Friday, August 23, 2013

Building Community

Today will be our third day of school. This year once again the first day of school was different.  I totally over planned so much that I will continue Wednesday plans today.   Each new group of fifth graders (remembering really they are still fourth graders) take on their own personality even on day one.  I almost view that as a mystery that I will need to unpack as the days move forward. 

The only thing that was similar to last year was that we built bridges with marshmallows and toothpicks.  I divided the students into 4 groups and asked them to build a bridge that would support books.  We used Clementine books which was interesting because one student told me that was her favorite book in 4th grade so I learned a little more about her reading life. 

After 20 minutes, I asked the students to discuss their strategies that they used for building their bridge.  Some the responses included:

-We had to stop and listen to each other.
-I had to slow down because the toothpicks were getting too sticky.
-We needed to cooperate.
-We took a bunch of strategies and put them all together.
-We needed to know the end result and work backwards.

After this conversation and charting their thoughts,  we talked about how these ideas will be our class rules "motto" this year. I asked them to remember the feeling of accomplishment as well as the hard work it took to build the bridge. We then  placed the books on the bridges.  The goal was one book-all four bridges held 2-4 books.  It's going to be a great year!! 


  1. I'm super impressed by both their reflectiveness AND their engineering skills! What a great day!

  2. Wonderful - this is a class generated list of mottos, and a beginning of the year activity that they will never forget. Your year is off to a great start,Maria!