Morning/Class Meetings

September 16th - 20th (Purpose)

September 16th (All Grades)

Topic: (Purpose)


Show students the billboard in the photo. (You can click on the embed link below to see the photo enlarged.)


Follow it up with this quote by Nola:


I " I don't dwell on my age. It might limit what I can do. As long as I have my mind and health, age is just a number." Nola Ochs


Follow Up Questions: (3rd - 5th)


1. Nola didn't let the fear of "being too old" limit her. What fears can limit us?

2. Can fears stop us from reaching our goals?

3. What fear has been lying to you lately?


Follow Up Question: (Kinder - 2nd)


1. What are you afraid that you can't do?

2. What positive phrase can you say to help remind yourself that you can do it?

September 17th (All Grades)

Topic: Purpose


Discussion Question: (All Grades)


1. What is something you want to achieve in your life?

September 18th (All Grades)

Topic: Purpose


Discussion Question: (All Grades)


1. What would a person's life look like if they had no purpose?

2. Why is purpose so important to our lives?

September 19th (All Grades)

Topic: Purpose (All Grades)


Watch the video clip below with your students.


Talk to your students about how we often see other people's purpose when they have achieved something, like Mrs. Teal and her teammates.


Discussion Questions: (3rd - 5th)


1. What do you think purpose looked like when this team was still on their journey?

2. What other character traits do you this they have to show to live out their purpose?



Discussion Question (Kinder - 2nd)


1. What type of hard work did Ms. Teal and her team have to show in order to win the National Championship? (If students give examples like practice, etc. Pair it with a character trait for them like Grit.)

September 20th (All Grades)

Topic: Team Building


Below are some team building ideas to pull from. :) Have fun with your class!


Lights, Camera, Writing!
How it Works
Divide your class into teams of no more than five players each. Give each team a note card with a made-up movie title and have them create an outline (including characters, plot, and the lesson learned) and a scene (no more than
three pages). Each group then performs the scene for the class.

- Connect it to class. Titles can be related to what you are studying (e.g., division, civil rights, mammals).
- Get inspired. Or, have kids come up with titles based on popular songs or books.
- End on a cliffhanger. Have students write only the dialogue that leads up to a climax (and let the other groups think of an ending).
- Give it a score. Create a rubric that includes elements of scene writing or performance and have a panel of judges rate the scenes.
- Film it. If you can get three cameras, film the scenes from three different perspectives and have students edit them into a short film.

What They Learn
Elements of a story (characterization, dialogue, theme, plot, moral, exposition,
rising action, climax, resolution), time management, acting/performing, critiquing (assessments), screenwriting, visualizing

North Pole, South Pole
How it Works
Students are given complex questions and answer by choosing only one side. (For example, ask, "Is Fern's father in Charlotte's Web a good or bad person?" All who say good go to one side of the room; all who say bad go to the other.) Whichever team comes up with the most creative and thoughtful answer to the question wins.

- Question everything. Once students are familiar with the game, have them think of questions based on what you are studying (e.g., "Will you use math in your career?" "Would you rather be a T-rex or a triceratops?")
- Put it on a spectrum. Create the option of a spectrum instead of two polar opposites. Invite students in each group to find their own individual point on the spectrum-and also what point they would collectively choose on the spectrum if they had to compromise.
- Get persuasive. Use this game as a precursor to a lesson on persuasive writing. Have the students take notes on all the different answers to complicated questions and discuss the importance of including more than one of these sides in a persuasive argument.

What They Learn
Decision making, compromise, metaphor, positive identity, spectral vs. polar thinking, persuasive writing

Poetic Challenge
How it Works
Students are divided into small groups (between three and four people per group). Each group is given one or more topics and, in 10 to 20 minutes, must come up with one or more poems to present on the topic.

- Brainstorm ideas. Invite students to brainstorm topics
based on a specific unit. Write the topics on note cards and assign them to groups randomly.
- Play with structure. In conjunction with lessons on different types of poetry (i.e., limerick, haiku, sonnet), challenge each group to write a different
type of poem each day. Discuss which forms are the easiest and which are the most challenging to write.
- Say it in spanish. English language learners can write poems in both their language and English. Or a great way to connect ELLs with non-ELLs: Have them each write a poem in their native language and translate one another's poems using only language dictionaries. See whose translations are funnier!
- Think sensory. Reinforce a lesson on sensory language by seeing what poems or descriptions each group can come up with based on random items you've placed in paper bags. Include things like office supplies, fruit, clothing items and small toys, and prepare a different one for each group.

What They Learn
Poetic structure, time management, style vs. meaning, language translation, poetic license, sensory language, flexibility of thinking, oral presentation, articulation

Shake and Share
How it Works
Students each get a note card with a question such as "How did you spend your summer break?" or "What is your favorite memory?" On your go, players walk around the room, until you say stop. Then count to three and tell the students to shake hands and share. Each person gets 30 seconds to read the question on the card and listen to the other person's comment.

- Play it twice. Start a second round in which students exchange their note cards each time they shake and share.
- Write it down. Invite students to write several questions, ranking them from "Easy" to "Difficult." Easy ones would be one-word-answer questions or questions that aren't very personal. Difficult questions would be ones that require more thought or more trust.
- Test their memory. At the end of the questioning, see who can remember the most answers. Or try the same activity playing musical chairs with two lines of chairs facing each other. When you say stop, students must sit and exchange their questions and answers until there are only two remaining. The one who remembers the most information wins.
- Practice interviewing. Give students questions they might find in a job interview. Or if they are researching historical figures, give them biographical questions.

What They Learn
Creative questioning, answering on their feet (literally!), time management, manners, interviewing skills, memory skills, trust building

Out-of-the-Box Thinking
How it Works
Divide the class into teams of no more than six players each. Give each team a stack of boxes of all sizes. Within the time allotted (20 to 30 minutes) each group should build a creature, structure, or original invention using scissors and tape. Each group should explain their creations and be scored for originality, design, and presentation.

- Create a hybrid. In conjunction with a lesson on mutation, have students research two animals and build a hybrid mutation from the boxes, such as ahalf-penguin, half-gorilla.
- Design a city. In conjunction with a lesson on urban planning, have students imagine a floating spaceship that contains all of the structures of a successful city. Assign a city planning focus for each student (i.e., government, education, recreation, waste management, etc.).
- Talk in gibberish. Have the students explain their creation in gibberish
(and expressive body language) while the rest of the class tries to interpret it.
- Sell the concept. Teach advertising by having the students create a commercial to pitch their creation.
- Measure it out. Have the students practice volume by having them create an apartment complex with a maximum number of square inches.
- Go green. Assign an invention that would improve the environment. Then create a contest to find the best way to recycle all the boxes after the projects are finished!

What They Learn
Spatial organization, aesthetics vs. purpose, geometry, measurement, selling, communication, environmental awareness

Hot Seat
How it Works
A single chair is set up in the front of the room. Student A sits in a chair. Student B approaches Student A and gives her a reason to leave the chair. It could be as silly as calling out, "train!" or imitating the class bell, or miming a charging bull. Student A leaves the chair and Student B takes her spot. The game continues with the next student approaching the sitting child with another zany reason to leave the chair. This game is a lot of fun and is excellent as a warm-up activity for older groups. It can be played in an organized way or "popcorn" style, where students approach the chair in no particular order.

- Time it. Nothing gets the adrenaline pumping like a stopwatch. See how fast each student in the class can make someone leave the hot seat.
- Add it up. Practice math skills by giving each person a note card that
contains a single-digit number or a symbol of addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. One by one, students come to the hot seat to show their number or symbol, creating a super-long math problem that students must solve.
- Review for a test. Divide the class in two and put two chairs in the middle facing each other, and assign a number to each member of each team. Come up with 25 or so questions, and you've got a face-to-face game show.

What They Learn
Creative thinking, concentration, listening, ways to practice math or review material, performing under pressure

Recycled Goods
How it Works
Take a simple object (a chair, a fork, a pencil), set a timer for 10 minutes, and challenge students to think of as many possible uses for it as they can-apart from the intended use.

- Visit the junkyard. Take it a step further by taking your students to a junkyard or visiting the school custodian. Have students each bring a box to fill with items they find. They can then write about the pre-bin history of these items, or create something new.
- Research recycling. It may be popular to "go green," but many students take that for granted. Have students research facts about recycling and post these facts in the form of mobiles or wind chimes made of (what else?) recycled materials.

What They Learn
Imagination as the ultimate form of recycling, ways to review material

Ana Travis

School Counselor

Sonntag Elementray