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Our Free Union Way

What's a School to Do?

sacred stumpsThe Sacred Stumpsacross the streamMixed-age soccer games, second and third graders reading to preschool buddies, fifth graders in charge of bi-monthly pizza sales―what's a school who prizes community going to do in the time of COVID? Improvise, guide, write, and share across class cohorts or from one tent to another!

guideFree Union fourth-graders were first to explore the newly created playground Zone 2. Having played in this diverse zone, with its meadow, woods, and stream, the fourth graders were bursting with advice for the next occupants of this outdoor play space. But how to share what they knew? By creating a study guide for the first graders who would be next to occupy Zone 2. Fourth graders wanted to tell younger students what to study, what to avoid, and what to look forward to.

After two weeks in Zone 2, the class built an entire lexicon including the “Sacred Stumps” and “Rivers Michelangelo James,” a snapping turtle living in the stream. The kids wrote furiously for 45 minutes one day, and then instead of giving their notes to the teacher for transcription, they insisted on writing the guide themselves (pages of which appear in this report).

Ellie and Emory immediately volunteered to write the letter and design the cover of the travel guide. Everyone else wanted to chip in and tackle other parts, so they divided the travel guide into what they all agreed were important don't-miss sections:

  • A Cover Letter (Emory and Ellie)
  • Games to Play (Duncan and Hudson)
  • Things to Watch out for (Béla)
  • Advice (Nancy and Calum)
  • Cool things to look for (Eli)

beware advice

They worked dedicatedly on it for final delivery to the first grade on the Friday prior to the change in zones. The gratitude of the first graders told how valuable the guide had been and how they couldn't wait to meet the authors―at a masked and appropriately distanced gathering, of course.