Throughout this school year, we will feature guest bloggers to share different perspectives on or experiences with boys education on our Head of School blog. Our first guest blogger is Lori Paredes, Regis Communications Manager, who writes about her time shadowing Kindergarten, 3rd Grade, and 4PK and what she observed during these classroom visits.
If you don't follow our Facebook or Instagram accounts, you might not know that I am spending one day in each grade level over the next few weeks. The purpose of this is to share with our community a "day in the life" look into what goes on at Regis. Personally, I wanted to gain a better understanding of what our students experience—something that I know our parents are interested in seeing too! So far, I have shadowed 4PK, Kindergarten, and 3rd Grade. I plan on visiting the rest of the grades by mid-October.
During my first five minutes in 3rd Grade last week, Grant F. asked me why I was spending the day with them. I explained to him what I was doing, and he replied, "That sounds exhausting!" He is absolutely right. After each shadow day, I AM utterly exhausted. This feeling of exhaustion led me to one of the major realizations that I had during these three visits—just how much our boys move all day long!
Look down at your wrist. A majority of us probably have some kind of fitness tracker or smartwatch that reminds us throughout the day to move or stand. As adults, we move deliberately. We walk to different locations around our homes or offices with a purpose. We run for exercise. We sit or lay down to rest. Typically, thought goes into each of our actions when we move. When my Fitbit buzzes every hour to remind me to take more steps, I think about what I could check off my to-do list if I have to get up at this moment.
Regis students do not need a reminder to move—our campus is in constant motion. Movement does not occur only in P.E. or recess, it happens during math, ELA, science, you name it. Our students have the choice to move regardless of what they are doing, and this movement manifests in different ways. Sure, it could be movement with a purpose—a student could think, "I would be way more comfortable if I laid down to read this book," but I doubt they're thinking, "I'm going to absorb what I'm reading so much more now that the distraction of my discomfort is removed." The inherent benefit isn't always obvious when a student makes a deliberate decision to move. Giving our students the environment and opportunity to make these choices though sets us apart.
I witnessed great examples of movement and active learning in all three grades I visited in the last few weeks. In Kindergarten and 4PK movement is present during every lesson albeit in slightly more subtle ways than I observed in 3rd Grade. Kinder and Pre-K boys move from their tables to the carpet and back to tables for lessons throughout the day. There is always an opportunity during these lessons to get up and go get something, get up and demonstrate something, get up and dance for a brain break—movement is there. Although there are still cases of the "wiggles," they are few and far between because these organic opportunities to move are present throughout the day.
3rd Grade is one of our lucky classrooms to have received active learning furniture over the summer thanks to our Paddles Up giving opportunity at auction last April. These boys do not just sit at their desks, but they have wobble stools—they do not have to contend with sitting still if they'd rather be moving. When the 3rd graders move to the floor for an activity, they can grab a clipboard, they can grab an awesome desk/floor seat contraption (I'm not sure of the proper name), they can lay down, or they can just sit criss-cross applesauce. The choice is theirs, and they each choose what works best for them—what makes them the most comfortable—which in turn helps them absorb more of what they are learning. Witnessing these boys learning in the manner that suits them best is inspiring—it shows me that Regis truly understands the needs of boys and how best to educate boys.
I'm excited to experience the different kinds of movement in the rest of the grades over the next month. I imagine Middle School will feel a lot different from Lower School and Early Childhood, but I know it will be just as inspiring. Since I started shadowing, I have tried to let my body move for the sake of moving, lay down on the floor and work because it is what suits me best at that moment, and truly enjoy my time away from my desk when I'm with the students. We adults could learn a lesson from our younger selves and remember to not to let discomfort get in the way of learning and good work.
If you haven't seen my Instagram stories for Kinder, 4PK, and 3rd Grade, click here to witness movement firsthand! Or, check out my "Day in the Life" albums for 4PK, Kindergarten, and 3rd Grade on Vidigami!
Bio: This is Lori's 5th year at Regis and first year managing communications. Previously, she served as our Manager of Advancement Projects and Constituent Relations and as Advancement Coordinator. Lori attended graduate school at the University of Houston and undergrad at Louisiana State University. She holds an M.A. in Public History, B.A. in Communications, and B.A. in History. Prior to becoming a Regis Knight, Lori worked at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and The Menil Collection.