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Howlin’ Timberwolves

Focused and determined WOLF pack kindergartners keep their cool and balance.

By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of Timber Trail Elementary

Tuesdays and Thursdays are greeted with Timber, the enthusiastic Timber Trail Elementary (TTE) mascot who helps facilitate 75 minutes of We Own Learning and Fun (WOLF) time for entire grade levels. During WOLF sessions, team facilitators Cindy Berndt, Wendy Wilson and Linda Johnston take the students through curriculum and lessons that have been developed based on the four C’s; collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking. This year’s main theme focuses on effective listening in communication.

All TTE grade levels participate in WOLF time roughly 10 times within the year. WOLF brings each grade level together to participate in fun and purposeful team building activities, while classroom teachers use the allotted time for professional development with TTE professional learning specialists. All students are placed into “wolf packs” in which they create a visual avatar that represents their teams. These teams work together throughout the entire year for WOLF time.

Douglas County Sheriff Deputy Alan Stanton joined in the WOLF pack fun on the balance beam.

WOLF rotates topics and activities scheduled for the year. Themes for this year have included kickball games and rules, which aligned with the annual fall mother/son kickball event, kid’s heart challenge, circus, hot lava obstacle and more. Nice weather days bring the students outside on TTE natural surroundings while engaging in “walk and talk.” During walk and talk, students discuss supporting topics or questions with their peers. WOLF time ends with final collaborative fun activities of hula hoop, telephone, funny ball passes and crab soccer to celebrate time spent together. To make it a bit more challenging for these Timberwolves, blindfolds, ankle bands, large foam dice, ropes, pool noodles and potato sacks are used during the team building activities.

TTE kindergarteners rotated through WOLF circus themed stations of juggling scarves and rings, walking on stilts and boards, balancing peacock feathers on their bodies, circulating plates on sticks, and exploring pogo balls while Deputy Alan Stanton observed and participated in the event by walking the “tight rope” (aka balance beam). Stanton is one of many deputies from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office who patrols TTE and shows support for the group projects TTE implements. During the next WOLF rotation, each wolf pack will perform a three-ring circus using favorite equipment. These circus acts are sure to be followed by audience “oohs” and “ahhs” and hopefully another circus act by Stanton.



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