When new students enter our Lower Elementary classroom, they’re in for a surprise. Our goal is to intensify their academic capabilities – while maintaining a deep love of all the work they do (seemingly contradictory goals!). They get ‘work plans’, a list of things they can complete in the week or day, and choice to do them in the order they wish. Group lessons and games keep them totally motivated.

Since they’re still so young, some are still navigating their friendships. Where do they belong? How do they communicate if they’re upset, without being rude. Others are trying to figure out what they enjoy doing.

I love checking in with each child individually and discovering what it is they know, what more they *want* to know, and how to get them to what they *need* to know.

Within only two weeks, I see miracles and I love it! Hesitant writers hiding under tables (their writer’s workshops) with furrowed brows, hearing the sounds in their mind and writing pages of words.

Mathematicians completing new lessons in their Math in Focus workbooks, and then deciding as a group to play card games, where they practice up to 50 difficult (subtraction regrouping!) problems with ease.

Counting, reading, Math facts, writing, drawing stories, participating in group work – like a beehive with many things happening, but each child on task, the classroom buzzes with excitement, discovery and accomplishment.

Here are some pictures of this year’s work so far.  Check out more posts in the Lower Elementary category for more discoveries.