September 11, 2008

I want whats BEST for them


My students are such an interesting group of kids. They find everything to make an issue of and they know how to escalate things to a level that is very unnecessary.

I found out today that if taught how to react to situations in the proper manner they can develop the social skills they lack, sorta.

A simple task can become a disaster in a matter of seconds....

Here's the scenario:

Last week in Science we went over living and non living things. This week in Science, we've been discussing the things animals need to survive. My kids have learned that animals need food, water, space, and shelter to survive. So to make things more concrete for my special learners, we made bird houses out of construction paper.

During this activity I had different people play different roles in order to keep everyone busy and to also help myself when I needed something. Someone had to go around with the scissor bin and allow each person to take a scissor, someone had to pass out the construction paper and someone had to pass out the glue sticks.

They were all really engaged in making the bird shelter and they were intently watching me up at the board so that they could learn exactly how to make the bird house. A few of them were getting very frustrated with the cutting or the gluing and every time I heard someone talking negatively about themselves, I cut them off by saying "It doesn't have to be perfect, just try your best. I love how she is trying her best! I love how he is not cutting perfectly but he's also trying his best! Remember everyone, I don't need you to be perfect but you must ..." and then everyone said it for me "TRY YOUR BEST!"

It was great!

So the moment came where they were put to the test. I didn't give out enough glue sticks, intentionally. I wanted to see how each child without a glue stick would solve the problem.... This was very testy, because my kids will punch and fight to get what they want. So I was very attentive on this whole project.

The time came when someone needed a glue stick and didn't have one. I watched him get right up, go over to someones desk and jerk the glue stick out of their hand, while they were using it!

"Stop, right there! Turn around... give him back the glue stick and say 'sorry'", I said with a very stern voice.

He gave the glue stick back and looked shocked that I was having him apologize. "Sorry," he says.

"Now ask him, 'may I please use the glue stick after you are finished?'"

Grudgingly, "May I please use the glue stick after you are finished?"

The young man said yes, and then handed him the glue stick when he was done. After this, when the other kids who realized they too were without a glue stick, I watched them ask each other very nicely and I watched them wait for the glue stick and then when they were asked by someone else, they gave it to them as well.

I was impressed with them and also very excited.

I decided that I'm going to start classroom jobs to give them a sense of responsibility. I came up with the cutest way to introduce this to them. They will have to apply for a classroom job. I'm serious, they are going to have to fill out an application with their personal info and they will have to list the job they wish for and the reason why they feel they should be in that job. They have to apply for 3 jobs so that I can see what they consider important and also to save myself from everyone picking the same job and then having to hurt every ones feelings.

They will get paid for their jobs, fake money of course, but after they work (for the day) they can earn up to $1.00 to use in our class store. I'll keep a log of how much money they earn and then give them a pay check on Friday.

They are going to LOVE this!

1 comment:

Stephen Bess said...

This is great! I did that with Sylvan when I first started teaching. It was a great incentive. Plus, it showed them that they can be rewarded for their hard work. Great JB!

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