The Power of Story
We have our first full week under our belts! It felt like a really long week too, but we did it! The children are really getting into the groove of morning work time and working for longer and longer periods each day. The goal of this gradual release into work time, is to train the children how to work and behave during work time so as the year progresses the teachers can be engaged in meaningful instruction with one or two children at a time, while others are working peacefully and purposefully, INDEPENDENTLY!
We have been reading stories about issues that can easily occur in a classroom, if the children are not taught otherwise. I have found a wonderful author, Julia Cook, a former school guidance councilor, who has written a terrific collection of books about these issues children often face. As many of you know, the first week of school brought illness with it, so it was a great time to read I am a Booger. Treat me with Respect!
This funny and sometimes gross story, hits home the importance of keeping your fingers out of your nose and washing your hands! Should you see your child's finger in their nose, remind them of the booger ghost. They'll be so surprised that you know about this!
The children are working so hard to control their bodies, but sometimes a personal space violation arises. Our general classroom policy is one of hands off. Children should not be touching others, and often on the playground we have to remind them of personal space. Sometimes sitting at line, or walking to the playground on the line can also be tricky times for personal space. Julia Cook does an amazing job of defining personal space for children and helping them realize why it is important. You can get this book, Personal Space Camp, on Amazon and I would highly recommend you buy it or get it from the library (I think you'll need to inter library loan it). This book could never be read too many times. Learning to control your body so that it doesn't interfere with others is a huge piece of early learning. For you can't be a successful learner if your body is all over the place and interfering with others.
We talk a lot about the power of kindness and we try to instill a culture of kindness in our classroom. You might often hear Teacher Netta or myself reminding others to speak kindly to their friends. No book hits this concept home to children better than How Full Is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath. Children really understand how their actions and words can impact others. We chatted about how sometimes people act in unkind ways because they are feeling bad themselves, and that it is important to try to be kind and a good friend to others even when they are acting grumpy. This will be a theme we work on all year long.
Another skill we work on throughout the year is "Tattling". I kind of dislike the word tattling, but this book, A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue, clearly spells out for children the importance to letting an adult know when something is unsafe or an emergency but not telling when it does not concern them or is not a "right now" problem. Perhaps your children have been referencing the term MYOB! This stands for Mind Your Own Business and is referenced in a fun and silly way in this book. If the problem does not involve you then you need to "MYOB". The children love it, and get it! If someone forgets to put their work back on the shelf, that does not concern you and you do not need to 'tattle' about it. Children must be taught these social graces, they don't just get it. Julia cook does a wonderful job of teaching children all about these nuances.
If you would like to borrow any of our classroom books, they are always available for overnight loan.