Here’s more about this week’s featured classroom:
Teacher: Laura Gilson
Grade: Third- and fourth-grade
School: St. John’s Lutheran
What makes your classroom special? Our third- and fourth-grade classroom at St. John’s Lutheran is special because of the people in it. The students are each unique individuals with their own talents, weaknesses and strengths. We work together as a class to help everyone reach their goals and continue a love of learning.
In addition to the curriculum, what are some things you teach your students? First and foremost, I want every student to know the love of God, and His plans for them. We work together as a class to see God in our daily lives, and to share His love with others. I also teach my students to put forward their best efforts, even when things are difficult or challenging. I want them to know that it is OK to try and fail. Sometimes they learn more by working through the failures, and gain confidence by them.
What special project is your classroom working on now? As part of our social studies curriculum this year, we are studying all 50 United States. First, students choose a state. Then they send a series of questions and a paper Flat Stanley (a character in a book by Mark Brown) to someone in that state. Flat Stanley ‘reports back’ on his visit with personal anecdotes, pictures and information on what is special about that particular state. While Flat Stanley is gathering information, the students are also researching here in the classroom. So far, Stanley has had many exciting adventures. He watched the ball drop in Time’s Square on New Year’s Eve. He participated in a Civil War re-enactment in Tennessee, taking turns defending both sides. Stanley played in over 5 feet of snow in Pennsylvania and climbed a volcano in Hawaii! These are just a few of his recent travels, and Stanley will have visited all 50 states by the end of the school year.
How is your classroom involved with the community? In December, our class decided not to exchange CHRISTmas gifts with each other. Instead, the students collected socks and mittens to donate to other local elementary schools and charities in the area. Each student also made two or three tied fleece hats to give to children in need of warm winter gear. The class was able to bless more than 75 kids in the area with these donations.
How do you hope what your students are learning now will affect their future? It is my hope and prayer that every student will leave my classroom knowing that they are a child of God, loved, valued, and capable of doing anything they choose in the future. I am blessed every day by the opportunity to work with such great kids!