Ellen's Classroom

For you browsers, here is an example of the types of learning situations that happened in room 6. A PDF diagram of Ellen's classroom is available.

The Pirates' Cove Café was real and running during the months of January and February of 1997. This student run, student developed restaurant was part of a year long theme study of Idyllic Island Images for the students in room 6 at Union Memorial School. These children were members of a multiage classroom which covers the grades 1-2 & 3. They ranged in age from five years to nine years of age. The children in this classroom remained in the classroom for three years. In order to maintain interest and quality of program, the curriculum changed each year. All basic skill areas of mathematics, reading, writing, science and social studies were taught through the year's theme. The restaurant became a room 6 tradition. The previous year's outrageous success with the Gargoyle Grill during a study of the Middle Ages and the year before that with the Simmering Supernova Cafe during a study of Space and Flight, prompted its inclusion in the year's plans.

During this school year, these students learned a lot about island formation, specific islands of the world, and pirate life. They traveled to islands in Vermont, took the Grand Isle ferry to view the Lake Champlain Islands and viewed video footage of the volcanic islands of Hawaii. The children read and researched about life on these islands, too. They were regaled with the stories of the Pirate Queens, Blackbeard and more! Projects involved researching specific island cultures, trying out different art techniques and reading stories written by or about their island destinations. The children gathered information about many islands, each study culminating with an official stamp in their class passport. The children learned island games in math, how people got along in social studies, and the foods eaten for health/nutrition. They wrote stories and poetry to be published for the classroom library and they learned about the foods of the islands and helped to cook them, also!

Each child in the classroom earned his/her Travel Guide status. That is, they worked during the school day on individual contracts of study that included research pieces, computer applications, and the setting of personal behavioral and personal academic goals. Upon completing four out of six of these contracts, the child earned his/her Travel Guide status. Each child participated in a World's Fair Exposition of Islands that entailed a fair open to the community.

The Pirates' Cove Cafe was one way for these children to share with their community, their excitement and involvement with their own learning process. In the Cafe, they were responsible for cooking, serving, seating, entertaining, making change, and even paying the bills!

The proceeds from the Pirates' Cove Cafe helped to fund their class 3-day campout to the New Hampshire sea coast and a boat trip along the Isles of Shoals!