This month we focused on responsibility- from responsible decision making, to being responsible for our belongings, words, and actions to being responsible for our Earth. In kindergarten through second grade we read What If Everybody Did That? While reading, we discussed how our actions- big or small- can have a major impact, either for the good when make responsible decisions or for the bad when we act irresponsibly. After reading the book, we played a game to act out, ask questions and brainstorm ways of showing responsibility. In 3rd grade we discussed tools and strategies to reduce test anxiety in preparation for STAAR.
March's life skill was Problem Solving. In each class we read Rulers of the Playground as a fun way to launch our discussion of problem solving. In Rulers of the Playground, both Jonah and Lennox want to be king and queen of the playground. They conquer the playground until there is nothing left to take over and no friends left to play with. Jonah and Lennox realize that conquering is complicated and it is much more fun if everybody can play where ever they want!
As part of our Second Step (SEL) curriculum, we use the STEP model for solving problems: Say the problem without blame, Think of solutions, Explore consequences, and Pick the best solution. To help support students in using these STEPS and to effectively communicate with one and other, we use a tool called the Peace Path. We introduced the Peace Path in kindergarten through third grade. In fourth and fifth grade we use the same strategies as the Peace Path, but it's used in the form of a script, rather than a path.
The Peace Path is a tool to help children communicate more effectively with their peers in the event of a conflict. Students walk down the path and use the script provided on the path to help them communicate their feelings and articulate the problem using assertive language. Click on the links below to take a look at the Peace Path & Script!
February's lifeskill was integrity. In each class, we read the book The Empty Pot. This story is about a boy, Ping, who is a talented gardener and is faced with a problem: When it comes time to grow the most important flower of all- the seed won't sprout! Should he use the flower from a different plant or show up to the Emperor with an empty pot? This story explores what integrity looks like, and how uncomfortable and challenging it can be at times. Above all, this story illustrates how much courage it takes to have integrity and that doing the right thing always turns out best!
After reading the story, students explored a number of scenarios and had to determine whether or not students were showing integrity. Students in fourth and fifth grade viewed this video of Jack Sock displaying true integrity through sportsmanship. We discussed how integrity doesn't always lead to reward and glory, but that we must do the right thing even when there is not incentive.
Third through fifth grade students also spent three minutes in each class practicing mindful thinking time. We used the Tao Mix 2 app to listen to calming sounds while we reflected in silence. Students utilized this time to clear their minds and/or focus on positive thoughts. We introduced this strategy as a way to help manage stress and train ourselves to slow down, relax and feel comfortable alone in our minds.