The Wolves ClassroomJust like wolves in a pack, our class focuses and thrives on teamwork. We value that each of us have unique gifts to share and challenges to overcome. The Wolves classroom is a place for students, ages 8-10, to learn about themselves, our neighbors and the world while developing responsibility and building community. Personal growth and academic rigor are joined with laughter and fun . . . every day.
Key responsibilities of the Wolves students areto do one’s personal best socially and academically,
to do homework thoughtfully, thoroughly and to return it on time,
to treat others kindly, and
to work on solving problems individually and with others.
Because there is a range of ages in our class, the expectations vary accordingly.
When students enter the Wolves classroom, they have typically mastered basic skills that enable them to think more deeply and abstractly. As Fawns, they were learning to read; as Wolves they are reading to learn.
We study people who have made a difference, changes in our country, geology, magnetism, electricity and, of course, wolves. Within each unit of study, there is an element of choice and challenge that allows children to explore a topic more deeply. Choice is incredibly motivating and gives students opportunities to see each other’s good ideas and learn from each other. It also addresses a range of skill levels, strengths, and interests.
Individual and classroom organization is an emerging skill for this age group. Moving up to the Wolves class means getting your own desk and cubby and the responsibility that comes with it. Students are eager to show they’re up for the challenge. They have color-coded folders assigned to specific subjects, supplies that are maintained in designated places throughout the room, and they are taught to manage these materials and their usage.
Every other year, the Wolves class visits the Ely International Wolf Center for an overnight adventure. All year, the students look forward to the time when they’ll be close to their namesake. Our class sleeps in the carpeted amphitheater overlooking the wolves’ habitat. Students wake to the distinct howling of the pack – a highlight of the trip!
Each classroom at GES begins its day with Morning Meeting where the students gather together to start the day in a powerful community-building set of activities. 8-10-year olds are at a wonderful stage of development where their self-confidence and loyalty to one another enable them to accomplish great things in whole-group situations such as Morning Meeting. Often, inspiring ideas will emerge from the group such as how to solve a problem at recess or how the children might address world hunger. The sky seems to be the limit! The exchange of ideas, planning to take action, and seeing a plan through to some result is powerful bonding and meaning-making for the Wolves class. It also is a privilege and joy to observe as their teacher.
A bit about Suzy Schweig:
Suzy is from St. Louis, Missouri where she taught in an independent progressive school. She has been teaching for over 20 years, and her love for the profession is still going strong. There is so much to learn! She is a teacher because she loves the discovery of children's potential and helping them to learn and appreciate who they are.
GES is a wonderful place to teach! The small multiage classes enable us to truly know the students and their families and to respond to their needs. The teachers have lots of autonomy, yet there is also a tremendous amount of sharing. We try to help one another grow while doing the same for our students.