Week of October 29: 4th grade talked about the five pillars of being a good school citizen. We made "educated guesses" about what a video on school rules would identify as the "pillars". We then compared our educated guesses with the pillars identified in the video: 1. respect others and their property 2. respect school property 3. follow school rules 4. show good character 5. give back to the school community. Finally, we discussed ways that Armstrong students could be better school citizens....they had some great ideas!
Week of December 3: 4th grade watched a video called "Courtesy is Contagious." We learned about what a "think not" is. Rude or inconsiderate behavior is most often a product of not thinking (or not putting yourself in the shoes of the other person to consider his/her perspective).
Week of October 29: We read the book The Hyena Who Lost Her Laugh. Hillary the Hyena learns that when she is more optimistic and realistic in her thinking, she feels better and has more success. She also has more fun with her friends. We also talked about replacing negative self-talk with realistic, more optimistic statements. This fits in nicely with our focus at Armstrong on a growth mindset. School is all about learning; students are not perfect and must take good risks in order to learn and grow. We all have relative strengths and weaknesses.
Week of December 3: We read a book entitled I Like Your Buttons! In the story, a girl starts a "kindness chain reaction" by telling her teacher she likes the buttons on her blouse. The good feelings created by this compliment spread out like ripples and eventually make their way back to the girl who started the kindness chain reaction. We then did an experiment in which we used an energy ball. Classmates linked hands to simulate the kindness chain reaction. Between one pair of students, the energy ball lights up and makes sound. If anyone loses their connection in the chain, the energy ball stops glowing and goes silent. Lesson learned: spread those good feelings through your good choices, compliments, smiles, etc.
Week of September 10: Third-grade lesson about friendship and respect. Enemy Pie by Derek Munson is one of my absolute favorite books of all time. The narrator is upset when a new kid moves to the neighborhood because he "steals" his best friend. Dad has a concoction to get rid of enemies----enemy pie. The secret ingredient is that you have to spend the whole day with your enemy and be nice to him. By the end of the story the enemy is gone (having transformed into a friend). All sorts of lessons here like being welcoming to new students, to have a friend you must be a friend, etc. Students completed the lesson by coming up with their own recipe for "friendship pie."
Week of October 8: Third grade read the book My Teacher Is a Monster. Student Bobby saw his teacher as a monster because he was judging her from a very narrow framework. A chance meeting changes Bobby's outlook and Ms. Kirby changes in his eyes. We learned that labeling people can be disrespectful and hurtful.
Week of November 5: Third grade had a lesson about teamwork. We examined the many different teams that we may be a part of...at school, at home, in the community. We watched a video with different vignettes of good and bad teamwork set at school, home and during recess. Students completed a true/false quiz. Students reflected on their own team experiences and shared how their teams had been successful/unsuccessful.
Week of December 10: Third grade had a lesson about friendship skills. We read Kathryn Otoshi's Two which tells the story of two best friends who have a falling out when another comes between them. Lessons learned included understanding the perspective of another and allowing others to have many friends and including all. We worked on a want ad for a friend which included the qualities we desire in a friend. We then reflected on our own personal qualities and compared them to the qualities we desired in others.
Week of September 24: We were visited by Wise Owl who taught us the "Who" rules for the differences between tattling and telling. They are: 1. Who needs help? 2. Who is afraid? 3. Who is hurt (or might get hurt)? 4. Who do I tell? Students watched a brief video with different vignettes reinforcing the questions.
Week of October 22: Second grade read What if Everybody Did That? to identify disrespectful behaviors that impact our friends, families and communities. Little things can add up if enough people make bad choices or if these little things become habits. We examined who deserves respect and how to show respect.
Week of November 26: We watched a video in which the "Good Word Fairy" helped kids in conflict examine their word choices. Students learned an easy three-step process: 1. Take a deep breath and calm down 2. Tell the other person how you feel by beginning with an "I message" 3. Listen to what the other person has to say.
We learned that bad mood messages only make the situation worse. Being sad, mad, or frustrated is acceptable; however, saying or doing mean things is not.
Week of October 15: We met Kelso, a frog who lives at Willow Pond. We watched a video of Kelso as he taught as the difference between big and little problems. He also gave us several choices of how we could solve small problems. We have several "Kelso's Choices" posters around school to serve as reminders of techniques we can use to solve the small problems.
Week of November 12: We read the book The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss. There were lots of opportunity for good discussion about how it feels to be excluded. Students identified that no sneetch is better than any other sneetch (which of course translates to people too). Students talked about what makes them unique or special and made a drawing exhibiting this.