Kingsley's second grade team has undeniable star power. You can sense a palpable love for their students and each other. The team includes veteran educators as well as two new teachers, Mr. Patrick Muth and Ms. Olivia Akerly who both joined the second grade team this year.
"Our team has changed a lot. We're really thankful to be back to having five sections and we have two new team members this year and it's amazing. I love how much our team loves the kids." said Mrs. Katie Rothwell.
"This is the best team I've ever had," added Mrs. Caroline Hetherington. "I don't think people understand how lucky we are to get along so well. We've all got our strengths, we've all got our weaknesses, but we are so cohesive and supportive and just trusting and respectful to each other,"
The team of five has a collective 50+ years of teaching experience and several lifetimes of connections in Kingsley. Mr. Muth and Mrs. Rothwell both grew up here and now work with their former teachers.
"As a new teacher, this has been the most amazing team that I could have possibly have," said Mr. Muth. "If I have any questions, they're always there to help me learn and point me in the right direction."
Together, the team leverages their experiences and relationships to create impactful learning experiences for their students.
Read on for a roundtable discussion with the second grade team!
Q: What makes a second grader a second grader?
Caroline Heatherington: They're fun. They're loving. They're becoming a little more independent.
Katie Rothwell: Most of them still think we're pretty awesome.
Aimee Ball: Absolutely. If you need a good boost, draw a picture because they're going to think you're the most wonderful artist ever.
Katie Rothwell: Yes, or a good singer.
Patrick Muth: I've found different results.
Olivia Akerly: I think I love that they're really coming into their competence. They're becoming more confident in who they are and what they like while building up their friends.
Q: What are the second grade learning targets?
Caroline Hetherington: This is a really huge year for building all their foundations. They need to know their addition and subtraction facts and be fluent because third graders are going to roll right into multiplication. They're also learning to read and they should be able to later transition to reading to learn.
Katie Rothwell: A lot of comprehension skills are gained in second grade.
Aimee Ball: They're also beginning to really thoroughly be able to put their thoughts on paper in cohesive complete sentences.
Q: What are your social and emotional goals for second graders?
Patrick Muth: Independence.
Katie Rothwell: We've been using Move This World materials and social/emotional learning programs and I'm really focusing on identifying your emotions because we all have them. It's okay to have them, but then being able to regulate them, like, what are you going to do if you're really excited or if you feel bad?
Olivia Akerly: That's a big thing I'm focusing on too especially in the classroom, and a lot for recess time. Like what can you do like if you and your friend are fighting? You can't just scream at each other you have to have problem-solving solutions. With Move This World, we're using actual strategies and showing them how they work and when they can use them.
Caroline Hetherington: They learn so much independence and self-regulation and responsibility, maturity, and respect. And I know they're only eight, but the maturity from the beginning of the year to the end of the year is pretty drastic.
Q: What do you want the community to know?
Caroline Hetherington: This is such a pivotal year. The importance of the foundational skills that we're building and that help at home is so beneficial. We do as much as we can here. But just encouraging and supporting your child at home can be life-changing.
Patrick Muth: Everything is a reading opportunity. Not just a book!
Aimee Ball: Teaching them responsibility and really enforcing it at home is so important. For example, when we go out to a restaurant, our own children order. Stuff like that.
Katie Rothwell: I would also want the community to know that I 100% know that this group of people is always doing what's best for the kids. I think that's why we like each other so much: we have the confidence in each other that we're all doing the best we can every day.