Friday, November 29, 2013

Kindness Raffle

In an effort to promote kindness amongst the student body I started a kindness raffle. Teachers are asked to award students a kindness ticket if they catch he or she doing an act of kindness for another peer or staff member. 

Either the student or the teacher fills out the raffle ticket with the student's name, homeroom teacher, and a brief description of the kind act that was performed. Students are asked to place completed raffle tickets in the raffle basket that is located in the main office. Every Friday afternoon I choose five tickets out of the basket. I then do a "kindness broadcast" announcing the five winners and their acts of kindness

When introducing this initiative to my staff I emphasized the importance of having the students write down the act of kindness they performed. This reflection is not only important for the student receiving the ticket, but also for the entire student body listening to the broadcast. It is my hope that reading these descriptions will help students to truly get an idea of what a kind act looks like, feels like, sounds like, etc.

The five winners are awarded these adorable shirts that the generous PTO at my school purchased for this program. Honestly, aren't these t-shirts just fantastic?

This is a fun and easy program to implement that can have a big difference on the climate in your building.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Lesson on Cooperation!

Lesson Objectives:
1. For students to learn the definition of cooperation.
2. For students to learn the behaviors associated with being cooperative.
3. For students to practice being cooperative in order to complete a task.

Materials Needed:
1. 6"x6" pre-cut construction paper squares (multiple colors)
2. An Our Cooperation Quilt paper 
3. Stapler
4. Copies of the Cooperation worksheet

This lesson is best for grades 2-5.

To begin I read the following letter to provide structure for the lesson (all my class lessons follow the Responsive Classroom format):
Next, we review the definition of cooperation. I ask students to share a time in their lives where they showed cooperation in order to complete a task. Some of the responses I typically receive are:
  • "Helping my family cook dinner".
  • "Working on a class project with a friend".
  • "Working as a team to win a sports game".
  • "Helping my mom hang a picture".
  • "Cleaning my room with my brother".
I follow up each student's response by asking them, "What did you do to work together"? Did you talk to each other? Listen to each others ideas? Compromise? Encourage each other? Take turns?  Distribute this worksheet to review the behaviors associated with being cooperative.

After the discussion period, I then move into the first cooperative activity. To do this, break the class into partners, and have them find a space in the classroom where they can sit down. Ask students to sit with their backs against each other and link arms. Tell students that their task is to stand up at the same time with out unlinking their arms. Give students about 3-5 minutes to try and do this.

Bring the class back together and process this experience with them. Use the following process questions:
  1. What was the easiest thing about doing this activity? What was the hardest?
  2. If you were not able to stand up, what do you think stopped you?
  3. If you were able to stand up, how did you do this?
  4. Which behaviors (from the worksheet) did you use when showing cooperation to complete this task? 
The next activity is to create a cooperation quilt. Distribute a square of construction paper to each student. Ask students to draw and/or write about time where they showed cooperation with a friend, family member, teacher, etc in order to complete a goal or a task. 

Collect each square and staple them all together to create a cooperation quilt. Staple this sign to your quilt for completion. 
Close the lesson stating, "when we all work together and show cooperation we can achieve great things"!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Recess and Cafeteria Rules

Does your school tend to have "problems" arise during recess and lunch time?

Being new at my school last year I noticed my office would clog up with students right after recess and lunch trying to talk to me about an issue that had just occurred. I started to feel completely overwhelmed in the afternoons.  

One of my goals this school year was to cut down on the amount of recess and lunch time panic visits. To do this, I created cafeteria and recess rules. I created large posters and hung them up in the cafeteria. I reviewed them during the first week of school everyday. 

These seemingly simple posters have really cut down on the amount of after lunch visits to my office.

Feel free to use these rules at your school!