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Upper El (Ms. Shannon) - Community Vibes

Upper El's first week back to school at DGS has been all about community! We started our week with our school community at our Opening Circle where we lit candles with intentions in our hearts. Today, as a class community, we tied our written intentions, hopes and dreams to the "Wishing Tree" (located on the fence along the soccer field).

Each morning we start with the words of Fred Rogers from the book, Life's Journeys According to Mister Rogers. These words are guiding us as we strive to create an environment where each person believes that “just who you are at this moment, with the way that you’re feeling, is fine. You don’t have to be anything more than who you are right now”. Through the practice of mindfulness, we are working towards self-awareness with a goal of self-love and acceptance.

This week, each student joined a committee to help in the classroom and establish guidelines and procedures. The committees were: Norms, Math Area, Birthdays, Care of Environment and Authors’ Library. In our weekly photos you can see the outcomes of their collaborative work. How beautiful to see that Upper El was defined as a place where students are “kind, inclusive and peaceful”.

Another trip around the sun…..let’s talk about birthdays! This committee came up with a list of choices to celebrate.

  • Don’t go out of your way, I’m all good.

  • Let’s go for a walk in the woods.

  • I’m hungry! I’d like to cook/prepare some healthy food for the class (at home or at school with some friends to share with all).

  • Game on! Let’s play some games like All My Friends, Party Guest or….

  • More RECESS!

  • Let’s swing like monkeys on the rope swing and play in the creek.

  • Be creative! Let’s do some arts and crafts.

Fun and sometimes challenging team-building activities helped us get to know each other and helped me learn names. Debriefing these games allowed time for reflecting on communicating/the power of words and listening, collaborating, strengths, areas for growth. We discussed personal zones: comfort zone, growth zone, panic zone. Our goal is to hang in the growth zone, knowing that sometimes we all need to visit our comfort zone, all while noticing when you or someone else is in the panic zone and offering them support. Ask them about All My Friends, Helium Hoop, My Name Is/My Dance Move Is and Ultimate Being.

The quick of it: Me-In-Art, math meetings and practice, grammar sentence analysis, food prep, My Feels emotion stones, Waldorf Stars, cubbies/supplies/organization, engineering and science, SWI Scientific Word Investigation, drama, sustainability, peace circle, read aloud: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy and Sideways Stories from the Wayside School by Louis Sachar, set up Chromebooks and so many meaningful group conversations

From the teacher perspective, I’ve honestly enjoyed each moment with your children. I can truly say as a whole, they are engaged, respectful, reasonable and peaceful. What a gift!

For next week, we plan to walk to the library in town. The kids have been asked to bring their library cards. I’ll email the specific day (not Monday).

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