He sat there staring at the empty pot.

Each student in my class has their own houseplant to care for. At the beginning of the year they all picked which pot, which type of plant, which sticker would indicate it was their plant. They have done all the work- watering, ensuring their plants gets the right amount of sunlight, and picking up spills when they happen- and with first graders they do happen! This winter was hard on these plants- the classroom is a little dry and students needed to be more cognizant of their plant’s needs. Most plant survived. Some didn’t. I reassured the students I would give them a new plant, but didn’t bring them from home right away because it was so cold outside and I wasn’t sure they would survive the freezing temperatures.

One day I saw T… sitting at his desk staring at his empty pot. His plant died and he still brought the pot to his desk. I said, “T… what’s wrong? You look so sad.” T… replied, “I miss my plant.”

Before that day I had been debating whether I would continue the plants next year. I wasn’t sure the students enjoyed it and learned from the experience. Now I now- this will be a tradition in my room.