Here’s more about this week’s featured classroom:
Teacher: Amy Schriber
School: Robinson Elementary School
What makes your classroom special? Our classroom community is so special. It is such a fun combination of children with unique personalities and different abilities, with a commonality of care between all of us. My students would be the the first to tell you that we care about each other so much! We celebrate together, learn together, laugh, make mistakes, and even cry together. This community we have created is much like a family, which makes our classroom so special.
In addition to the curriculum, what are some things you teach your students? One of my focuses this year beyond curriculum is teaching students how to spread kindness by learning to compliment one another, as well as receive compliments. I've noticed many first graders feel awkward giving and receiving compliments, avoiding eye contact and speaking quietly. I have now added a “compliment train” to our morning meeting time. In this, students will choose a student they would like to verbally affirm, sharing why they are so special or why they are appreciated. My students have learned to look one another in the eyes and also how to respond when someone affirms them. I've found this can shift our entire day, starting our morning spreading kindness and appreciation for others. Inevitably, my students have found the great joy that comes from making someone else’s day a little brighter.
What special project is your classroom working on now? We are currently taking part in our school-wide, Olympic-themed, March is Reading Month program. Each class has chosen a country they would like to represent for the month. Our class, no questions asked, chose Thailand. One of our first grade classmates spent the last three months in Thailand visiting family, while also attending school there. While she was gone we read books, watched videos, learned about the animals there, and researched the Thai culture. We have also studied the geography of Thailand and even wrote persuasive letters as to why our classmate must come back to her room 23 family! Our class was extremely motivated and intrigued to learn more about this place our classmate was visiting. It has been an even greater experience as she has returned and had a chance to share all about her experience there.
How is your classroom involved with the community? Our classroom loves having special guests from our community visit! We have had a lifeguard talk to us about water safety and water creatures. We have also had a wildlife specialist bring in several animals to share with us. Our class also took on the role as Green Team for the month of November. Each lunch period, students volunteered their recess time to help students sort their lunch trays, recyclables, and garbage. They loved helping out with this! One of our greatest community impacts was our holiday can drive. We decided as a class we wanted to collect at least 3 cans per person, putting our total collection at 54 canned goods. It was amazing to see the joy students had in seeing their stack of goods grow and grow. We were able to collect just over 120 items! Students were able to experience the joy of giving through this (and get a little extra practice with skip counting).
How do you hope what your students are learning now will affect their future? I think the words we leave each other with each day exemplify my hope for each of my students. Every day, before we go our separate ways, we say together, “I am smart. I am kind. I am important, all the time!” I hope my students continue having a passion for learning and discovering as they do now. They are all capable of doing whatever they set their mind to! I hope the kindness, compassion, and care we practice is a skill they can continue to share with everyone they meet. Finally, I hope they know they are valued and their life truly matters.