Mindset, Character, and Community, Oh My! Creating Positive Communities
My students need quality books like "Each Kindness" and "One Smile" to facilitate discussions and lessons about the social skills which are essential to building a positive community.
Hooray! This project is fully funded
Hooray! This project is fully funded
I teach up to 30 third graders in a Title I school in the northern part of our district where much of the city's residential growth is centered. Schools in this area tend to have larger class sizes because of this. Our school also has a large population of students with special needs who are included as part of the classroom community whenever possible. This allows students greater opportunities to experience and embrace diversity.
My students are anxious to learn, strive to be successful, and truly want to be part of their classroom community.
They are curious, creative, and motivated to learn as much as they can. They love to learn through books and discussions around those books. They are excited to collaborate and learn from each other, although they don't always understand how to do this yet.
Although our school has a relatively low free or reduced lunch rate, not all students have positive role models in their lives and need to learn various social skills in the classroom. All students deserve to feel they are an integral part of the classroom. All students deserve to be given opportunities to learn and grow together.
Learning in school is more than just academics. My students are also learning social skills and what appropriate behavior looks like. This is especially important in a large class where inclusion is a factor. Students need to learn to appreciate differences and include everyone. Learning social skills and what it means to be part of a community provides a foundation for safe and positive learning, and enhances students' abilities to succeed in school, their careers, and in life. Books, like "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" and "What if Everybody Did That?" will provide the students with characters they can relate to and situations with which they can connect.
My students will learn about kindness, belonging, compassion, perseverance, integrity, growth mindset, individualism, goal-setting, compromise, and conflict resolution through participation in classroom meetings utilizing these themes.
These books are an integral part of these classroom meetings. Students will participate in discussions, self-reflections, and goal-setting based around the themes in the stories.
Classroom meetings have been proven to improve the classroom climate and help build a positive community. After a bullying incident in the classroom last year, I began using classroom meetings to improve our classroom climate. The change in the classroom environment was noticeable and the bullying stopped. I noticed students showing compassion and empathy on a daily basis.
My goal is to use discussions about the messages in these books to provide my students with the skills needed in order to be successful in interacting with others. My hope is that through this proactive approach, my students will face fewer issues both now and later on in their lives.
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