Lately I have been noticing an extreme lack of social skills amongst my student body even in the older grades. Because of this I have decided to change up the format of my class lessons this month. I have been incorporating the concepts from Responsive Classroom into each of lessons. I begin each lesson by having the class get into a circle and read a letter I wrote to them. The letter indicates the things we will be doing in the meeting. The meeting has four parts:
The greeting in the meeting is so critical and important for students to recognize each other. Just this simple "hello" really can change the whole the dynamic of the classroom. Also, express to students that greeting someone is filling their bucket!
Depending on the age of the students I allow them to share whatever they like, or I ask them to share on a specific topic. For example, this month I am asking my 2nd graders to share what they are thankful for.
Here I talk about the "theme" of the meeting. This is where I introduce the topic I will be discussing with the class. This month the theme is listening. I review the 5 steps of being good listener from Naomi Drew's No Kidding About Bullying.
This is the interactive part of the meeting. To practice the 5 steps of listening the class engages in a game of telephone.
It is my hope that using the "meeting" format will help to increase social skills, and help to build a more "peaceful" classroom environment. Here's an example of the letter I write to students...
Have you ever used this technique? Was it successful?