Wednesday, September 2, 2009


We began Dunham "Tribes" today.

Tribes provides a brand new (to us) way for your child to belong to Dunham. He or she is already a member of his or her class. Kindergartners are also paired with a fifth grade buddy.

Tribes adds a new and additional layer of belonging to the school.

Each student is assigned to a small group (we call them tribes) of about 9 students. Each tribe has members ranging in age from kindergarten through sixth grade. The idea is that the "tribal olders" (students in grades 4 through 6) will look after the welfare of the "tribal youngers" (students in grades K through 3). Tribes will meet on alternate Wednesdays to do a variety of activities to build character and social intelligence. Each tribe includes a "Tribal Elder," one of the adults in our school.

The groupings shall remain stable over time with changes only when the sixth grade older graduates and is replaced by a new kindergartner in the fall.

I expect all students to benefit from this new feature of our program.

Sitting in the HOT sun at the kick-off assembly for Tribes.

Today we had lunch with our tribes and did a quick get-to-know-you roundtable discussion. For the kindergartners the first few meetings may be a bit confusing, but once your child is recognized and supported by one of his or her tribal olders, I know he or she will understand what Tribes is all about and will feel safer and happier and kinder.....


Chrystal M. Smith said...

I love your blog. I am an Elementary Education major, and the ideas are endless here. Thanks.

I have consistently said that I would like to teach upper elementary, but you make K seem more exciting than worrisome.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Chrystal— Thank you for leaving a comment. Kindergarten can be fun, but it's a lot like skating on verrry thin ice. They're always just on the point of catastrophe. If I make it look more exciting than worrisome, great, but don't be fooled! Teaching up the grades a bit (second grade, third grade and up) is way less worrisome.