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BRE students explore how relationships create awareness

Anderson P. proudly displays her rural, suburban, urban project. Second graders learned about why people settle in certain areas, how the size and the character of a community changes over time, and how communities manage and use non-renewable/renewable resources.

Article and photos by Lynne Marsala Basche

On October 9, Buffalo Ridge Elementary School (BRE) opened its doors to family, friends and the community to showcase its students’ first quarter work. With a focus on the theme of “relationships create awareness,” all grades were eager to highlight their achievements.

Under the Douglas County School District’s concept of Enduring Understanding, BRE used the relationships create awareness theme to take learning beyond the traditional classroom and provide students with tools for today and the future. Tawnya Houghton, BRE’s professional learning specialist, explained that teachers used grade-appropriate concepts so that students learned and recognized information that they could take away and apply to real life.

Students demonstrated their 21st century skills by creating salt-dough maps to learn about where Native Americans settled and why. They explored what actions citizens could take to affect the sustainability of farmers in the community, and also presented dependencies between organs and body systems.

The kindergarten team of Mrs. Brunk, Mrs. Chagolla and Mrs. Herzog noted, “Kindies demonstrated their understanding of relationships create awareness in a variety of ways, including reading entries from their writer’s notebooks to sharing favorite books, engaging in math activities, and assisting their parents in scanning QR codes posted in the hallway, which showed kindergarteners’ interviews of various staff members in our building. These interviews helped kindies build background about the various jobs in our building and how everyone’s work impacts our school in a positive way.”

While the long-term learning approach has shifted, the dedication from teachers, staff and students remains strong. “The excitement of the showcase serves as a testament to the efforts of both teachers and students this quarter!  Their work to create engaging opportunities for families highlights the scope of the world class education that is occurring at BRE,” said Houghton.

Second grader Anderson P. explained, “I liked learning about new things, and Mrs. Rumminger made it fun. It was a lot of work, but I remember all the facts.”

It is not often that schools invite the community into classrooms to experience district-wide initiatives, so stop by one of the remaining three showcases and share the students’ excitement.

Students created a tree to represent BRE’s first quarter theme of relationships create awareness, which was geared toward building awareness and learning how concepts are interconnected.

Evan I. shows his mom Kory his writer’s notebook entries, which was one of the ways kindergarteners learned about relationships.



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