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Grove's first third-grade class learns communication

Grove Elementary third grade teacher Denise Scofield looks up as one of her students points to the basketball hoop. The hoop later made a dramatic entrance as school administrators showed off some of the new school
Grove Elementary third grade teacher Denise Scofield looks up as one of her students points to the basketball hoop. The hoop later made a dramatic entrance as school administrators showed off some of the new school's features.
— image credit: Danielle Szulczewski

MARYSVILLE — As Denise Scofield's new third-grade class at Grove Elementary for the first day of school, she read to the students from the appropriately titled "First Day Jitters."

"Here's what I already love about this class — you guys can share what you're thinking," Ms. Scofield told her students as they dissected the book's plot and looked for clues to its surprise ending.

From the very first day in the very new Grove Elementary School, third grade appears to be all about developing communication skills.

While it takes a few moments to notice at first, it becomes quickly becomes difficult to avoid all the books in Ms. Scofield's classroom. They're everywhere — in crates near the window that overlooks the basketball courts, organized by fiction/non-fiction on the shelves and leaning against the wall above students' cubbies.

As they discuss books read in class, students sit in a circle and are encouraged to ask each other "What are you thinking?" after sharing their own thoughts.

And the students' first homework assignment, as they found out later, is also communication-oriented. The students were assigned to personalize the cover of a composition notebook that is intended to help them develop ideas and work on their writing skills.

But perhaps more importantly for the first day of a new school, the communication is just about getting to know each other.

Ms. Scofield, who taught second grade last year at the co-op at Quil Ceda Elementary, got to know her students as they sat in the gymnasium waiting for the morning assembly to begin. Later, in the classroom, after the reading, the students started to introduce themselves. They start by naming the schools they transferred in from — like Ms. Scofield, a couple of students are from Quil Ceda. More hands were raised when she asked who attended Pinewood and Allen Creek. Still others came from Kellogg Marsh, Sunnyside and Liberty.

Today's school opening at Grove was Ms. Scofield's second — she was at Quil Ceda when it started the co-op program in 2003.

"It was a little interesting working on a tight timetable," she said.

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