The Classroom Culture

Kathy stands at the front of our circle of chairs around the board room table. It is the last day of class and despite the laughing, there is a sense of sadness in the room. We all are going to leave for spring break the next day and may never convene in the same room together again. Our assignment for the day was called “the non-a-paper project.” We had to show something we learned in class through any medium but a paper. Basically, we could do whatever we wanted and be as creative as we wanted.

The first person to go was Olivia, she had us do an art project on a fixed v. growth mindset. The idea was to create an art piece on a sheet of paper that reminded us how that we should have a growth mindset, so aim to think of obstacles as places for growth not as the end of our journeys. The picture of her art is below, personally, mine was not pretty enough to be put on the internet. 

Next, Dova had us create cardboard arcade games. On the first day of her observations, her 3rd-grade class was presenting on their cardboard arcade games. For us, we split into groups of 3 and had 5 minutes to create a game. Personally, I felt our group had the best game and we ended up playing with it after class also, called “Get Iced.” 

For my project, I had each person write a personal fact, peculiar fact, and favorite memory from observations. Each person put their papers in a bowl and we picked one up at a time and pointed at the person we thought had written it. The goal of my project was to show how interpersonal relationships between students and teachers create a better learning environment. From my observations, I realized that teachers who had personal relationships with their students had a less disruptive classroom and the students were more focused. Therefore, I wanted to show our class because we became close to each other, we had a more productive learning environment.

The other projects included learning sign language, doing brain games to test our observational skills, writing one act of kindness we did in the past day, etc. This was a really fun way to end a fun and interactive class. After spending the past week working on a research project and presentation, we were able to be creative and have fun one last time together. Kathy had plenty of jokes that had us cracking up and in tears. She even had herself in tears multiple times, but those jokes will stay between our classmates. 

Reflecting on this class, I am so grateful I chose to take the chance to come the first day and see if there was an open spot than not take it. The value of experiential learning was so valuable to combine the discussions and practicum. What gave the class life was our professor Kathy and my other classmates. Without an engaging professor and welcoming class community, learning can be stunted. In the end, I learned classroom culture is created by a professor and is translated by the students. Classroom culture is created not given, and it is a special and powerful skill to create *the* classroom culture like we were lucky to experience.

-Lucy

Nick and Avery working on their game.      Olivia and our game, Get Iced.    Olivia’s art activity on a fixed v. growth mindset.

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