Here’s more about this week’s featured classroom:
Name: Ms. Tammie Thompson
School: Griffin Elementary
What makes your classroom special? I believe that what makes my classroom special is the enthusiasm for learning and life in general that both myself and my students bring into this space! Not everyone is on top of their game, so to speak, every single day, but enthusiasm is contagious and it has the potential to spread quickly and create a strong emotional foundation upon which to build our social and academic skills.
In addition to the curriculum, what are some things you teach your students? In addition to the district provided curriculum, there are a couple of other important components woven throughout our days in Room 7 that promote academic success and emotional well-being. One of these additional pieces is teaching students about the importance of having a growth mindset for learning, and for life, by focusing on the following five crucial, research-driven attitudes: optimism, flexibility, resilience, persistence, and empathy. “A Mindset For Learning – Teaching the Traits of Joyful, Independent Growth,” by Kristine Mraz and Christine Hertz is an excellent resource that many of our Griffin teachers read and use as a guide.
Another important set of tools we use in Room 7 comes from the Brain Gym program created by Paul Dennison. There's plenty of great information about this program on the official Brain Gym website: www.braingym.org.
During the time we have specifically set aside for Brain Gym, we use a series of simple, energizing movements, along with drinking water, to increase blood flow to the brain, "integrate" the brain and body, and "re-pattern" the brain. Students often experience a significant improvement in communication, concentration, organization, and memory.
What special project is your class working on now? Currently students are working on learning their special parts for the Christmas Tea program that we will perform for families and the entire school on December 19 and 20. This is an annual event that started long before I moved from Rosy Mound Elementary to Griffin 10 years ago. I believe we might even be at 30-plus years with this reader's theater version of “T'was The Night Before Christmas.” The students also sing a number of holiday songs and wrap it up by serving their families punch and cookies.
How is your classroom involved with the community? Our class is always excited to welcome people from our community in to share their important life experiences, to share live animals and teach us about them, to read or tell favorite stories aloud to us! We have volunteers in to help us with our Backpack Books program that gets kids reading good books at home each night. We also have mentors who come in to have lunch with particular students, play games with them and generally become another caring adult in their lives.
How do you hope what your students are learning now will affect their future? I hope students are able and willing to take the skills and tools we are learning and using everyday to help themselves continue to be the best they can be and to live their best life!