Both students and staff were excited to be together again this school year, but a few Kromrey teachers noticed something was missing. It had been a long time since students had been in a traditional classroom setting. It made everything feel brand new. 6th-grade teachers Jenna Peterson, Margaret Voss, Susan Guderyon, and Kurt Hellenbrand noticed that many students struggled to connect to their peers. Then knew they wanted to do something to help. That is when team 6W came together!
The teachers worked together to develop community-building activities for students to enjoy during their literacy hours. Since early October, the team and their students have met biweekly and enjoyed board games, small group challenges, and life skill activities. Each meeting, students are encouraged to partner with someone new.
"Our hope is that through these team-building days, kids can step out of their comfort zone and connect with a peer they may not have otherwise," said literacy/math teacher Jenna Peterson.
Last week Social and Emotional Learning Coordinator, Betsy Delzer, stopped by to lead a "words of affirmation" project with students. After receiving the name of a classmate, students were asked to write a compliment or state a "cool fact" about them. If they didn't know their classmate very well, they could ask them a question to learn more about them. The purpose was to not only affirm each other, but continue a sense of community through the experience of belonging. A feeling of being known and seen is vital to creating optimal environments for all learning. Each student left the project understanding the impact of a small act of kindness.
Team 6W has been very excited to see their students grow and plans to continue their community-building events throughout the year.