School Initiatives – Straight from the Wolves Den

By Brenda Kunz, Corps Member serving at Henry Wilson Elementary School

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What is helping 3rd through 5th graders establish positive habits in regards to attendance, coursework and behavior at Henry Wilson Elementary School? How are these students’ excitement, accountability and energy maintained throughout the week? The answer is simple: classroom initiatives! These initiatives are programs implemented by corps members in their  classrooms to encourage good behavior and academic traits. During their first month of in-school service, corps members have been brainstorming ideas, and have begun putting these ideas into action the past few weeks. Initiatives are a way to add fun while still holding students to high standards and expectations. Let’s take a look at what our very own Wilson Wolves are doing in their classrooms!

Corps members Sarah Park and Fabrice Julien serve in 3rd grade classrooms. Their initiative, called Presents for Presence. This initiative rewards students for arriving to their classrooms on time each day. Students who arrive on time may enter into a raffle to be the “attendance winner” of the day. Only the students who arrive to class before 8:20am are able to participate in this raffle, therefore enforcing good attendance.

In 5th grade, corps members Lily Taylor and Rich Shaughnessy have been begun an intervention utilizing categorized questions within their classrooms. Each week, students will be presented with three questions, including Problem of the Week (POTW), Riddle and Grade Leveled Vocabulary. This incentive will promote a heightened sense of academic interest amongst 5th graders. Questions are updated weekly on a Learning Board, located where students will be able to see the questions and formulate their answers. The class that answers the most questions correctly each week are the ‘winners’ for the week. Lily and Rich have enjoyed implementing this initiative so far!

The behavior initiative created by 4th grade corps members Amy McCarthy and Brenda Kunz rewards students for turning in their homework each day. When a Corps member checks homework, if the student has completed their homework, that student receives a sticker on their sticker chart for the day. This initiative encourages students to complete their homework each day so that their sticker charts are full for the week. If a student’s sticker chart is full, The student receives a prize as well and ‘money’ is added into their class bank account.

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The corps members at Henry Wilson are excited to see how these initiatives will continue progressing throughout the school year, but the ideas won’t stop here! Ideas for school-wide initiatives have begun as well! For the time being, however, corps members are proud of their progress within their classrooms and are looking forward to serving in the months ahead.

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About CityYear NH

City Year is a nonprofit that unites young people of all backgrounds for a demanding year of full-time service. As tutors, mentors, and role models, these idealistic leaders make a difference in the lives of children, and transform schools and neighborhoods across the US and in South Africa. For more information on how to get involved please call the City Year New Hampshire Recruitment hotline at 603-218-5101.
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