Sharing with and learning from others is a wonderful thing. Just ask any 4th grader about their 1st grade buddy and they will tell you how special the time they spend together is. Each Friday the 4th grade buddies up with 1st Grade to work on reading, math, and special projects. Last week the 4th graders got to help the 1st graders with their amazing Mario Kart Math. 1st graders needed to solve addition math problems to collect gold coins. Just like the video game! 4th graders were instructed to help them solve the problems, without giving them the answers. The 4th graders eagerly jumped right in, teaching and helping their buddies with; patience, enthusiasm, and skill. After the activity the students reflected on how great it felt to be able to help someone learn. I couldn’t agree more 🙂

Our 3rd grade writers were able to feel how their work affected others; by sharing compliments and celebrating each other’s work during our small moment narrative writing celebration. Most children were thrilled, as we all are, to feel that they had made something, an artifact that can stay in the world forever. Writing celebrations help our young students regard themselves as authors in a working, thriving community of other authors. In Ralph Peterson’s book. Life in a Crowded Place (1992), he explains that celebrations contribute to our sense of belonging by helping us learn to focus on others and their achievements rather than just our own. The 3rd grade writing created during our Small Moment narrative celebration is our announcement to the world: “Look! Here we are all authors.” Enjoy these pictures of our celebration, sharing our writing with our 2nd grade friends.

Do you want to see some budding authors coming to life? Then you need to come in to the second grade classroom! After weeks of learning about developing small-moment ideas, enhancing writing with craft moves, as well as editing and revising, the time came for the second graders to show off all of their hard work. Each child had identified a small moment that they wanted to share with the world. They wrote a first draft, second draft, then a published copy of their narrative. Along the way, they edited independently and with a teacher, looking at content, spelling, and conventions. They used mentor texts, such as Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon, as inspiration. Their perseverance came through clearly on Friday when their celebration filled up with their biggest supporters: their families and Pre-K buddies. The room was bursting with proud smiles and high fives as the second graders saw their hard work pay off. Bravo!

Kindergarteners are learning how to write true stories with a beginning, middle, and end. They are learning how to use classroom tools and an array of writing strategies to build a foundation of writing. Learning to edit their work was the toughest challenge, but perseverance paid off. All of their hard work was showcased at their first writing celebration when they presented their first “published” stories to the Pre-kindergarten class. It was a proud moment for us all!

Our budding little scientists have just started learning about force and motion. The kids experimented with “push and pull” using matchbox cars and we talked about what makes an object move in different directions. We got so excited about this topic that we decided to take our little scientific engineers to the Design Lab where each student paired up with a friend and then interviewed their partner to see what their favorite color and animal/character was.

Next, they drew out a prototype of a marble maze they could make for their partner. On Friday, we went back down to the Design Lab to create a marble maze perfect for our partner. Not only did the mazes turn out amazing but more importantly the students felt so good giving (and receiving) something personal and special from their friend. It was the very heart of gratitude!