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Quiet classroom activities give Messmore students lifelong skills
Quiet classroom activities give Messmore students lifelong skills
Posted on 09/09/2021
Student reading book.

Take a walk through Messmore Elementary and you’ll hear sounds typical of a school hallway - the excited bustle of elementary students during their lunch, the clapping of hands as students learn a new song and teachers giving students instructions for the upcoming lesson. Yet, one sound that may come as a surprise is complete silence paired with calming acoustic music.

As a Montessori learning environment, Messmore Elementary students in grades one through six engage in silent reading time and independent work throughout their elementary journey. These building-wide activities are implemented as a way for students to take control of their own learning and as a means to build reading time into their day.

 “The point is to stay as silent as possible and read a book,” said sixth grader Kieko Ziegelbauer. “It’s a time to relax, because we just came back from recess which is really energetic and exciting, so we come back in here silently to relax and calm down.”

Melissa Papandreou, fifth/sixth grade teacher at Messmore Elementary, utilizes independent work with her students to teach them how to prioritize and work on items of highest priority first.

“The purpose is to help students take control of their learning,” Papandreou said.

How each teacher presents their classroom for these silent activity periods varies across the school. Messmore Elementary fifth/sixth grade teacher, Kellie Papadelis, creates a relaxing atmosphere by putting up a non-verbal PowerPoint slide with instructions for her students to follow, playing calming music and utilizing soft lighting within her classroom.

“Because it starts at such a young age, by the time they reach fifth/sixth grade the students know the expectations, choose a book – a real, physical book – and read,” said Papadelis.  

Fifth/sixth grade student, Liam Walker said the practice of silent reading is relaxing for him.

“It’s nice to read a book and just chill,” said Walker.  

Papandreou helps facilitate her classroom’s independent work time with to-do lists placed on her white board, as well as at each student’s desk.

“By offering them a variety of tools, we help them to structure the work time and make the most of it,” said Papandreou.

These practices are implemented with a goal of assisting students in structuring tasks on their own.

 “When students are able to work at their own pace, they are developing executive skills that they will be able to use throughout their entire life and educational career,” Papandreou said.