Tag Archives: Mrs. Cunningham

Student Engagement According to First Graders

A couple of posts ago, I linked to an interesting post by Heather Wolpert-Gawron in which her eighth graders give suggestions for engaging students in class.  Mrs. Cunningham, a first grade teacher at my school, decided to find out what her group felt about ways to stay engaged, and videotaped their responses.  The video is below, or you can go directly to her post here (please give the class a comment, as they love feedback!).  Mrs. Cunningham and I were both amazed about the similarities between the 1st grade and 8th grade responses.  (She did not share the 8th grade ones with her students.)  I am also quite impressed by the vocabulary and speaking skills of Mrs. Cunningham’s kids.  Great job, Mrs. Cunningham’s Class!

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Differentiated Furniture!

One of our 1st grade teachers, Mrs. Cunningham, is piloting an unusual classroom at Fox Run Elementary this year.  Much of the furniture is on wheels – including tables (instead of desks) and dry erase boards.  She has just posted an awesome video on her blog showing the amazing ways this has transformed her room.  From the beginning of the day – when the students walk in and immediately begin rolling the tables around to suit their morning routine – to their center activities, the students in Mrs. Cunningham’s video show the versatility such a classroom allows.  Two tables easily make a computer pod, a dry erase board becomes a station, students who have demonstrated responsibility roll their tables out into the hallway to work, and anyone who learns best by standing or sitting on the floor is welcome to abandon his or her chair.  You will also note that students who are commenting at the end of the video are using the microphones that go with her classroom amplification system – yet another powerful tool.

Our principal, John Hinds, saw a classroom similar to this at a university, and realized its potential.  Coupled with a teacher who works tirelessly to provide a differentiated learning environment for her students, this classroom is an ideal example of student-centered learning at its best.  Kudos for Mr. Hinds for having the vision (and providing the funding), and to Mrs. Cunningham and her students for being the trailblazers for our campus – and hopefully for many more elementary school classrooms in the near future!

If you are unable to view the embedded video below, please click here.  Also, I am sure Mrs. Cunningham’s class would love it if you visited their blog and left a comment here.

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