The first month of the school year is one of new expectations, of new beginnings and the renewal of old friendships. And it is the beginning of a holiday season, and thus the beginning of a new cycle of learning about traditions and cultures.
Each class began to think about expectations in their own way. The sixth-graders colored in balloons with the theme “The Sky’s the Limit,” adding a few words about their last year in the primary school and beyond. For the first graders, an exercise in coloring in an “emotion clock” was meant to help students and teachers communicate about feelings – a helpful lesson when kids are all starting out with fears, excitement and resistance. In other classes, the children expressed their expectations through writing on cutouts of migrating birds that “flew” off together in the schoolyard or cutouts of their handprints each bearing a single word representing that child’s hopes for the coming year.
Getting the kids used to working together was also a part of the first month’s lesson plans. The second graders worked in small groups to build towers from straws and then talked about what was good or not-so-good about working together. The fifth graders had a “jigsaw” learning session in which each group took on a subject connected to one of the holidays, learned the material individually and then in groups, and then presented it in the group to the rest of the class. The fifth graders also had a “getting together” day of games in the schoolyard.
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