Creating A "CARE"ing Class

WOW what a busy couple of weeks! I've been loving my kiddos, but I'm definitely excited for this looong weekend (4 kid-free days, because today was professional development).

I LOVE that my school prioritizes character education. After all, my little ones are not going to work hard, listen to each other, or motivate themselves if they don't feel safe first. So far we have covered 9 out of the 10 character traits my school focuses on- just integrity left, which encompasses all the rest (respect, responsibility, honesty, patience, kindness, perseverance, resilience, empathy, and self-control). Of course, I plan to incorporate them much more as the year goes on- but with the overview, at least they have a basic understanding of what each word means.

The class created our expectations (it definitely worked better to give them categories and have them brainstorm- I was impressed by what they came up with!).
We've already updated some: "Take care of your paper AND all belongings" and "Get started right away...follow directions the first time"
& Yes, the cross out is totally bothering this OCD teacher:)

We also focused on using "healthy" versus "toxic" words. I got this from the incomparable Hal Urban, who I saw speak at a character conference. Love, love, love...and the kids do too. I introduced it after our kindness lesson, when we read Thank You Mr. Falker. In the book, Eric is mean to Tricia while Mr. Falker is kind, so it was a good starting off point. We talked about how healthy words make people feel good and keep our classroom safe, while toxic words make people feel bad and poison the environment. We made a list of toxic words we didn't want to hear (name-calling, inappropriate words, whining, etc.).

Then we thought about healthy words/phrases. I gave them 4 categories- Cooperative, Affirmative, Reassuring, and Encouraging. We did Cooperative together, then groups brainstormed the other three.
Their brainstorming sheets- with kid-friendly definitions of our categories

Later, I wrote the phrases they came up with on leaves and created this bulletin board:
I've been referring to this board constantly- whenever we begin group work, if someone gets upset (I have a very sensitive little one), when we play games...and the kids are quick to point out if anything "toxic" has been said. I make a big silly deal of spraying air freshener:)

Of course, I still feel like there is so much to be done to really strengthen our community!! One thing I'm super excited about is this awesome idea from Miss Lee's Kindergarten via The First Grade Parade's post. Just saw it today, and I am immediately fitting it into my schedule for next week! It goes so well with the peace path I created (based on one I saw during student teaching, but then couldn't find for the life of me). I'll upload the PDF later!

Well, that's just a teensy glimpse into our first 2 weeks. Time to relax for the next few days....(who am I kidding, I'll still be working on stuff for school. I can't help it, but it's okay, because I love it!). Have a great long weekend:)

1 comment:

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