With the transition, students have more free time to decide which assignments they will do, in which order, and many assignments are able to be completed with the help of their peers. These collaborations have helped to bond the group closer together which is important as, other than our graduating 8th grader, this group will be the middle school next year. In addition, it is helping them to develop better study habits as they learn that, if they finish their work promptly and well, they will have free time to play board games with their friends (and learn more problem-solving and social skills at the same time!). Further, I have been able to start doing more individualized instruction and feedback to students about their progress since we have more time together and I can observe them for longer periods of time, and I have already seen some improvements in class work as a result of this feedback. I also have seen that students are becoming more confident in their work. The new experience allows us to make a few curricular adjustments, too, as we are beginning a forensics (CSI) unit in science where the students work to solve cases together to take full advantage of having a diverse group of students at various ages in the same room.
In other news, we will also welcome a new fourth grader on Monday and we're excited about his arrival. This will bring our number in grades 4-8 up to 15, which is still a nice number for a one-classroom experience, especially with the large classrooms we have available to us in the upstairs. We still have room for more (we have two full classrooms to use plus some additional lounge spaces!), so if this low-stress, yet academically rigorous style of learning appeals to you, contact the school office for a tour. We love having new friends join us!