Grade 1 Hallway Comes to LIFE!
Araceli Arismendi, Grade 1 Teacher
Grade 1 students are full of life, emotions and lots of ENERGY.
We wanted to design a space where our students could release their daily stressors and provide an outlet away from the classroom to jump, hop, run, crawl, and do any movement that suits their needs.
Research shows that sensory paths can also help students develop motor skills, including balance, hand-eye coordination, and spatial awareness.
So we thought, why not create a path near the Grade 1 common area?
Ideas started to bloom and the Grade 1 hallway became an artistic creation of life for our Grade 1 Team.
The first thing we needed to do was add greenery to our hallway.
We contacted expert Ms. Izyan Rezali, our Fields and Ground manager.
We spoke to her about the hallway space and wanted plants that would create a feeling of being inside a Malaysian jungle.
Along with the benefits of the movement sensory path, plants are also known for reducing stress, increasing productivity, cleaning the air and boosting creativity.
This was a perfect start to our hallway project and a way for our first graders to be in touch with nature right at their doorstep.
Grade 1 student, Lewis M, says, “It made me feel so very happy and grateful to see all those beautiful plants.”
The next step was the design of our sensory path.
We chatted with interventionist Paul Balsamo as he started the idea of Sensory Paths here at ISKL and through more dialogue with fellow colleagues, we decided to add an artistic Grade 1 friendly movement path with the artists from Projectdinding, Ms. Elly Nor Suria M. Zainudin and Mr. Hazrol Bin Salleh.
We met with the dynamic partnership about our vision and drafted 6 different activities, all with a Malaysian animal jungle theme.
Grade 1 teachers, Margarita Bautista and Evelyn Chang, highlight, “We (teachers and students) felt it was important to incorporate local wildlife into our design to build on that sense of belonging and an appreciation for the diverse native animals found in Malaysia.”
We then gave the drafts to our Grade 1 students and teachers for feedback, revision, and editing.
Ms. Tindall and her students took their assigned draft through the design cycle and recreated a whole new activity for the hallway.
Monica Tindall explains, “We are constantly looking for ways to integrate STEM activities in meaningful ways into the classroom. The opportunity to design our hallway game fit the Design Cycle perfectly. The learning that occurred during the design process was so meaningful as the students actually get to see and use the end result. The children cannot wait to try out the finished product!”
Getting our students involved in the process added a way for them to Think Creatively, Reason Critically, Communicate Effectively and Collaborate Constructively which are all important skills that undergird excellent citizenship here at ISKL.
On Saturday, January 25th, 2020, Mrs. Elly and Mr. Hazrol (Projectdinding) began the hallway interactive mural and the Grade 1 vision became a reality.
Our hallway bloomed life and details shaped every crevice and angle.
From incorporating curriculum aspects such as Malaysian animals and different breathing exercises taught during counseling time, to finishing up the path in the “Green Zone,” where kids are feeling happy, calm and ready to learn, our space developed into an area beaming with color, excitement, and inspiration.
Our Team Assistants that work with all of our students state, “We all have students in our classrooms that need that two-minute break to escape from the routine, get outside and just play new games.”
In order to maintain our hallway outdoor learning space, Grade 1 students in Susanne Safar and Araceli Arismendi’s room made watering cans with the help of Max Wright in our Makerspace using plastic bottles.
These will be used by all our Grade1 Eco-Warriors. Susanne Safar explains, “This will be a chance for our students to be involved with the Melawati Way by taking care of our community and the needs of Nature.”
Grade 1 classes will rotate on a weekly basis to water our “Malaysian Jungle”.
Thanks to the Inspiration Fund, Grade 1 teachers, assistants and students now have a more vibrant, welcoming and interactive entrance.
Grade 1 student, Miyu S, exclaims, “I felt excited about the new pathway and nervous because I didn’t want the crocodiles to bite my feet!”
About Araceli Arismendi
Araceli Arismendi is a Grade 1 teacher and team leader at The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL). She started working in Grade 1 at ISKL in 2012 where she continued her learning of the benefits of movement breaks, love for living things and practice of mindful breathing in the classroom.