Dynamic Learning: First Graders Making Connections


Black Lives Matter

“… They started dreaming of all the Invisible Strings they have, and all the strings their friends have,and their friends have,
and their friends have,until everyone in the world was connected by Invisible Strings.”
(The Invisible String by Patrice Karst)

First graders at Baker Demonstration School have been immersed in some really big ideas (and vocabulary) surrounding the Guiding Principles of the Black Lives Matter Movement. As their teachers, Cory and I wondered how to approach these concepts using age appropriate language that was meaningful for the children. We also wanted to provide dynamic learning experiences and discussions that created a space for the students to incorporate these ideas into their own thinking and conversations. 

What we discovered was that the children were ready and eager to have these discussions. I found a wonderful document by Lalena Garcia called Talking to young children about the Guiding Principles of the Black Lives Matter Movement that helped guide our conversations. In the article, Garcia states, “Linking the principles of Black Lives Matter to the ideas we use in our classrooms on a regular basis helps children to understand the connections between justice and equity on a large scale to their own lives and individual actions.” 

The students have already made numerous connections to their previous learning (especially stories we have read) and things we have discussed in the classroom. Cory and I have dedicated ourselves to continuing to link the principles of the movement to our classroom happenings on a regular basis so that the children make these connections. 

As we explore these important principles and as we think about the meaning of Valentine’s Day we are discussing how we put love into action. 


1) Through Service
On Thursday, February 13 the class participated in a service-learning trip to Bernie’s Book Bank where they worked with older children and parent volunteers to sort, sticker, and stack books for children who don’t have books of their own. Students worked diligently and put great effort into their jobs.  Primary grades 1-3 worked in harmony and helped each other out when needed.

Bernie's Book Bank

2) Through Words
On Friday, February 14 the class exchanged Valentine’s Day cards (also known as cards of kindness). The students were ecstatic when their buddies from last year came down to visit them and help them hand out their cards. This expression of love from the big kids meant a lot to our little folks.
Baker First Graders Exchange Valentines

3) Through Dance
As is the tradition in first grade, we had a little impromptu dance in our pajamas. That’s Amore!