Sunday, September 27, 2015

Trust and Cause/Effect lessons

In first grade the weeks lesson focused on trust.  The importance of identifying individuals that they trust who they could talk to when they are having a problem or a bad day was the primary focus of this lesson.  Students first globally brainstormed all of the people at home, in the school and in the community who they may have a trusting relationship.  They then identified the three people in their own lives that they feel they have a trusting relationship with and they illustrated their own trust tree with those three individuals.  It is important for all students to understand that adults and peers are there for them when they need them and to stress how important it is to talk to someone when you are struggling with a bad day.  This is the first step for students to begin to get support with and internalize their own problem solving strategies to use when they are needed.

This week the second grade students all had a lesson that focused on cause and effect.  Kim Emerson, the art teacher, and I went over many examples both positive and negative regarding how our actions have "ripple effects".  We illustrated how every action is like a rock being dropped into water and every effect is like the ripples that we see in the water.  Oftentimes students don't think before they say or do things, thus not thinking about the effects that they have on themselves and others.  After the lesson, each student was given three circles of graduating size that they need to use to illustrate a cause and effect situation.  It was impressive to see all of the examples that the students were able to generate on their own.  The students cause and effect examples varied from someone hitting them, helping their parents, giving flowers to a friend, to helping classmates with their schoolwork.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Classroom Feelings Lessons

I'm excited to make my first blog post of the school year!  I have been privileged to have completed two lessons in each classroom.  It has been wonderful to get back in the classrooms after the summer break and get to know all of the new students and became reacquainted with all of the familiar faces. In all of the classrooms, the students have been learning about feelings.  We have spent time naming feelings, practicing what various feelings look like on our face and talking about how the different feelings make us feel inside.  In Kindergarten I read a brand new book entitled, In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek.  This story is a great way to introduce feelings to young children and the illustrations are beautiful.  The book starts with these words:

"Sometimes my heart feels like a big yellow star, shiny and bright.
I smile from ear to ear and twirl around so fast,
I feel as if I could take off into the sky.
This is when my heart is happy."

Happiness, sadness, bravery, anger, shyness . . . our hearts can feel so many feelings! Some make us feel as light as a balloon, others as heavy as an elephant. In My Heart explores a full range of emotions, describing how children feel physically, inside. With language that is lyrical but also direct, all children will be empowered by this new vocabulary and it helps them better be able to practice articulating and identifying their own emotions. After I read the story to the students they each had a chance to express the feeling that they were having in their heart at that moment in time.