Renee Goularte's fourth and fifth grade classroom and students at work.....

I always like to start out the school year with students helping to 'set the stage' for learning. The first task is for them to create class rules. This is a two-step process. First we talk about why we are in school, and then go on to make a list of guidelines that will help the class achieve all those goals. These two charts stay on the wall for the year. They are revisited often during class meetings and weekly debriefings, when we reflect on what has worked and not worked for learning during each week.

Book sorting is one activity students do at the beginning of the year. It gives them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the books available in the classroom library, and we end up with books sorted by the students' criteria. The books go into labeled tubs for easy student access.

This activity gives me a lot of information about their experiences with books, their critical thinking skills, and their collaborative skills.

Another beginning of the year activity that is interesting for students and informative for me is to have them do some guided exploration with selected math manipulatives. I have groups rotate so that each group has the chance to explore with each set of materials. There is chart paper and markers available with the materials so that students can jot down interesting things they notice or figure out.



More 4th-5th grade student work

Kindergarten Student Work

Other Student Work Samples

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