Monday, June 18, 2012

Ten Favorites to Celebrate

Image found by BING images HERE                          
The end of the school year brings cheers, smiles, hugs, tears, and laughter in abundance.  It is a time to honor the memories of shared experiences; our classroom community moments built from a strong foundation and trusting relationships. 

Together, Ann and I made a big shift in our practice last summer after we accepted the positions of Multiage Teachers.  With our students we took off on the learning journey, promising one another to WORK HARD each and every day.  We were COURAGEOUS as we approached bumps in the road and supported one another in the face of challenges.  Throughout the year we consistently encouraged each other, taking every opportunity possible to CELEBRATE GROWTH.   And what a year the 52 of us had with this motto guiding our daily learning!!

The last few weeks of school we spent a lot of time documenting our students’ perspectives on the year, including advice regarding next year.  We allocated time to redesigning the classroom space to make it more efficient and conducive to learning.  The students were a huge part of the success we experienced this year and we wanted to take time to value their expertise to assist us in moving into year 2. 

Our final Brain Breakfast of the school year was to reflect on our year within our Multiage Classroom.  On the last day of school we requested that they each create their own personal Top 10 List for the school year.  What did they treasure about their experiences this year- what would be the 10 essential things they would expect to see within our classroom next year?  We then had students Pair-Share about their Top 10 Lists.  Finally we had them collaborate with their table groups and use the iPads to collectively create a Top 10 List to email to us.  Here are the compiled results of these final 9 lists:

Ten Favorites in our Multiage Classroom
1.        Having students of lots of ages/Friendships
           The greatest concern for adults turned out to be the concept most treasured by kids.

2.       iPads
          Our building’s set of 10 showed up in March and have been a favorite resource to access!

3.       Teachers
          Apparently Ann and I’s daily dancing/comedy routine was a hit!

4.       Brain Books
          We have been developing these for over a year with our students, more to come… stay tuned!

5.       Art
          Our goal was to incorporate art into our daily learning; creative juices flowed frequently!

6.       Field Trips
          Adventures outside the classroom were ways to apply learning and build relevancy.

7.       Extra Recesses
          We built in additional exercise, breaks, and play whenever possible.

8.       Science & Math
           In these two areas we incorporated PBL and it was a success!

9.       Collaboration/Partners
           Communication was a HUGE part of our daily work and experiences.

10.   Pledge/Motto/Themes/Metaphors
         These things all tied for 10th place; and why wouldn’t they? They are awesome!!

On the last day we shared many cheers for summer, smiles for the memories, hugs for the relationships built, and tears for the school year coming to an end (after all it was bitter sweet giving our 5th graders their send-off to middle school).  Laughter was heard from the first moment of the day until the last student left for summer, because we all truly enjoyed sharing the time together in our classroom community space.  This is the sound that will stay present in our minds through the summer as we reflect on our amazing first year together as Multiage Teachers.   

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