Monday, February 8, 2016

Everyone's a 'Star'!

Each week a student is picked by the last ‘Star’ to be the new Star Student. This is often done in kindergarten and first grade, yet the enthusiasm for this activity still exists in second grade. The Star Student brings in a poster and photos for us to admire all week. Then on Friday the ‘Star’ makes a presentation to the class. Precious items from home are brought in to share with the boys and girls.

What is the fascination for this? Perhaps it is an opportunity to share some personal information with your classmates. Even if you're a confident student you may not have had the opportunity to relate to such a captive and interested audience. Those students who are on the shy side seem to beam as they relate their favorites to the class, share their experiences, and express their hopes for the future. A caring community is built as the children ask questions of the ‘Star’ and discover how we are all alike in some if not many ways. Dr. Spencer Kagan uses the term classbuilding and states it is “the process by which a room full of individuals with different backgrounds and experiences become a caring community of active learners.” He further explains that it “promotes the liking and respecting of teammates and classmates. Students interact with one another in an open, non-threatening environment, creating mutual support and promoting self-esteem.” I hope that our classroom is a nicer place due in part to Star Student.

This past week we had the pleasure of learning about our classmate Danna. She was in bilingual classes for the past two years, so we were especially happy to learn more about her. Although often shy in class, she willingly shared about herself and we all were interested and intrigued. Her classmates had many questions for her and were sad when ten questions had been asked.

When it is time to select the next ‘Star’, the excitement rises with a clapped drum roll, then absolute silence as the ‘Star’ gets to pick and announce the next Star Student. Boys and girls sit with their fingers crossed hoping to be the next ‘chosen’ one. Even if you are not picked this week, it's okay. Everyone cheers for the new ‘Star’, and I'm proud of the sportsmanship that is displayed and the sincere excitement for each other! This is such a joyful time each week that I am always sad when everyone has had a turn and it has come to an end.

But I know there is always next year!

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