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September 19, 2003
2nd Grade Community
At Back to School night for my daughter I was pleased to learn the theme of the year for second graders was community. Of course, I geeked out on some of the mechanisms.
Every student has a red card and a green card in their desk drawer. When they do something wrong or right, they have to display it on their desk. There is also a chain of paper clips hanging from a tack on the wall. When the class does something great, they add a paper clip, when its something not-so-great, they take one away. If the chain reaches the floor they get to have an ice cream party. And, get this, a student can choose if they want a card or a paper clip. At first, nobody chose to take away paper clips. The first ones who did, for personal benefit, were chided (something second graders are pretty good at). But lately a communal empathy has arisen where kids encourage demoting the community when an individual really needs it, at the detriment of ice cream.
Other neat things included having them draw social network graphs of their friends. All hub and spoke in the first iteration. There is also a big collage of their community, the streets, buildings, people. One of the items is a Post It with a misspelled Nordstroms. It is Palo Alto, after all.
I won't bore you with other details, just proud of my daughter learning about the world she lives in. Would be cool to see tools adapted for this experience. I am volunteering for the computer lab again this year, planning on introducing them to a wiki. Start them early.
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