Welcome to the Wolves Classroom
3rd & 4th Grades
THE WOLVES CLASSROOMS
As of Fall 2019, there are now two Wolves classrooms, each consisting of 3rd and 4th-grade students. The two teachers leading their packs (Wolves East and Wolves West) work closely together. Just like wolves in a pack, our teachers and classes focus and thrive on teamwork. We value that each of us has unique gifts to share and challenges to overcome. The Wolves classrooms are places for students, ages 8-10, to learn about themselves, our neighbors and the world while developing responsibility and building community. Personal growth and academic rigor are joined with laughter and fun... every day.
Key responsibilities of the Wolves students are
to do one’s personal best socially and academically,
to do homework thoughtfully, thoroughly and to return it on time,
to treat others kindly, and
to work on solving problems individually and with others.
Because there is a range of ages in our class, the expectations vary accordingly.
When students enter the Wolves classrooms, they have typically mastered basic skills that enable them to think more deeply and abstractly. As Beavers, they were learning to read; as Wolves, they are reading to learn.
We study people who have made a difference, changes in our country, geology, magnetism, electricity and, of course, wolves. Within each unit of study, there is an element of choice and challenge that allows children to explore a topic more deeply. Choice is incredibly motivating and gives students opportunities to see each other’s good ideas and learn from each other. It also addresses a range of skill levels, strengths, and interests.
Individual and classroom organization is an emerging skill for this age group. Students are eager to show they’re up for the challenge. They have color-coded folders assigned to specific subjects, supplies that are maintained in designated places throughout the room, and they are taught to manage these materials and their usage.
Every other year, the Wolves classes visit the Ely International Wolf Center for an overnight adventure. All year, the students look forward to the time when they’ll be close to their namesake. The students sleep in the carpeted amphitheater overlooking the wolves’ habitat. We all wake to the distinct howling of the pack – a highlight of the trip!
Each classroom at GES begins its day with Morning Meeting where the students gather together to start the day in a powerful community-building set of activities. 8-10-year olds are at a wonderful stage of development where their self-confidence and loyalty to one another enable them to accomplish great things in whole-group situations such as Morning Meeting. Often, inspiring ideas will emerge from the group such as how to solve a problem at recess or how the children might address world hunger. The sky seems to be the limit! The exchange of ideas, planning to take action, and seeing a plan through to some result is powerful bonding and meaning-making for the Wolves class. It also is a privilege and joy to observe as their teachers.
Wolves Educator: Suzy
Suzy is from St. Louis, Missouri where she taught in an independent progressive school. She moved to Minnesota after spending 11 summers as a Wilderness Ranger in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Wilderness. She has been teaching for over 30 years, and her love for the profession is still going strong. There is so much to learn! She is a teacher because she loves the discovery of children's potential and helping them to learn and appreciate who they are.
“GES is a wonderful place to teach! The small multiage classes enable us to truly know the students and their families and to respond to their needs. The teachers have lots of autonomy, yet there is also a tremendous amount of sharing. We try to help one another grow while doing the same for our students.”
Wolves Educator: Chandler
Chandler grew up in the woods outside of St. Cloud, Minnesota. He graduated from Bard College (NY) with a degree in music. After traveling through Africa and working on a small organic farm in California, he moved to Minneapolis to become a piano teacher and landscape gardener. In 2015, his family moved to Grand Marais. He completed the Graduate Teaching Licensure program at Saint Scholastica in Duluth and student taught in the Wolves’ classroom. Last year he taught in the Fawns’ classroom, which was one of the best learning experiences of his life! This year, he’s excited to be working again with Suzy in the Wolves’ two classrooms. In his free time, Chandler still very much enjoys playing piano, travelling with his family and exploring the great outdoors.