It's the beginning of the school year, and the 3rd grade walls and bulletin boards are bare. They are ready for a new class to come make their mark -- to make their classroom their own. Having a sense of ownership over one's environment can help students to feel safe and secure when they are at school. And as you probably know, a child who feels safe and calm is ready to learn!
We spent the first couple of days of school creating our class birthday chart, daily schedule display, and environmental print labels. These activities allowed the students to have fun and be creative, while simultaneously allowing us to practice our classroom procedures. For example, in order to decorate a label we need to first learn where the art supplies are and what the rules are for how to use them. In order to sit and work, we need to first learn where we are allowed to sit and what the rules are for that type of seating. If a student finishes her work early, she learns what her "I'm Finished" choices are. Transitioning from one activity to another, we learn procedures for following a signal and cleaning up. In this way, the students were creating their environment and familiarizing themselves with their environment at the same time.
(In the slideshow below you'll see that one student is working on our collaborative puzzle, one of our "I'm Finished" choices).
In addition to helping decorate the room, the students also got the chance to explore the different areas of the room and discover their purpose through a scavenger hunt! Working in pre-assigned pairs, the students had to locate 6 specific areas of the room and complete a task at that area. Each task was designed to help them understand more about how to use that area. For example, one task was to locate the construction paper, cut out a design, and put the scraps in the scrap paper bin. In doing this task, the students learned where the paper and scissors are kept, as well as what to do with their leftover scraps! Watch the video below to see them in action!
You can read more about the 3rd grade classroom environment in this week's Shabbat Shalom. Have a great week!
Little people, big minds.