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First Day of School at Design39Campus a Success!

We were so worried about the traffic that we got to school 40 minutes early.  Miraculously, no traffic!  I did hear a few comments about the parking lot being a zoo and feeling unsafe with porta-potties in some of the handicapped spots and no crosswalks, but I did not experience this myself.

We were excited to watch the boys play on the playground to acclimate to the school, but alas, today we had thunder and lightning.  This allowed us to go into the classrooms 20 minutes before school started, which was really nice.   The 2nd & 3rd graders sort of sat there waiting (they are grouped together in classes containing both 2nd & 3rd grade), and as time passed they started to take out their computers on their own, which was cute to watch.  It still amazes me that I first used a computer in class in law school; here my son is in 2nd grade and this is all he will know.

Ethan is in a 2nd/3rd grade class combo and his class shares a long horizontal space with the class “next door” (the door can drop down to physically separate the class but remained open all day).  They have this type of classroom at Stone Ranch Elementary School as well.  Ethan, my second grader, said that the teachers co-taught to both classes during the day.  It was hard to get a lot of detail out of him, but he said that he spent the recess and lunch playtime mostly walking around since the play structures are not in place yet, and he played basketball for a few minutes.

One thing that I loved is that Ethan told me that at the end of the day the Learning Experience Designers (“LED’s” or “teachers”) asked the kids what their perfect day would have looked like.  Ethan said that his response was that they would have had a longer recess, and they would have spent more time in the collaboratory.  When I asked what they did in the collaboratory, he said they played a game in a circle of six kids where they threw a teddy bear and said their names to each other.  Ethan was close to raising his hand to say it would also be perfect if they could build an ice skating rink by Friday but he decided against it.   It is so nice that this school values the childrens’ opinions.

When we took Jordan (kindergarten) to his class in the morning he was really nervous; this manifested itself in rejecting the teacher’s idea to design his own name tag.  Jordan did not want to make the name tag at first, then when he did make the name tag he didn’t want to wear it (apparently it was too wrinkly and he took it off.)  Mrs. Kasner, Jordan’s Learning Experience Designer (“LED,” or teacher) said that the other LED’s needed to know his name and he could make another one.  Jordan quietly continued to resist the idea…but he was wearing it at the end of the day so he must have gotten over it.  Mrs. Kasner had all of the students stand in a big circle with the parents and we played the game “Just like me” where we went around and said something about ourselves, and those who had that same thing in common raised their hands.  Mrs. Kasner then explained that we all have so many things in common, and when we go throughout the day and we get excited to have these connections with other people, you can link your fingers together to make two circles to quietly let the other kids know about it instead of yelling out.  At the end of the day I was able to observe through the windows, and Jordan was looking at Mrs. Kasner as she was talking and he was beaming smiling.  He did not give me a lot of details about the day, but said it went by fast.

Overall the first day was a success!

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