Being a productive citizen requires meaningful engagement. Active listening is key to this. At St. James’, we practice listening techniques to build trust and establish rapport with each other throughout the day. Class activities are purposely designed to nurture the habits of higher order thinking skills and hone interpersonal skills that include nonverbal cues such as nodding and making eye contact.
One of the things we encourage at St. James’ is peer observations. This week each teacher had the opportunity to visit one another’s classroom and then share their insights and take aways with the school community. Mr. Krueger provides the context for this important exercise.
I just had the pleasure of watching the morning meeting in Miss Rodgers’ room. The meeting began with Miss Rodgers calling the groups in her class to the front of the room where they formed a circle while standing. I'll call the first activity "Good Morning" Ball. The activity started with one person saying "good morning" to someone in the circle. The first speaker waited until the person spoken to said good morning back to them, then tossed her/him the ball before sitting down. This continued until one person was standing, who then said good morning to the one that started the activity. I was impressed with how this activity gave the students time to respectfully say good morning and make eye contact.
While sitting in the circle, Miss Rodgers had a question for the students. Each one was asked to share what their favorite number was and why. I was impressed with how something as "simple" as this helps everyone become quiet, respectful listeners. Afterwards, the group closed with silent ball, another ball toss game, allowing students to interact and move around as they participate. Miss Rodgers then closed with announcements for this week.
Thanks to the successful completion of the Believe Campaign, we have been afforded the opportunity to intentionally design our spaces for learning in a way that cultivates a sense of community. Although each of our grade levels is split into two sections, they are located next to each other to make collaboration more opportune. As our students grow, we want them to feel confident and comfortable interacting with a diverse population. Our learning spaces seek to foster that, because, as John Dewey noted, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”
A huge thank you to Leslie Cohen, Valerie Seitz, and the rest of the Parent Association for a job well done organizing Family Camp Weekend! The whole weekend is 100% volunteer driven; from organizing the design of a custom sweatshirt (thank you Quinn ‘19) to catering and reserving the campsites - the weekend is a herculean task. Thanks to your tireless efforts, it was another great year of fun and friendship for our community at El Capitan. You can see all the fun from Family Camp Weekend here thanks to our special guest photographer Eric Portegies for his magnificent eye on these.