Lower School News

Grade 1 is Grateful!
Rachel Freeman, Editorial Manager

In this time of Thanksgiving, first graders are building on their social-emotional learning (SEL) by taking on a 21-day gratitude journal challenge. Each day for the 21 days leading up to Thanksgiving, first graders spend the first 15 minutes of each day responding to a prompt that allows them to reflect on what they are grateful for. 

“This activity is rooted in the idea that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit,” said first-grade teacher Diana Friedman. “They love this practice so much that many students will take this activity home once the 21 days are up.” 

“We scaffold the prompts so there are multiple entry points for students to engage,” said first-grade teacher Emily Mitchell. “The prompts each day are tied to the curriculum and to our school.” 

Prompts have included: “What do you appreciate about PE?” and “I am grateful for choice because…” Below is a selection of what the first graders have written in their gratitude journals:

“I appreciate the Nueva Community Committee because they help us with our problems.” 

“I’m grateful for PE because there’s sports.”

“Fridays are very fun and fantastic because they have choice time.” 

“I’m grateful for SWI because I like script so much!”

“I’m grateful for the garden because I like the classroom.”

As part of the Lower School structured word inquiry (SWI) program, first graders also did a deep dive into the word “gratitude.” SWI is a scientific investigation of words: how word parts, structure, origin, and history come together to tell the story of what words mean. For their investigation of “gratitude,” students began by asking “What does gratitude mean?” They soon discovered that gratitude and grateful have the same word base gratis, which is Latin for thankful. They also discovered that the word “congratulations” contains this same base. 

This work will be on full display when first graders welcome their grandparents and special friends to campus next week. During the visit, students will teach their special friends about the word gratitude, and together they will create a word matrix, which illustrates word sums. This is a great way to share with the special friends, who will learn what a Nueva education is all about. 

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