|Super hero photos and Figure me Out projects|
We are just about 6 weeks into the school year and we are just now getting fully into third grade content. Why the delay? Well, because the start of the year is a vital time for relationship building and putting in place the procedures and expectations that will ground our work for the rest of the year. These things are not to be rushed! We have been focused on activities that allow us to get to know each other better and help us to feel connected and safe in our new learning environment. Activities like sharing our family photos, decorating our writer's notebooks, tie dyeing t-shirts, completing our Brown Bag Biographies, and participating in teamwork challenges help to build a sense of community and connection.
|Our family bulletin board|
Learning requires risk taking. Sharing their writing, their ideas, and asking questions puts students in a vulnerable state. It is essential that students feel valued and respected and these things don't happen without investing some time.
The beginning of the year is a time for me to learn about my new students. Who is an expert Lego master? Who is obsessed with becoming an NHL hockey player? Who can name every dinosaur ever discovered and a few only found in the movies? Who wants to go dumpster diving? Who dreams of being a doctor? Who wants to be an Olympic swimmer one day? All of our "get to know you" activities are important for understanding, and connecting with students and allows me to be sure they feel seen, heard, and represented in the classroom.
|What's your superpower?|
The social curriculum at school is something that is not often reported on, but is certainly something that we spend a great deal of time investing in. From the very first day of school we begin talking about creating a caring community that values Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self Control. Student's know this as C.A.R.E.S. Talk to your student about these characteristics. See if they can tell you what each letter stands for and what it means to them.
|CARES posters anchor our learning and remind us what these characteristics |
look like, sound like, and feel like when we use them.
Cooperation is vital to the success of our classroom and it does not come easily. Students will spend a great deal of time working with partners, small groups and the whole class. Learning to cooperate with all kinds of different personalities is a challenge. This is why building strong relationships is so vital.
|Problems solving with partners|
|Talking circle led by middle school students|
As we enter this time of year, the academic content becomes the main focus and the workload and academic challenge increases. We will not, however, let relationship building fall by the wayside. This is one reason we start out every day by coming together for morning meeting. A time to great each other, check-in to see how we are all feeling, laugh a little, and center ourselves before jumping into our day.
|Morning meeting time|