“A house does not make a home,” the saying goes. Students and staff at Elliott Elementary School would disagree.
This year, the school in central Lincoln is building community and a more positive environment through the creation of “houses.” Once a month, students split up into their assigned mixed-grade groups - their houses - and participate in activities with varying themes.
In August, teachers and students got to know each and agreed on a house name - for example, the Rainbow Phoenixes. In September, students created their house flag. In October, houses focused on the theme of hope and what’s necessary for hopefulness. Students made “Take What You Need” posters with tabs that could be ripped off the bottom - each tab with words such as kindness, love and support. In November, the theme was self-belief.
“There’s definitely been a lot of work on peer-to-peer relationships, as well as student-to-teacher relationships and just having those older kids setting that great example for the younger students,” said second-grade teacher Annette Luce, who leads the Rainbow Phoenixes house. “It’s been really nice having those leadership opportunities.”
During November house time, Luce began by having students sit in a circle, with each of them asking the names of the students to their left and right. The students then went around the circle and repeated the names. Other activities that day had students describe themselves with one positive word and say one of their talents.
Tracy, a fifth-grade student in the Rainbow Phoenixes house, said she’s enjoyed being able to mentor the younger students in her group.
“It feels kind of proud that you can help a younger kid. To me, it feels kind of accomplishing, like I did something big,” she said.
As part of the November self-belief theme, Luce shared with students a valuable lesson about mistakes.
“It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to not be perfect at everything,” she said. “The important thing is we never give up.”
That sounds like a home.
Published: December 4, 2018, Updated: December 4, 2018