CULTURE AND COMMUNITY CONTEXT Rice Elementary is part of the Poudre School district and i located in Wellington Colorado. At Rice they have high academic and behavior standards for their students. Challenges for every student, relevant subject matter and hands on projects keep students engaged and excited about learning. Rice is a positive behavior school with a vision for their students that they develop thinking skills and become confident and empowered learners.
At Rice they have several after school programs called enrichment provided for their students. This after school program offers about 8 to 10 different after school learning opportunities that last about 5 weeks that cater to the various interests of the students. Other after school programs include, outdoor learning, Raptor Squad, Choir and the learning garden. The various after school programs at Rice allow for students to collaborate, learn and practice skills and face new challenges outside of the normal school but still within the school community.
Based on statistics Rice is not a particularly diverse school with a student demographic of 85% Caucasian, 11% Hispanic and 2.4% two or more races. The teacher student ratio is about 18 students for every teacher and about 33% of students participate in free and reduced lunch.
CLASS ENVIRONMENT The classroom has natural lighting and windows and a door on the north side of the classroom. There are 4 tables on each side of the classroom surrounding a large table that is in the middle, with an openings on the north and south side of the middle table so the teacher can walk around the space and monitor and help students. Each table is labelled by a supply bin that is a specific color and students have assigned seats. There are about four students per table so students have to work and as groups and learn to collaborate and work with others. The smart board and document camera are both on the west side of the room right next to the teachers desk. The kiln room is in the south corner of the west side of the classroom. On the east side of the classroom there a supply counter where all of the students can easily find the supplies they need and grab themselves during work time. On the North side of the classroom there are two drying racks one that is large and another that is small for students to store their projects and enough space for several classes to put projects in a day. On the West back wall there are large cabinets that have shelves organized by grade and class for storing all student work is stored. About two minutes before the end of class the SOAR leaders turn off the lights and students know that this means they should be in their seats sitting quietly. SOAR leaders then look for quiet clean tables and hold up signs with colors that correspond with the tables colors, the first table called receives SOAR tokens. The leaders continue to call tables until all of the students have lined up.
SCHOOL WIDE POLICIES FOR MANAGEMENT, SAFE SCHOOLS, AND STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS Rice is a positive behavior school so they implement many strategies to promote positive behavior and create a positive atmosphere in the classroom. Students get SOAR tokens for practicing SOAR behavior an acronym that means........ The tokens are taken to the classroom for special prizes and rewards. At the start of every class two students are selected to SOAR leaders for the day. This means that they have special duties for the day and have to leader behavior for other kids in the classroom. SOAR leaders at the start of class given a student they see practicing SOAR behavior a token. After presenting the student with a token the SOAR leaders inform the student why they received the token and then present the student and the reason to the class. Teachers can also give out tokens whenever they see a students practicing positive behavior and present this to the class so other students recognize positive behaviors and start to use them. This strategy helps students practice leadership and recognize positive behavior. Teachers use love and logic in the classroom promoting positive behavior instead of negative behavior.
For students with special needs there are many resources availible. Rice has an I.L.S. program that provides aids for students and free busing, 2 special needs teachers, 4 in classroom paras and a full time S.L.P. teachers for students Pre-K through 5th Grade.
4th Grade Popsicle Stick Light Sculptures Students learned how to create sculptures out of Popsicle sticks that could act as a light. After creating the structure students had to incorporate 3 different colors of yarn that worked with the form and function of their sculpture. Students had to plan out their projects and try several different designs to find one that met the objectives, students practiced creative problem solving skills and working with new materials.
2nd Grade Endangered Animal Inspired Masks Students learned about endangered animals in Colorado and as an effort to save the animals and inform the public we created masks inspired by the fort Collins artist Allie Ogg's cardboard critters. Students were split up into four groups and were each assigned an animal that their group would focus on saving. Students began by learning background knowledge about their animals and then from observation used various objects to create colors and textures they saw on their animals. Students then learned to draw their animal cut out their shapes and attach them to foam to create 3D works pf art.