Bullock's Buzz

Friday, September 16, 2016

Let's hear it for PLAY!

Here at the Lower School, PLAY is an important concept. In fact, it's more important than most people think! In our classrooms, play is guided, yet open ended, and closely monitored. Teachers can learn about students' interests, talents, and ability to negotiate with each other. As I write this today, I'm sitting on the PK playground watching our youngest learners climb, slide, run, build, chase, and giggle. If we listen closely, we can hear them talking to themselves and each other as they interact, think aloud, and negotiate their play. The act of play helps to develop executive functioning skills, such as working memory, cognitive flexibility, and self-regulation. Click on the link below for an article in Parents magazine on the benefits of play. http://www.parents.com/fun/sports/exercise/the-importance-of-play/
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This is our NEW Buddy Bench

We have a new, blue bench on the playground this year. It's stamped with the words BUDDY BENCH, and it's a very special bench indeed. The buddy bench concept was invented by an elementary school student in Pennsylvania. He wanted to help lonely children on the playground find friends...and the idea has certainly gone viral! The concept is one of compassion, friendship and inclusion. If a child doesn't have a friend to play with on the playground, and is seeking companionship, he or she simply sits on the Buddy Bench. The students have been trained to offer friendship to students on the Buddy Bench, inviting them to play! It's a simple, but powerful concept! Our Buddy Bench was made possible with funds that we were awarded when Mrs. Gendron won the Lloyd Reuss Award for Teaching Excellence in 2015. If you know Mrs. Gendron, you know she loves to play with students on the playground! A Buddy Bench for the playground was a perfect use of the award funds! Thank you, Mrs. Gendron!

Words of Affirmation-Character in Action!

The Deans have visited 1st and 2nd grade classes to talk about ways we can let others know we appreciate them. Students brainstormed lots of affirmative phrases ("I am so thankful for you," "You are so important to me.") and actions, such as hugs, winks, high fives and thank you notes. The ability to affirm others is an important character trait, and we'll continue to work on this all year!

All-School Morning Meeting

Last week's Bullock's Buzz gave you an idea of the purpose and benefits of the Morning Meeting each day. Every month, we will also hold an All-School Morning Meeting (ASMM) to gather as a community for greetings, sharing, and more! On Wednesday this week, we held our first ASMM, where students and teachers gathered in the big gym as soon as the bell rang. We enjoyed the gathering of about 300 of us altogether...what happy energy. I rang the Responsive Classroom chime once, and the entire gym was silent, eyes forward, ready to start our meeting! We all stood for the Pledge of Allegiance and sang our Lower School song. Mr. Hughes then gave a slide presentation of good playground etiquette. He even told us about the Gaga Pit rules and use of the Buddy Bench. After that, I showed a video presentation that our dean Mrs. Morgan made of all the teachers (the link is earlier in this issue). The children happily shouted each teacher's name as they appeared on the screen. To end our Morning Meeting the children gave a thumbs up of thanks to their teachers. Mrs. Bickley led us in a goodbye song and we all headed back to class.