Want a better way to ask kids about their day? We all know that one way to engage children more in their education is to talk to them about how their learning, but often when we ask kids about school, we get one word answers. Sometimes, if we put a little creativity into our questions, we’ll get a more engaging answer. Here are some of my favorites:
-If you could change parts of your school day, what would they be?
-Who is the funniest/kindest person in your class?
-If you got to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you teach about?
-If you could switch seats with anyone in the class, who would it be?
-Who do you think you could be nicer to? Who could be nicer to you?
-What do you think is the most important part of your day?
-If your day had a theme song, what would it be?
This month in 4th and 5th grade guidance classes, students continued to learn about mindset. To finalize our unit, students took a self-guided, private quiz to understand more about what their mindset is. I encouraged students to think of this as a snapshot in time, as opposed to an overarching idea (our mindsets can change depending on the environment and situation.)
In November, 5th Graders will switch gears and begin to look into cooperation and respect, we will do some fun cooperative activities. My hope is that students understand that there is place for competition as well as cooperation. I also will introduce the term “Synergy” (the sum of a groups efforts is greater that the sum of individual efforts. We will conclude the month by looking into similarities and differences as way to start to look into concepts like prejudice and stereotype. 4th Graders begin to look into peer conflict. Students will discuss the conflict is a natural and normal part of life and that everyone has conflict at onetime or another. We will look into a variety of conflicts (real and made-up) to analyze how conflicts can be solved in healthy ways. We will also look at how differences in opinion can cause conflicts and we will practice discussing differing opinions in healthy ways. 3rd Graders will continue their previous discsussions on feelings by learning “I- Statements” (I feel ______ when ______) as a way to help name your feelings in a conflict. We will also work on our listening skills in order to help us see the other person’s point of view in a peer conflict.
4th and 5th Grade:
This month in 4th and 5th grade guidance classes, students learned about mindset. For the students, I defined ‘Mindset’ as an attitude, thought, or belief about something. We discussed a fixed mindset as the belief that you have a certain amount of intelligence or potential and thats it. We also talked about a growth mindset as the belief that we are capable of working hard to increase our potential and intelligence. We made a T Chart on the board that explained the drawbacks or benefits of the two types of mindsets. Along the same lines, we learned how our brains grow and change from learning. We watched two videos on growth mindset and neuroplasticity (These links are also on my website: Mindset and Neuroplasticity YouTube
Students had conversations about how we can persist through struggling times (in education, sports, personal lives etc) to help us learn and create new pathways in our brains. If you are interested in learning more about mindset, I recommend the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.
We will continue our discussions on Mindset for the first part of October, during the second part of October we will discuss conflict-resolution and problem solving in interpersonal relationships.
Third Grade Lessons
This month in 3rd Grade, we read two books, played some ‘get to know you games’ and discussed how students can access me if they need to. The first book we read was Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson and we discussed the need for kindness and acceptance at Weatherbee School. We also read The Rhino who Swallowed a Storm by Levar Burton as a way to begin to talk about how we manage our feelings. This month, I focused guidance classes on building rapport and getting to know the 127 new faces we have here at Weatherbee. In October, we will continue to discuss managing feelings as well as beginning to discuss self-esteem.