Carter In The Classroom
Focusing on unique things school districts are doing to help children succeed.

Brag About Your School: Bluebonnet Elementary

Head to Bluebonnet Elementary and pass by Nancy Parris' classroom in the morning and you might do a double take.

Every morning, without fail, her third graders start school with a dance and song.

It’s OK to hop on the desks and feel the music and let out some energy.

"Instead of me saying, 'We're getting our day started,' it was a signal to them," said Parris.

The song is followed by a morning meeting.

"We can know each other and we can like solve people's problems if they need help," said student Lexie Gownes.

Whether the dentist found a cavity, or a nightmare seemed so real, this is the spot to get it off your chest.

"Maybe they didn't get the sleep they needed that night or they fought with their brothers and sisters, and it changes, that mindset as soon as they walk in the door," said Parris.

It all takes just a few minutes then they're ready, focused on learning.

Just downstairs in Mandy Martinez's kindergarten classroom, you'll find a classroom that looks more like a toy store, where learning happens through discovery.

"They're guided and facilitated by the teacher but they don't realize it as much, so they're playing and enjoying their self but they're applying the knowledge they're learning in class," said teacher Mandy Martinez.

She has spent class time teaching about the differences between living and non-living things. Now the kids are handed a pile of toys and are asked to pull all the living things in a pile to play with.

Sometimes the toys are just there and the teacher will walk up and ask a question that reinforces the lesson.

Every area of toys in this kindergarten classroom is connected to something taught. Working at the flower shop, the teacher will ask you if you put the stem or the petal in the vase.

"They're applying money and the last six weeks we talked about wants and needs," said Martinez.

Discovery learning doesn't just reinforce the basics, but it's helping the youngest minds at Bluebonnet Elementary and a number of Keller ISD schools learn how to work as a team.

"We saw a need kids are going in and not able to deal with their issues and problem solving, and this gives this an opportunity to still learn but also have conflict resolution," said Martinez.

It's that turning point where play slowly shapes into lessons and these students are able to take real life examples and use them to think critically.

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