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Welcome to my blog! I use my blog as a way to reflect, share, organize, and re-conceptualize my views as an educator. Enjoy and feel free to comment, post, disagree, and share your opinion. The more perspectives, the better!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Changing My Classroom Culture.

My classroom culture sucks. There is pushing, yelling, tattling, and a disregard for personal space, personal property and shared materials. It is frustrating and it does not bring out the best in me. I spent the past two weeks or so in a very apathetic mood: nothing I was trying was working, so I am just not going to bother and wait for a new bunch of kids next year. If you know me at all, you know that this feeling could not last long. So I am trying something different.

I completely revamped my schedule and beginning next week will be rolling out a 6 week culture building/ character development plan. We will spend 30 minutes a day on our culture building program (the name is still in the works) and as much extra time as I can find during the day to supplement the plan with trade books and writing. This 30 minutes of time will be an non-negotiable time in my schedule because while academics are important, my students need to learn social behaviors to be successful in school. Social development, in my opinion, is a critical part of early childhood education and one of the reasons I am so passionate about early childhood development. I cannot justify just teaching academics to my students. They are missing out on so much  from their education. I did not become an educator to force content into my children. I became an educator to teach children to become learners and citizens. For me, this is where it begins.

Below is my tentative unit plan. I drafted it after collaborating with our school's literacy coach, EL coach and my TFA MTLD. Click here for more information on the Social Star program used. I am pulling most lessons from books 2 and 3.  Any feedback/ suggestions on my  would be more than appreciated!

I do not know if this is going to be the magic solution I am hoping for, but I do think it will help, and it definitely cannot hurt!

We are problem solvers
(1)Kick-off: make puppets, talk about how we are all unique and how each of us are the same and different
Literature Connection: Amazing Grace
(2) What is a problem?
               A problem is something that hurts your body, feelings, learning. Sort problems
(3) Is this a problem?
               Sort things that are problems and things that are not problems.
(4) How we stop someone who is causing a problem.  
Teach sentence frame: __________. You are hurting my ___________ because _______.  Please_________.
(5) Use puppets to respond to mock problems.
Literature connection: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Really Bad Day (have students use puppets and respond to Alexander’s problems)
Appropriate touch
(1) Stop hitting me! Sort: good touch/ bad touch
(2) Defining types of touch: hit, bump, poke, tap
      Sorting appropriate touch:
(3) Please stop touching me!
 “_________stop ___________ because _______. Please_____.”
(4) Physical Space: Define your own space.
“You are hurting my learning because________. Please______”
(5) How we get someone’s attention.
puppet scenarios: if someone is on the other side of the room, if someone’s back is facing us, if someone is asleep, if someone is working with a grown up.
Respect: We respect others
(1) Kind actions—sort kind and unkind actions
Literature Connection: Read the Kindness Quilt
Writing Connection: Create a block on our class kindness quilt
(2) What is a friend? (Being a Friend, Social Star lesson A p195)
(3) Friend v. not friend (Being a Friend, Social Star lesson C p208)
Literature Connection: The Recess Queen
(4) How we can be a friend (Being a Friend, Social Star Lesson D p213), Blast off to friendship game
(5) We like Compliments! (Giving and Receiving Compliments, Social Star Lesson A p234)
Literature Connection: Have you filled a bucket today?
(6) Inside and Outside Compliments (Giving and Receiving Compliments, Social Star Lesson B p238)
(7) Receiving Compliments: practice giving and receiving compliments in partners
Tattling or Reporting
(1) Read “don’t squeal if it isn’t a big deal” and identify what a “tattle” is
(2) Sort: tattling v. reporting
Practice reporting with puppets
(3)  Get it out! What to do if we need to tattle.
Introduce the “tattle box”
Owning your Feelings
(1) Labeling Feelings (Social Star, Taking Charge of Feelings, p97)
Literature Connection: How are you Peeling?
(2) I am in charge of my feelings (social Star, Taking Charge of Feelings p101)
(3) Use puppets to respond to situations, “I feel _____ because _____”
(4) I statements: “ I feel____when____. I need _____”
Use puppets with “I statements” to respond to scenarios on SS p. 143
Taking Charge of Anger
(1) What is anger? Good anger v. bad anger (Taking Charge of Anger, Social Star p. 191)
(2) Anger Shrinkers: Strategies for dealing with angers (days 2-5)
(Taking Charge of Anger, Social Star p.196)

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