We only get that one first day of the new school year! Why not try to make it unexpected? Of course, there are agendas to hand out and lockers to assign, but essentially, I want students going home feeling positive about the upcoming year. So, we didn’t spend our day labeling notebooks, or reading and writing about rules, (we will slip that in throughout the week). Instead, we pulled out the paints and the baking supplies, and focused on collaborating.
First, the students gave a ‘thumbs up’ to our classroom. We are located in Rm. 26 (also known as Rm. 209 for office and fire department reasons), and also referred to as the ‘kitchen room’. The room was intended for Home Economics when the school was built, but then, the program was cancelled! Keeping in mind the importance of the physical space of a classroom (often referred to as the ‘Third Teacher’), we have been able to utilize the space in a unique way that allows for both collaboration and quiet work spaces.
- We then rotated through 6 activities over the course of the day, working with a variety of different classmates. Our challenge was to listen/read/observe the contributions of others, and then show respect by adding on to their ideas, rather than changing or omitting the ideas. We practised these skills through:
- a piece of art, pieces of writing, suggestions and questions, creating an ecosystem, and the one they were most excited about: baking!
- Upon reflection, students felt that everyone worked really well together, showed flexibility, patience, and respect. And not surprisingly, our suggestion board filled with requests to utilize the kitchen part of our room again!