Open Concept School Buildings
Whole Language Teaching
Data Driven Instruction
All of these concepts were once innovative in their practice. Some are still fairly new, some have gone by the wayside and aren’t seen very often anymore.
Some have become best practice.
My school is moving to a house model next year. This means that instead of one grade level being all together in a row, all grades will be together in a house. From kinder to 5th, students will belong to one house. Many schools around the country are moving to this model, and it has its benefits:
- Collaboration between grade levels, with academics and social skills
- Higher level of social-emotional learning with implementation of daily house meetings
- Older students on campus have the ability to be leaders to younger kids, instead of only being around their own grade
- Relationships built, so lower incidents of bullying
There are concerns too. What if older students talk about things younger students aren’t ready to learn about yet, like Santa? What if they are sharing the same bathroom? What if younger students feel intimidated by the older kids? I think the what ifs could go on and on.
But what if this works? What if we are setting kids up for success because we are teaching them life skills in addition to academic skills? What if students leave elementary school armed with the social-emotional skills needed to tackle middle school and beyond?
What if this becomes best practice?
Don’t we owe it to our kids to take the risk and try?