Tuesday, January 22, 2013

MLK Day and Character Traits

Hello all!

I don't know about you, but my kiddos are CRAZY right now! I have never had behavior problems with this class before and they are driving me bonkers. Hopefully this extra day off will have them coming back relaxed and ready to LISTEN and learn :)

Speaking of our wonderful day off yesterday, I took the opportunity to get my favorite activities ready to teach about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I really enjoy teaching my students about him because his message is s important!

My absolute favorite activity to do on MLK Day is one with food. (Can you say engaging?) I choose a physical characteristic of certain students in my class. This year, I chose students that were under 40 inches tall (which happened to be 4 of my kiddos).

These 4 kids got this!

Needless to say, the rest of my class's jaws were down to the floor. I heard so many "That's not fair!" and "Why are they the only ones who get that?" I look at them very confused and tell them that students who are under a certain height get the MnM's and the others do not because they are too tall. That's just the way  that it is, and I don't know why they would be upset about that.

One student shouted out (it's like I can telepathically transfer my thoughts to their brain): "That's not right. I can't change how tall I am. Why am I being left out of the fun just because I'm too tall? I can't shrink." Genius child. I think so :)

Then we can get into our discussion of how it is unfair to leave someone out when the thing that is keeping them "out," is not something they can change about themselves.

We answered the questions:
1. Why is this unfair?
2. How does it make you feel?
3. What can you change?

Finally after all of this, I read this book below.

My favorite book to read first is Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I posted about this book last January, but it is so awesome I had to post about it again! This book has such an awesome way of helping the kiddos understand what the words in Dr. Martin Luther King's dream was all about!

Since we are working on understanding character traits, (that differ from character feelings) we made an anchor chart displaying all of Dr. King's traits. I do realize that MLK is not a "character," but he worked well for the skill I am trying to teach my students! We are also really big on providing "evidence" for our thoughts, so for each trait, we thought of 1-2 pieces of evidence to support it.

Horrible picture! But you get the idea :)

Then, we discussed the importance of his words. I posted different parts of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and the students had to pick the words that meant the most to them, and how they could show what these special words mean today!

This is the paper my students filled out. You can get it on Googledocs here. These are some examples that my kiddos did!

I wish I could have talked about MLK all day! The kiddos were so interested!
Enjoy the rest of your week! Only 3 days left :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Back so soon! New Year Happenings!

Today was my first day back with the kiddos! Break seems like it just started yesterday :) As much as we needed the time apart from each other, I was so happy to see their smiling faces today!

After we spend the morning sharing all of our special news from winter break, we talked about New Year's resolutions. My kiddos are all about making goals, so this idea really resonated with them!

I am using Anna Brantley's New Year's Resolution template, and an idea from A Cupcake for the Teacher, to make this! I really liked the writing part of this page because it not only asked the kiddos to make their resolutions, but to explain why and how they are going to accomplish it. I think kids miss out on the "accomplishing" part a lot, especially since it is something only they are responsible for.

We also wrote goals for our behavior for the month of January. We have been reading the book The 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey and if you have not read it to your kids yet, DO IT! It is a phenomenal way to give your kids a vocabulary on goal setting and being in charge of themselves.

So many of my kiddos wrote their goals for January saying they would "Be Proactive" (Meaning be in charge of themselves) and "Begin with the End in Mind" (Meaning make a plan for themselves). I almost started jumping for joy!

Here are the goal setting sheets I use for each month. I included all 12 months so you could use them anytime. They are just little half sheets so the kids can keep them in their folders and access them quickly.

Luckily, this first week back isn't too bad because we can ease into it with 2 days. Next week is gonna be tough!

Happy (almost) Friday!
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