Hi everyone and Happy early Holidays!
The three weeks between Thanksgiving break and winter break are always filled with excitement around here. And that’s not just the teachers – the kids, too! In terms of our character education and school counseling classroom lessons, we are focusing on COOPERATION.
In Kindergarten, we worked on a Mrs. Shala and Mrs. Ozmore favorite – personal space! No handouts were sent home, but we read Personal Space Camp by Julia Cook and put into practice some of the strategies in the story to help us remember to respect others’ personal space and to stay in our own.
First graders got to hear about RJ in the story Teamwork Isn’t My Thing and I Don’t Like to Share! by Julia Cook. The kids really appreciate all RJ goes through to work with his classmates and little sister. But let me tell you the fun part. We had a handout for the students to complete in pairs or groups as practice for cooperation. There is a box at the top for the students’ names. We had them work in groups and put everyone’s name in the box. This took longer than expected so they didn’t complete the rest of the handout. But this goof in the lesson turned out perfect because you should have seen them working together to include everyone’s names on each student’s paper and to spell them correctly! If that wasn’t teamwork, then I’m not sure we could have found something much better!
In second grade, we read another Mrs. Shala and Mrs. Ozmore favorite, Problems With Pete the Pencil and Eddie the Eraser by third grade students of Kingsland Elementary in Spring Valley, Minnesota. I bet you didn’t know that pencils and erasers talk to each other when we’re not listening, did you? It’s a silly story that perfectly illustrates the importance of cooperation and how multiple people can be impacted when we don’t. To further illustrate this, the students built a web with yarn to show how they are all connected to each other and impact each other.
Our third graders completed another favorite activity. They worked in groups to figure out the Cooperation Baseball riddle. Again, no handout went home, but ask your third grader about figuring out the riddle with only a few clues.
Fourth graders worked in groups on Cooperation Squares. Once again, this is a favorite of counselors, teachers and students alike. No handout again, but it was a valuable experience in how to work together as a team when you can’t talk and have other rules impacting our natural ways of problem solving.
Finally, fifth graders spent time working together to reflect on ways they have to cooperate in their lives. They answered questions on a handout that they should have brought home. Families can then further reference the questions for family discussions on cooperation.
With so many favorites, you can see this topic is one of our favorites and we usually go a long way in helping students understand the impact their cooperation with others, or lack thereof, has each day. We hope it carries over to your home and family. Have a wonderful winter break with family and friends!