During the month of November, our lower school community is practicing “30 Days of Gratitude”. This 30 day focus is an intentional way for us to dive deeper into our gratitude practices as we’ve set gratitude as the theme for the complete school year. A recent email from our wonderful school counselor, Chelsea Freeman, to our faculty about gratitude has inspired me to brainstorm 30 things I’ve seen in classrooms and around the school that stir gratitude within me; gratitude for this place, the students and families we serve, and the amazing teachers who are doing amazing things “in the trenches” each day. Typically, brainstorming 30 items of any topic would be a challenge for me, but not when you have the job I have. It’s been truly humbling this year to visit classrooms, watch our lower school teachers in their craft, and coach a group of educators who honestly teach me more than I could ever teach them. Here are 30 snippets of awesomeness at the lower school that fill my heart with gratitude.
- Art Science and it’s beautiful blend of creativity and the scientific world
“This is a beautiful flower!”-PK4 student as he admired his own work in Art Science
2. The sense of community and belonging fostered in classrooms through daily Responsive Classroom practices
3. Student masterpieces serve as our wallpaper.
4. Students aren’t afraid to step up to the challenge of leadership.
5. Dedicated staff who pour their time and energy into working with students
6. Student-directed classrooms foster ownership, choice, and responsibility of one’s own learning.
7. Students think it’s a party when really it’s a wellness lesson!
8. Intentional lesson and activity planning by expert teachers build skills necessary for our students to succeed.
9. Students collaborate and share ideas to support their friend’s learning.
10. Students having a blast while learning
“I can’t wait to be in the play!!”-PK4 student as her teacher tied her scarf as part of her costume for the retelling of La Tortuga
11. Writers’ Workshop provides rich instruction while building confidence as writers.
12. St. Andrew’s teachers motivate students as they demonstrate passion and enthusiasm about their topics.
13. Amazingly beautiful classroom spaces
14. Teamwork: Teachers at St. Andrew’s plan and collaborate together to integrate across subject areas.
15. Watching students journal about math…and LOVE it!
16. Students in some classes learn from other children all over the world.
17. St. Andrew’s teachers are dedicated to meeting students where they are.
18. St. Andrew’s teachers have the courage to try new things.
19. If I’m having a rough day, I can hang out in a PK classroom, and instantly my heart is full.
20. Daily hugs, high-fives, and handshakes, also known in our community as “H, H, or H”
21. Student support staff who have a dedication and passion for students, faculty, and families like I’ve never witnessed before.
22. Opportunities to lead students in innovative work
23. Teachers who love to get down and have fun with their students
24. Students’ hopes and dreams are considered when creating classroom rules that help everyone achieve their goals for the year.
25. Student talent is showcased on a regular basis.
26. Weekly time together as a community in Chapel
27. Outdoor learning spaces
28. Creative projects in classrooms promote problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration.
29. Buddy classes build community and lasting bonds across grade levels.
“Hey, I know you! You’re my buddy!”-Kindergarten student to my 3rd grade child as we all crossed paths in the hallway after school
30. Teachers engaging students daily in rich conversations about their learning
I’m truly grateful for the whole-school perspective that my role provides. I come to work each day witnessing passionate, dedicated teachers pouring their hearts into their work. I interact with children who are way cooler, smarter, and more creative than I ever was at their age. I partner with families and get to work on support teams that help students progress and reach goals. I bet you’re thinking, “Man, she really loves her job”. You are correct. How could one not love this type of work?! You may also be thinking, “Man, this is a long blog post”. Correct again. I clearly have a lot to be thankful for thanks to all of you.