Teacher Allison Conlon considers her Flower Hill Primary School third grade class to be a kind and compassionate group of youngsters. They have been working on strengthening their classroom community through teamwork and by spreading kindness.
“As a reward for their hard work, the third graders earned a special day; a glow in the dark room transformation,” Ms. Conlon said. “The day was filled with problem solving, perseverance and excitement.”
The classroom was transformed overnight with the help of some of Ms. Conlon’s varsity field hockey players. (The teacher serves as the Blue Devil assistant coach.) The room was darkened with backdrops that allowed UV lights to shine bright and illuminate the class.
“Students came prepared with vibrant colored shirts and colors, accompanied by glow stick necklaces, sunglasses and hats, ready to participate in various glow in the dark activities,” Ms. Conlon said. “Students could barely contain their excitement when they first walked in to the room.”
Math centers for the day focused on multiplication and division reviews. Glow in the dark games included math fluency jenga, multiplication match “spoons,” bowling and word problem tic-tac-toe. Students were also able to ‘glow’ what they know with collaborative two-step word problem posters.
“The class was also able to utilize the bee-bots from the makerspace,” Ms. Conlon said. “Students demonstrated their teamwork and collaboration skills by working in groups to create their own bee-bot paths. Groups designed their own paths with glow in the dark tape that a bee-bot could be coded to follow. They then rotated and took turns trying to code and follow each other’s paths.”
Ms. Conlon’s class was later joined in the glow room by teacher Alexandra Franco’s first grade class. The first graders were also challenged to code and follow the bee-bot paths. Third graders modeled the activity and then allowed the younger students to experiment through trial and error.
“Watching each group collaborate to find the code was really great,” Ms. Franco said. “They used sequencing, estimation and problem solving skills throughout the activity and had fun. My students were so excited to have had this opportunity. All of the students were absolutely glowing!”
Flower Hill Principal Lucia Laguarda stopped in to get a glimpse of the third graders in action. “When this third grade teacher asks me if she can do something, I almost always say ‘yes’ without even listening to the whole idea. I know that whatever she does, she is going to make learning fun for her students. I had no idea how much fun students could have the day after Halloween at school. When I entered the room, the students barely noticed me. They were totally engaged in problem solving, collaborating and coding to make their bee-bot robots move.”
Ms. Laguarda returned a little later to watch the first graders. “When I came back in there, again, the students - all 45 of them - barely noticed I was there,” she said. “Third graders were leading first graders and asking them questions about what they believe would make their bee-bots move. I am not sure if the students had more fun on Halloween or the day after Halloween in Ms. Conlon’s class.”
Seeing the two classes work alongside each other was an awe site. Watching the collaboration and perseverance was one of the highlights of the day,” Ms. Conlon said. “It was amazing to see the third graders provide guidance and support to their younger peers. This is a special class and I love watching these young students learn to work together and become leaders and role models. It was truly a day filled with teamwork, collaboration engagement and most of all fun!”