“Good morning, Storm Troopers! How are you feeling today?” Mrs. Elizabeth Buffington greets the third grade classroom at Lone Pine Elementary on May 4, referencing the popular “May the fourth be with you” theme. Class begins with the morning meeting. Alex Borchenko, the student of the day, sits in a special rocking chair to lead the meeting. With a little help the excited student says, “Zdravo,” which means “Hello,” in the language of the day, Serbian. Murmurs and giggles sprinkle the classroom as everyone greets their friends sitting on both sides of them.
Mrs. Buffington explains the day’s schedule and there is particular excitement about the presentation of “Buffington’s Blog.” Next, it’s time for announcements: a few students have the opportunity to tell the group about something special. Logan Banks tells his friends about a game he played at home. Ashton Bender shares that he received a new book as a surprise. Ari Sherman recalls their recent field trip to the Nature Center and wants everyone to know about an app to identify birds. Mrs. Buffington loves this connection! At the end of the meeting, there is a classroom cheer, following the Star Wars theme of the day, “Go Rebellion!”
Students grab their snacks from backpacks and head back to their desks. While the students enjoy their snack, two students proudly present “Buffington’s Blog,” a newsletter they have been working on all week. The information is all about fun things that occur in and around the classroom. In this edition of the blog, there is an interview featuring Paul (Lone Pine’s therapy dog) and his thoughts about his birthday, the field trip to the Nature Center, fellow student’s accomplishments and even an advertisement for a student’s YouTube video. Mrs. Buffington asks the class to give feedback to their peers, “that will help them grow,” and praises the amount of detail provided in the newsletter.
The next lesson involves watching an animated singing video which focuses on building confidence and believing in yourself. Mrs. Buffington passes out post-it notes for the students to use to answer the question, “what am I proud of?” The notes are placed all together in the classroom for all to see and the students gather around to read the affirmations. Inquiry and reflection comes next in the schedule. Students take out their notebooks and prepare to write their thoughts. Mrs. Buffington plays a short video about a football player who describes how he gave up his career for a life of service. Mrs. Buffington helps summarize the video and asks the students to think about what they might like to do to change the world.
Quiet music fills the room, as Mrs. Buffington says, “happy reflecting.” The third grade students concentrate and begin to write. Mrs. Buffington circles the room, speaking softly to the students as they write. While “May the fourth” is a special day in Mrs. Buffington’s class, it’s clear that every day is a day to feel special in Mrs. Buffington’s class.