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Guest Blogger Lauren Christel: Making Connections Across Programs With Elementary School “Houses”

House Logos Three examples of ISTP Elementary School "houses" and their logos.

If you’ve ever read the story Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, you’ve experienced firsthand the excitement of young wizards arriving at Hogwarts School for the first time and being sorted into their houses. While ISTP students are not wizards, nor is our school a castle, we have created a house system in which the students will participate in team building activities throughout the school year.

IMG_9443The creation of these “houses” (teams of students) came from a desire to further integrate our two language programs in a natural way, as well as build relationships among students across grade levels. Our students are very good at building community within their classroom, but “houses” create a way to reach beyond that classroom boundary and expand elementary school-wide relationships.

At ISTP, the houses will meet formally on six occasions throughout the school year. Houses will participate in activities centered on the themes of internationalism, community service, “making” and building, Earth Day and brain challenges. They will also join together at informal times such as “Mix-it-up Lunch.”

IMG_9452At our introductory session on September 4th, the children were thrilled to head off with two teachers and approximately 20 other elementary students to be introduced to their housemates and begin their first house activity together. Each house first “broke the ice” by introducing themselves to their new housemates in a creative way. Then each house was tasked with deciding on a group name, a name that will stay with them for years to come. The “Shining Stars,” “Purple Pandas,” and “Wild Wolves” are just a few examples of the clever names the houses came up with. The children also worked together to create a logo that will visually represent their house. It was hard for the houses to choose just one logo as many ideas were quite beautiful and represented the house name so clearly. The best part is that each team’s logo will be made into a special button that the children can wear during their house activities!

We are anxiously looking ahead to November 18th, when our houses will meet again to participate in an “international” themed project.

House Logos.002 Student-designed "house" logos will be made into buttons for team members to wear.

Lauren Christel is the Elementary School Assistant Principal at the International School of the Peninsula.

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