Friday, October 30, 2015

Friendshape lesson by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

In 1st grade the classrooms did problem-solving activities where they were asked to solve a given problem by coming up with as many different solutions as they could.  For every solution they were asked if it was safe, fair, and how people would feel.  This allowed them to determine if it was a good solution that might work or a solution that shouldn’t even be attempted.  At this stage, children need adult support to help them choose and use solutions.  The students will continue to work on problem solving skills in order to help them internalize how to solve their own difficulties as they grow older. 

This week the student’s in 2nd grade discussed friendship and the qualities that are important in a friendship.  They listened to the story Friendshape by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  This story utilizes basic shapes to illustrate what the great things about friendship are such as; making you feel happy, playing fair, being welcoming and understanding and filling our lives with joy.  After the students listened to the story they illustrated their own picture with three basic shapes – triangle, square and circle – showing what they like to do with their friends.  They enjoyed manipulating their shapes into various designs to depict the positive nature of friendship. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Getting to know your classmates

Last week I talked with the 3rd grade students about the importance of recognizing the unique qualities that they each possess.  These qualities shape them into who they are right now as friends and classmates.  The students took time to think about the things that they enjoy doing, family traditions, sports, vacations, favorites (food, color, place, etc) and personality characteristics that make them unique.  Once they had written these things down I read them aloud and the students needed to guess which classmate it was.  Almost all of the students were guessed correctly on the first try - it was so amazing to see how connected they were to each other and to see how gratifying it was to the student when they guessed their name correctly.  

Classroom community is important to the students for so many reasons.  In true communities of learners a support system is built in which we can share not only tragedies, but triumphs, and bits of joy or fun from daily life.  From within that context, the emotional environment, we are safe to take risks, to grow, and develop into our true selves.  A successful classroom community promotes positive social skills and academic achievement.  Children learn best when they feel they are part of a community, where everyone feels accepted and where individuality is encouraged.  I think we took a step in the right direction by celebrating the uniqueness of each student and how well they then fit together as a 3rd grade classroom of learners.