Boothbay’s Educator in Residence: Skyler
I have had the great opportunity to work at Boothbay Region Elementary School this winter. From my first week of EIR I have truly felt the warmth of the strong community they have created. At BRES I work with students from pre-K to 8th grade. Each day my schedule is filled with P.E., library, art, music, and guidance classes. During these “specials” I have been given many opportunities to run the classes helping the students to practice teamwork, friendly competition, patience for others, along with kindness and respect through The Leadership School curriculum. I am also able to connect with students in a more relaxed setting during lunch groups with 4th through 7th graders and by sitting with pre-K through 3rd graders during their lunch blocks. I have been pleasantly surprised by the excitement the students have for the lunch groups. Many of them, especially the 4th graders, will ask me every day when their class gets to have lunch group again. I have loved getting to know students during this time. It has become a time where they get to be the teachers. Teaching each other new games and sharing about their lives with me and their classmates. These face to face opportunities where students share with not only their friends but with all of their classmates is critical in creating a safe and inclusive community that we must help make for children, especially in these scary times of school shootings.
In more recent weeks I have started working with each 7th grade homeroom once a week during their study hall time. Each homeroom teacher has given me goals to work on with their students, and I have been facilitating activities based on the skills their teachers want them to practice. Through these classes I hope not only to practice TLS values and skills, but to also get the students excited about their week at Kieve which is coming up quickly at the end of March. Although I will be sad when EIR ends, I look forward to seeing the 7th graders again on the Kieve campus and watching them grow during their time at The Leadership School.
Hope’s Educator in Residence: Dave
I am new in the Hope Elementary School community. Brand new actually—I started two weeks ago! Despite my newness, the school has welcomed me whole-heartedly. The teachers have been incredibly excited about brainstorming with me to find ways I can get involved, and help with the social and emotional needs of their students.
Since my first day, I have been working with every level of the elementary school and middle school. I see grades PK-4 four days a week. Most other grades I see at least once a week, usually more.
With K-4 classes, my main goals are to provide movement breaks and activities that shift the focus away from class content for a bit. Especially with those lower grades, I use activities where they have to play well with each other without focusing on competition, and that give them a chance to use their voices and share about themselves.
In the middle school, the 6th grade is setting goals for this semester so that they can make sure to be on time to class, and prepared to do good efficient work. We started by learning about SMART goals—specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Along these guidelines, the class discussed what they needed to do to be prepared and on time consistently in every class. They set up a timeline for their goal, and established checkpoints to reach along the way so that they could track their progress. The best part is that the class was motivated to change. As a result, they worked together to establish reasonable group goals, and to help keep each other accountable.
As the 8th grade preps to enter high school, we have been doing some more challenging team building activities. We are focused specifically on compartmentalizing tasks within a group while still managing all the pieces to work towards a larger picture. Hopefully, this will help the 8th graders to build their skill and confidence in advocating for themselves as individuals to work productively with other people—a skill that will be vital in high school.
On the first Friday I was there, I worked with the technology specialist Mr. Porter to set up a breakout activity for the 8th graders. The breakout activities are similar to escape rooms. They are specific scenarios that require group problem solving to find and piece together clues. Each clue works with other clues sequentially to allow students to discover the combinations to various locks on boxes. There is a time limit on this activity, which adds pressure and demands that various small groups are working on multiple tasks at once. Honestly, the activity seemed so fun that it was hard to step back and not join in in solving all the puzzles. It was a great way to lead into a weekend.
Over the last two weeks, I’ve decided my biggest challenge is getting to know the students. Best way to start? Learn their names. Even though it seems like such a simple, small thing, I think it’s the most important part of my job this winter. I want to be able to walk through the hallway and say Hi to and check in with particular kids, and show that care for them as individuals. If I can do that, then hopefully, kids will be able to see me as a regular part of their lives, and I will stand a much better chance of making a difference in the community.