Julie Rust, Associate Head of Middle and Upper Schools for Teaching, Learning, and Innovation
It’s 2:25 pm on Friday afternoon. You are twelve years old. You’ve spent the week running from class to class, trying to bring the right supplies to each place, going to sports practices, doing the homework, engaging in whatever it is the teacher has dreamed up. You breathe a sigh of relief. TGIFCF (Thank Goodness it’s Free Choice Friday.) You run off to the free choice you got assigned to, one of several options that you listed as an interest on a recent survey.
The daily routine of calendar time is something early childhood and elementary teachers are all too familiar with. The skills students acquire during this time are crucial to their development in math, problem solving, vocabulary, and literacy. The repetitive routines of calendar time are so beneficial for students, but when implemented each day, these routines sometimes need a little “sprucing up” to maintain enthusiasm and interest. If you’re looking for opportunities to make this time meaningful and engaging for students, here’s a peek into what PK3 teachers, Lea Crongeyer and Taylor Davis, are doing to actively involve our youngest saints in the creation of their classroom calendars each month.
Upper School teacher Linda Rodriguez isn’t just turning a blind eye to students passing notes in her class; she’s encouraging it through the use of “backchannel chat” in her senior English class this semester. A backchannel chat— similar to passing notes in elementary school—is a conversation that happens concurrently with whatever is going on in the class but is not officially part of the lesson. “I’ve implemented it as part of my ongoing quest to find new ways to engage introverted students in the class conversation,” said Rodriguez.