a community of learners

One of our Units of Inquiry, Who We Are, is a common unit that many grades begin each year with. As teachers and students are getting to know each other at the start of every school year, they are primarily working to set up systems and standards to create a space where everyone feel s part of a community; unafraid to make mistakes, ask questions and take new risks as learners. Students are making more connections between the Unit of Inquiry and the interdisciplinary learning that takes place in the classroom.

As the facilitator of learning in the classroom, the teacher helps guide the students towards new learning and discoveries. In order to all be effective in the classroom and around our campus, Essential Agreements, or guidelines that all students agree upon, are created to help frame the learning space throughout the year. Essential agreements are revisited frequently throughout the year, being added to as the group of learners best sees fit.

Over the last two weeks teachers, from Kindergarten to fifth grade, have intentionally chosen to read several different books, conducted a variety of activities as well as had classroom meetings to discuss what they think would best support in classroom learning this year. As a campus each year, we mindfully choose a handful of attributes and attitudes to be a central focus of our essential agreements, uniting our community at Spicewood Elementary. This year we have chosen:

Balanced     Appreciation     Caring     Tolerance     Reflective

Below is a quick look at how each grade has interpreted these attitudes and (learner profile) attributes!


Kindergarten brainstorming ways to show tolerance. 


We are tolerant of each other’s differences, “my family has different skin colors and eye colors, but it’s okay”.

– Kindergarten student in Miss. Bliven’s class


Mrs. Sanchez’s Second Grade class.

IMG_4527 (1)

Second Grade classes illustrated themselves in addition to their classroom’s Essential Agreements.


All students signed their classroom Essential Agreements in Mrs. Jarmusch’s third grade class. 


Fourth Grade Essential Agreements 


Fifth grade students created positive statements for their classroom Essential Agreements

Essential Agreements are not only limited to school environment. These agreements can extend to the home (you may chose to focus on the same five we have here at school) or create some of your own with your families. This would be a great dinner “table talk” idea as we are all getting settled into new routines being back at school.

Ask your child about their classroom Essential Agreements and what part they played in creating this living document in learning even more about Who We Are.

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