Pelham Oaks Elementary second graders perform “character trait surgery”

Published 3:11 pm Wednesday, January 25, 2023

By LIZZIE BOWEN | Staff Writer

PELHAM – The second graders of Pelham Oaks Elementary School traded in their pencils for doctors’ coats on Jan. 13.

Pelham Oaks second grade teacher Aubrey Pappanastos transformed her second-grade classroom into a pretend hospital to aid students in a language arts lesson. Students wore surgical gowns, gloves and masks and performed “character trait surgery.”

“They used the surgical theme throughout the day to hone their skills in punctuation, parts of speech, comparing numbers and more,” read a city of Pelham Facebook post.

Each student conducted “surgery” in their “operating room” and were able to engage in combining fun and learning.

“My students loved the character trait surgery,” Pappanastos said. “They were able to dress up as doctors, have doctor supplies and work in their “operating room.” These aspects of the day automatically increased engagement.”

Pappanastos said other interactive activities students have enjoyed include a snow globe day, a pie face activity for author’s purpose and many activities where students have to complete multiple challenges in order to achieve their big goal.

“We try to make learning as hands on as possible at Pelham Oaks,” Pappanastos said. “We have more activities like the character trait surgery in the works. I truly enjoy these types of interactive activities because student engagement is so high, and learning happens easily. They are a lot of work, but the joy and excitement for learning that it brings for the students is more than worth it.”

Pappanastos said the inspiration for these activities comes from collaboration with other teachers. Fellow second grade teacher, Faith Chambers, did the character trait surgery alongside Pappanastos.

“We were able to bounce ideas off of each other in order to make the day into what it was,” Pappanastos said. “There are tons of teachers on social media that have these great ideas, and if I see an idea that I like, I use it for inspiration and make it my own.”

Pappanastos said the student’s favorite part was dressing up as doctors and getting their “doctor badge.”

“They loved pretending to be a doctor for the day,” Pappanastos said. “If you asked the kids, this operating room day in the classroom has probably been their favorite activity that we have done this year.”