embarrasing because some other students probably saw what just happened. Situations like this can happen because teachers are human and hugs can happen at the most unexpected times. Good luck next week with your class.

    • Thanks for sharing your “hug” story, David! Have you had a chance to read Kristi’s post (linked in mine)? While these “hug moments” could certainly be real hugs, the hug itself is symbolic of those little positive moments in the midst of stressful/difficult times. I’d love to hear more about your “box of hugs.”


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