Classroom and School Culture

K/1, A Well Oiled Machine

With less than a month left of school, I am beginning to reflect on the year.  My class is truly feeling like a family unit, and we are all getting sentimental and appreciating our time together.   By this time of year the students know all the classroom procedures and routines and can independently execute…

Buddies Save the Day

In the second grade class, we recently started a writing unit on biographies. Students chose an African American figure that they wanted to learn more about. I gave students texts about the person they chose, so that research could begin. There are many good biographies written on a second grade level, but they are not…

The Arts Converge at Chicago Friends School

Ten minutes before dismissal today, I was down in my office in the basement when suddenly I heard footsteps clattering into my office. Renata poked her head in: “You are cordially invited to a musical mask march, upstairs, right now!” Who could resist such an invitation, especially at the end of a long day?   Upstairs our…

The Tradition Continues – Reading with Families Together

Last week, two of the classes trekked it in the snow to read to our neighborhood preschool, Families Together.  We try to do this about four times a year.  I began reflecting on why we do this to help explain to our students and concluded this reflection after our experience.  Here are some thoughts I…

Problem Solving

Our social-emotional curriculum, Second Step, teaches students about a series of steps (using the acronym S.T.E.P.) for solving problems (whether they be interpersonal, personal, or group problems).  I have found that, after explicitly teaching about each of the steps, using these steps with the class has been helpful in solving problems together.  With enough practice…