First-graders cherish being with their friends above all else, and teachers are focused on developing the students’ foundational skills they will need to flourish in their academic life. And while everything from classroom structure to scheduling looks different this year, these changes have allowed for more focused learning and more opportunities for social interaction.
Mr. Bottiger reports that like the kindergartners, the first-graders are a great group of students who are adaptable and don’t think much about “what’s different” this year. What is most notable is the division of the class into small pods, which has served this year of academic importance well, as the teachers are able to spend more time one-on-one with students and accomplish more throughout the day. Additionally, it has allowed for a more relaxed learning environment where the students and teachers have become like a family.
Inside the classroom, Mr. Bottiger says it is a relaxed bustle of activity. The two pods do the same activities throughout the day, starting with choice time until Chapel begins at 8:30 A.M. The bulk of the day is divided between math, reading, and special units that combine social studies and language arts. They have one hour of a specials class which runs on a two week rotation. Most importantly, they spend two half-hour recesses outside every day. The teachers do their best to give the students as much social time as possible with their peers.
Whether the students are focused on the task at hand or cherishing their free time, the first grade is a busy and happy place. The Class of 2026 love being in each other’s company and the teachers revel in watching the students make incredible strides. And while it might not be the “same,” it is just as, if not more, joyful and productive as it has ever been!