The lights are dim, there’s a virtual fire burning on the Eno board and students are camped under their desks in homemade forts reading by flashlight. For students in Stephanie Bosma’s first grade class at Klondike Elementary School, this is a reward for a great start to the school year.
“I told my students that after our class is great at doing our new routines and they are making choices to help build a strong classroom family, then we can start doing unique activities,” says Bosma.
Students bring a blanket from home and drape them over their desk to create their own fort. It’s a fun activity that sparks imagination and excitement in reading. One student was reading the latest adventure of Pete the Cat, while another was reading “Life on Mars.” Johnny Margeson was reading “There’s a Fly Guy in My Soup.” Johnny says Flashlight Fort Friday is special: “It’s a fun way to learn.”
“I like that we get to read under the fort,” adds classmate Gavin Carlile. “I like to read farming books.”
Student Londyn Hamilton adds: “I like Flashlight Friday because we get to read books and talk to our friends about books under our forts.”
Amelia Smith struggled making her fort at first, but through perseverance ended in success: "We are learning how to do things by ourselves. It was hard to pull the blanket down, and that was kind of hard. I kept on trying, and then I got it."
The scene is often complete with the sounds of a crackling fire, insects or calming music, while the class is reading, identifying phonics patterns and sight words. What a better way to start the Labor Day weekend.