The month of September is dedicated to or class becoming Team Spencer. In addition to our academic pursuits, a large part of the first month is about team building and finding out how each member of our class fits into the team. The whole purpose of calling our class Team Spencer is to build the idea that we are all in this together as a team and not just a class belonging to a teacher. Everyone in the class sits in the desks, including the teacher. Team Spencer means all of us.
During the first few days we do things like get our jobs and learning our call and response rhythm that we call Boom Snap Clap. We mix and match in groups to get a feel for how each other works and get to know each other. We play paper ball, a team building game, and try to reach goals as a class. Josh also helps us to write a class song in music class as a unifying anthem.
In the first week of school we went to Howell Nature center. Our group focused on activities and challenges that reinforce ideas of working together and team building. We went canoeing and worked together to build fire. We found that the biggest factor in working together was communication. When we went zip-lining, we all made sure we supported each other by cheering each other on while we slid down the zip line.
Theme weeks, like Pirate week and the forthcoming Fort week, give us class holidays and celebrations to celebrate together. We dress up, tell stories and decorate our classroom with pictures from our theme for the week.
The students on Team Spencer also get the tables turned on them when they are asked to teach the class. During this 30 minute presentation, we learn the kinds of things that each student is interested in. We also get a feel for who they are as a person.
Team Spencer has a very spirited extra classmate named Alexander. Alexander is imaginary. That doesn't mean he is not real. He has his own desk, pillow and email. He gets into all sorts of adventures. Sometimes he is very practical, and sometimes he is downright magical. To learn more about Alexander, watch the video on his origins here. I recorded this in December of 2015 for The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers.