Polka Dots

Friday, March 11, 2011

December: Kindness

During December, we learned about the virtue of Kindness. This is a great topic to talk about during the Christmas season!

2nd Grade: We read "The Recess Queen" and discussed how Mean Jean was unkind to all of her classmates. I copied two pages out of the book back-to-back, one with Jean being mean to her classmates, and the other with Jean making friends and being kind. Each time we discussed Jean behaving unkindly, I cut a piece of the "mean" picture until Jean was all alone. We discussed how being unkind cuts out all of our friends. After the story we discussed how Jean could get her friends back and each time the students came up with an idea, I taped a piece of the picture together. Once the entire picture was taped back together, I turned it around to show Jean smiling with all of her friends. The students got a kick out of the picture being double sided.

3rd Grade: We read "Have You Filled a Bucket Today" and talked about how we can all be bucket fillers rather than bucket dippers. After our discussion, I explained to the class that they were going to be in charge of a classroom bucket and their goal was to work on filling the class's bucket. I gave the class a plastic bucket and handed out small slips of paper for the students to write down random acts of kindness. I asked each student to write down one way that they could be kind to their classmates. They each put this pledge into the bucket and then I asked them to be on the lookout for classmates preforming random acts of kindness. Each time someone did something kind for them or they saw someone acting kindly, they could fill out a slip and add it to the bucket.

5th Grade: We revisited the idea of bullying and treating each other with respect. The students preformed short skits in small groups to illustrate different types of bullying and we discussed how this kind of behavior "tears us down". We then talked about kind acts that help to "build us up". Each student was given a paper brick to write down one way that they plan on building others up. I then created a "wall" of their bricks.

6th and 7th Grades: We focused on the concept of "paying it forward". We watched a clip of the movie and talked about examples of kind acts the students could preform for three people.

November: Stewardship

In November, we focused on the virtue of Stewardship - sharing our time, talents, and treasure with others. This is a great virtue to talk about during Thanksgiving. We don't often focus on all of the things wonderful things in our lives and Thanksgiving gives us that reminder to be thankful for what we have. Showing stewardship allows us to share our gifts with others.

3rd Grade: We explored career clusters as a way of sharing our time, talent, and treasures with others. I have been gathering hats, props, vests and other career items for a few years. Michaels, Dollar Tree, and the Target Dollar Spot have great career items every once in a while. Anytime I see something, I pick it up. For 3rd grade, I hand out a career card to each student. These are color coded depending on the different career paths. The students read the career and a short descriptions and then break off into their color groups. Most of the career cards also have some sort of career "prop" to go with them (handcuffs for the police officer, stethoscope for the doctor, funny money for the banker, etc). In their groups, the students have to try and figure out why their careers are grouped together. At the end, each student is able to explain their career and then the groups tell the class why their careers go together. We then discuss what career clusters are. The students REALLY enjoy dressing up like their careers and give me great ideas for future "props". After the lesson, I hang some of the cards and props on a bulletin board.

5th and 8th Grades: We focused on career exploration as a way to show stewardship. We can share our talents and interests to help others through the career that we choose. Virginia Career View has a wonderful website that offers games and activities for students of all grades to begin the career exploration process. In grades 5 and 8, we use VA Career View take the career interest inventories of Kids Search (grades K-5) and Who R U? (grades 6-8). More information can be found on their website http://www.vaview.vt.edu/ There are tons of games and other activities including printable books and worksheets.

October: Respect

Way back in October, we learned about Respect. The focus in the lower grades was how to show respect to classmates, teachers, parents, and selves. The focus in the upper grades was on bullying. We also talked about respecting our bodies and everyone signed a pledge card for Red Ribbon Week.

Follow the Golden Rule Bulletin Board

Radiating Respect Bulletin Board with examples of showing respect

Red Ribbon Week Pledge Bulletin Board
Each smaller ribbon is made up of each classes pledge cards.

In 1st grade we talked about how mean and disrespectful comments and actions cannot be undone. This was illustrated by using a mini tube of toothpaste. One student was chosen to squirt out some toothpaste onto a plate. Another student was chosen to try to put the toothpaste back in the tube. We talked about how it was impossible to get all of the toothpaste back in the tube after it was squirted out. This was related to disrespectful actions and comments and how we cannot go back in time. The students discussed ways to resolve issues of disrespect and we practiced apologizing to each other.

Each student colored in a toothbrush and I put them on a paper toothpaste tube as a reminder of the lesson.