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Cross-building Collaboration Recognized at Board of Education Meeting

At the regular Board of Education meeting on March 7, Todd Hall principal Chris Harmon and Lincoln Hall principal Mark Atkinson showcased a recent curricular collaboration between Kindergarteners and 8th graders.


The brainchild of 8th grade STEM teacher Kenji Mori and Todd Hall STEM teacher Chris Edman, the collaboration grew from a desire to engage students in more cross-building opportunities for connections and relationship-building, while keeping a focus on STEM at the forefront.


“We wanted to go a little more in-depth and get more into the heart of STEM,” Edman explained to the Board. “Those real-world skills, not even the hard science things, but the four C’s. Things like critical thinking, creativity, and most importantly for this project, communication and collaboration. Without that among all of us, none of this would have been possible.”


Mori said that a recent half-day schedule provided the perfect opportunity for the experience, during which 8th graders hosted STEM stations for their Kindergarten buddies.


The stations were inspired by the seasons of the year to reinforce topics the Kindergarteners had recently learned. They were: Spring - Building LEGO Flowers; Summer - Cardstock Slide Creations; and Winter - Making a Marshmallow Snowflake.


“I liked this experience because I could see the teamwork between us and the kids,” 8th-grader Emily E. said. “I enjoyed seeing their perspectives and the way they do things.”


Fellow 8th-grader Eleanor F. noted that the experience was not without its challenges. “Sometimes I had a hard time getting my buddy’s attention or keeping them engaged in the activity we were working on,” she said with a laugh. Still, she described the experience as being “awesome on both ends.”


“After talking with my buddy, it was clear that the Kindergarteners would love to hang out with us 8th graders again, and I would love to visit the Kindergarteners again, too.”


Both the Kindergarten and 8th grade teams reported the overall feedback to be incredibly positive. To continue the momentum, a second collaboration experience is being planned for an upcoming half-day. This time, the focus will be on literacy, with the 8th graders leading a “Readers’ Theater,” which will involve them reading books with their buddies and performing skits of their favorite scenes.