Beginning Our Fourth Grade Explorations
The month of September can feel like such a magical time in an elementary classroom, as all of the children, still sparkling with summer activity, step into the space that has been made ready for them. A new community forms in all of the small moments of those early weeks, as friends reconnect around familiar interests, or new kindred spirits are discovered. The groundwork is laid for a year of sharing and listening, working through differences together, and discovering ways to hone our learning skills with one another.
Miquon works its own magic in the fall as well, and as the 4th grade has set up this year in the classroom closest to the center of campus, we have felt ourselves even more drawn out of doors to explore in our play and our learning. During these first weeks our group has walked through campus hunting for arrays in math, taking photographs to use to write about our favorite spots, and playing cooperative games to build our community.
In the classroom we have begun to explore some of our big questions for this year. One of the first is: Who are we as learners? Our fourth graders, most of them nine-turning-ten years old, begin to develop meta-cognitive awareness, or the ability to think about their own thinking. They start to have a sense of their learning process, their own gifts and strengths, and are able to name areas in which they hope to grow this year. By identifying their own interests, skills, and areas for development, they foundation is laid for our work as a learning community.
We have found our group this year to have a beautiful way of working together, moving well between small groups, learning partnerships, and whole group activities. After just a few weeks we see examples of supporting each other’s learning as they make book recommendations for a friend, offering feedback in writing conferences for our first stories, and collaborate on building projects in tinkering time.